La Davina

01/12/2011
By David
What did Callas see that night?

Cecil Beaton's Photo of Callas Adorns 1509 Swann Street's First Floor

Was there a Cult of Callas on Swann Street?

With the weather dipping into arctic freezing terrority this winter, it also seems that information about the Robert Wone case is moving at a glacial pace.  While we wait for movement, we thought we would turn to an issue that probably doesn’t have much bearing on the case, but would give us something to chew on until things heat up again.

When the three housemates where living on Swann Street, they didn’t seem to exhibit much appreciation for high art.  It was never remarked that they were going to the theater, or the Corcoran Art Gallery to catch the latest show.  Yes, they were heard to be social, hosting Sunday brunches, and birthday parties, most notably Robert’s 30th birthday at their Constitution Avenue home.  But being patrons of arts just didn’t seem to be part of their repertoire.

So when looking through the listing photos from when Price and Zaborsky sold 1509 Swann Street in 2008, one piece of art caught our eye.

Overlooking the dining room table on the first floor is a gold-framed pop art rendering of the iconic Cecil Beaton photograph of opera’s greatest star, La Davina herself, Maria Callas.

Taken in London at the height of Callas’s career in 1957, the photo is of her face, her jet black hair parted down the middle, her porcelain hands cupping her chin while her sultry eyes stare straight at the viewer.

We imagine that the Swann Street housemates put very little thought into selecting this piece, except to demonstrate that they were well traveled in the world of culture.  But, what if they did follow Maria Callas, could it mean anything beyond that?

To begin with the fateful night on August 2nd, we can’t help but feel Callas’s gaze watching the unfolding events, from a miffed Dylan Ward escorting Robert to the kitchen for a glass of water, to be later joined by a tardy Joe Price, to Victor Zaborsky’s frantic 911 call that ended with crying sobs of terror and loss, to EMTs Jeff Baker and Tracy Weaver carrying Robert’s lifeless body out on a stretcher to the awaiting ambulance in hopes of trying to revive him, and finally to Joe Price escorting MPD detectives Diane Durham and Charles Patrick in a desperate attempt to explain how an unknown intruder could enter through the unlocked back door.

We even think back to the events before that night when at dinner parties literally beneath Callas’s knowing eyes where the inner dynamics of the Swann Street housemates relationship were quietly erupting — the unrequited love, the unrestrained fury and unbridled lust — and know that Callas portrayed each of those emotions better than any other artist of the 20th century.  Indeed, Leonard Bernstein remarked that she was on par with Michelangelo and Da Vinci.

Of course, it is no secret that Maria Callas is the original gay icon. She preceeded Liza Minelli, Barbara Streisand, Cher to the today’s Lady Gaga. Callas’s only competition was her contemporary, Judy Garland, Liza Minelli’s mother. Yet, since opera is considered a higher art form than movie musicals, Garland didn’t truly challenge Callas for such a preeminent position. More simply put, Garland was the middle-class, movie theater gay icon to Callas’s blue-blooded elite icon status.

Because Callas holds an exhatled place in the gay icon pantheon, it should be no surprise that the Swann Street trio, who were strivers in every way for the best and the finest, could identify with her life and career as an extension of their own lives and relationship.

For Joe Price, the cult of Callas hints at the many facets of his multifaceted personality. Just as Joe Price sought to dominate every aspect of every relationship he was involved in, so too Maria Callas dominated every performance, every other actor on stage, and finally and completely,  the imagination of her fans.  A cursory reading of the many Callas bios available, from Callas biographer John Ardoin to director Franco Zefferilli, reveals no objectivity what so ever when discussing La Davina. The hagiography went so far as to deman complete submission to Callas’s art. To be a fan of Maria Callas seems to require complete fidelity from the fan that includes renouncing any other affection for any other opera diva, especially those who were her contemporaries including Renata Scotto and Renata Tebaldi.  Indeed, the Callas fan is truly involved in a dominant and submissive relationship with La Davina herself. So, just as Joe Price sought to dominate all those who were around him, did he also experience the submission of a Calls fan in his  all-consuming dominant and submissive relationship with Dylan Ward.

For Victor Zaborsky, he might be able to identify with the opera queen who gives all his love to a woman who doesn’t even know his name.  In his book “The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire,” Wayne Koestenbaum notes that for the lover of Maria Callas, “…you harbor similar attachments that you too send your love to a vague, aloof star in the cultural firmament, a radiance that will never reward you with a glance, though you have spent your life in patient, earnest fruitless attendance.”  One feels that with this passage Koestenbaum could easily have been explaining Victor Zaborsky and feelings towards and relationship with Joe Price.  Moreover, during the 911 call when the dispatcher mistook Zaborsky for a woman because his voice was pitched so high, Koestenbaum notes that for the lover of La Davina, “Callas is a refuge, where a forbidden sexuality, a forbidden alienation from masculinity, could spread its wings.”

Of all the qualities that Maria Callas possessed, it was her discipline that made her art sublime. This was a woman who was not a natural beauty, yet at the height of her career, lost more than 80 pounds so that she could look as etheral as her idol, Audrey Hepburn.  Any Callas fan will tell you her voice was not the finest, yet through hard work and discipline it became the most expressive and original. Koestenbaum notes, “We love Callas because she disciplined her voice.  The realm of discipline is itself a part of gay culture: weight-lifters, S/M — pageants of control and self-mastery.”

During the investigation into Robert’s murder, through to the initial arrests and the criminal trial, even to today and the civil suit, the Swann Street trio have approached everything with remarkable discipline.  They kept the lowest profile, they never spoke out, and most importantly, they did not turn on one another (yet).  It was a discipline that even caught the most hardened professionals by surprise. Perhaps those same professionals should have looked to the woman who dominated the first floor of the living room at 1509 Swann Street to understand the discipline they would display.

For all the magic that Callas brought to the stage through her artistry, it was her real life that was tragic.  Koestenbaum again notes, “Her operatic performances seemed real; her real life seemed operatic.”  Her private life was tempestuous. She boarded Aristotle Onasiss’ yacht with her husband, began an affair with Onassis, and at the end of the cruise asked her husband for a divorce.  Later, she gave birth to a son by Onassis on the same day that Joe Price was born, March 30, yet the boy died several hours later.  To compound her tragedy, it has been rumored that she found out about Onassis’s marriage to Jackie Kennedy on the Six O’Clock News.

The same tempestuous life can be said of the Swann Street trio — they seemed to live their life like a grand opera.  A friend of theirs commented that there were several “Aaron Spelling’s moments” in the household, referring to the maestro of prime time soap operas such as “Beverly Hills 90210″ and “Melrose Place.”  Was August 2nd, the grand climax to the tragic opera that these three men had been writing for several years?

After the tragic conclusion to her romance with Onassis, Callas lost her voice, effectively cause her art to fall silent.  After the tragic events of August 2nd, the Swann Street housemates stumbled from their high life, and they, too, fell very silent – especially with prosecutors, and most recently, during Dylan Ward’s interrogatory with Covington in the civil suit.

One of the best examples of Callas submission and worship is Terrance McNally’s 1989 play, The Lisbon Traviata.  It explores the tragic, lonely position that gay Callas worshippers inhabit as it details the death spiral of a gay relationship; climaxing with the violent stabbing of one of the Callas fan’s partners to prevent him from leaving the relationship for another man.  Koestenbaum sums up the hold that Callas has over her gay male fans, and maybe by extension the Swann Street trio, when he concludes, “In the brutal, intoxicating dream of opera, which framed the life of Maria Callas and the lives of countless opera queens, the gate to opera is guarded by twin thugs: Death and Silence.”

Sadly, it seems that the Swann Street trio, and the night of August 2nd and its ensuing aftermath have been guarded by the very same thugs.

– David

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111 Responses to “ La Davina ”

  1. Rich on 01/12/2011 at 10:53 AM

    BIG Callas Fan, here.

    Interesting Parallels.

    Huge follower of Terrance McNally’s The Lisbon Traviata and Master Class.

    However, I think Joe Price is more likened to Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd) than Maria Callas.

    And, even under the worst of conditions, I do not think Price would have ever schtupped (look it up) Onassis.

    • CDinDC on 01/12/2011 at 12:31 PM

      Love the Norma Desmond comparison.

    • David on 01/12/2011 at 1:13 PM

      Rich,

      If we find a photo of Norma Desmond in the home, we will investigate, but until then, La Davina owns the stage her.

      David

    • Clio on 01/12/2011 at 11:25 PM

      To many observers, he may be more Norman Bates than Norma Desmond, even if he’s still getting big(ger) and only the pictures got small.

    • denton on 01/13/2011 at 4:53 PM

      Rich and CDC – “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.” Joe could have said that when the police arrived at 1509 Swann.

  2. dieter on 01/12/2011 at 12:06 PM

    i always dread the drivel you all put up when you are bored but feel you have to produce…this is speculative and simple-minded and reads like a dime-store novel. maybe you could direct your efforts to the hockey blog in your off days

    • CDinDC on 01/12/2011 at 12:33 PM

      dieter, don’t be mean-spirited.

    • Rich on 01/12/2011 at 2:22 PM

      I’m with you, Dieter.

      However, the one, “On-Topic,” point that was useful, was sharing the Artwork on The Swann 3’s Wall.

      That fact was then drawn into an, “Off Topic,” monologue.

      But, it was interesting to see the one piece of Art they selected was Maria Callas, as she had quite the dramatic life.

  3. Hoya Loya on 01/12/2011 at 1:57 PM

    Thought-provoking post David. There may be more here than initially appears on the surface level.

    Do we know for sure if any or all of the three were fans of Callas or opera in general? Or did they just like the picture?
    If they were fans, might it explain some of the more operatic elements to the murder scenario and its aftermath? The overwrought 911 “aria” for instance.

    One of La Divina’s most famous roles was that of Norma (Bellini’s not Billy Wilder’s) who mounts a burning pyre with her unfaithful lover, with whom she had two children before he had an affair with a younger woman, staying true to him until the end.

    Another, was, of course, Tosca, the diva who commits murder but cannot resist theatrically staging the crime scene after the fact, echoing the curious positioning and placement of Robert’s body to mirror the New Yorker illustration.

    For the record, I love opera but cannot abide Callas, though I appreciate why others are devoted to her, ahem, “art.”

    • David on 01/12/2011 at 9:31 PM

      Hoya,

      Don’t know if and/or how much the three were into opera or Callas. But, in home without much art, the photo of Callas certainly stood out, whether they meant it to, consciously or not.

      I purposely chose not to highlight La Davina’s signature roles because I wanted others to chime in if they too had knowledge about opera, as you so skillfully did. So I went with criticism about Callas and her gay fans. I thought that was angle that we could explore on this site — the pyschology of the gay man who worships Maria Callas — as another way to look at the three men who inhabited the Swann Street home.

      And speaking of Tosca, the latest production just opened at the Met on Monday night. Any plans to attend?

      David

      • Hoya Loya on 01/13/2011 at 10:53 AM

        The current Luc Bondy Tosca premiered opening night last season and was generally agreed to be a disaster. The villain humped a statue of the Virgin Mary in church during a Te Deum, was serviced orally by prostitutes and was stabbed in the crotch by Tosca, rather than in the chest. The final scene featured a special leaping Tosca effect that repeatedly fell flat. It apparently was tweaked by the original director for this revival and is now considered to be boring, if inoffensive. I caught the first act on the jumbotron in Times Square and based on what I saw/heard promptly exchanged my tickets for another opera. I have no plans to attend this year.

        The old production, by Franco Zeffirelli, was gargantuan, with sets that were a larger than life fantasia on the three very real Roman locations in which the action is set. It was an expansion of the production that he originally created for Callas at Covent Garden in the 1960’s. I actually met and had a decent conversation with FZ once but that’s a story for another place and time.

        Another Callas signature role, which could theoreticaly have some application here if one is a bit less literally minded, is Medea, who to get revenge on her unfaithful lover Jason, of golden fleece fame, murders their children. Callas not only sang the lead role in the opera by Cherubini but also starred in the dramatic, non-singing, film of the story directed by Pasolini.

        • Hoya Loya on 01/13/2011 at 11:21 AM

          I should add that in another controversial bit of staging, Bondy’s Tosca, perhaps informed by events at Swann Street, does not stage the crime scene, but instead sits down on a nearby sofa in shock to fan herself.

          • Clio on 01/16/2011 at 10:54 PM

            Hmmm. I wonder if Dyl fanned himself on the couch on that hot and steamy evening, or did his sleeping pill make him completely oblivious to the rising temperature inside?

            • susan on 01/17/2011 at 2:02 PM

              In LD’s case, though, he sat on the couch but in testimony said he was “worried” that the killer was still downstairs.

      • LegallyConfused on 01/20/2011 at 6:15 PM

        David,

        Why the “La Davina” name for the title of this interesting diversionary thread?

        Every opera queen knows Callas as “La Divina”, i.e. the Divine One.

        Hoya Loya in his post above is the only one I can see in all the posts who correctly referred to La Callas as “La Divina”. But it seems to have flown under the radar.

        Otherwise, thanks for the diversion.

        • David on 01/20/2011 at 8:04 PM

          LegallyConfused,

          It can be spelled both ways, maybe the La Davina is more American. I don’t know. And in the publications that I read, spelled it La Davina. But it certainly can be spelled La Divina…

          David

  4. Cat from Cleveland on 01/12/2011 at 9:13 PM

    Love that I can pull up this site and find an array of interesting topics. Dieter, if you aren’t interested in the subject, simply close the page. That’s the beauty of it.

    David, there’s a lot of opera in my family, and truthfully I’m not a huge fan of the music, but I love the life stories. Thanks for sharing this one!

  5. AnnaZed on 01/12/2011 at 10:37 PM

    This is all so interesting and such a beautifully fleshed out tangent that I feel like the most terrible spoiled sport when I wonder if that poster was actually put there by one of those “gussy up your space for prospective buyers” services brought in after the MPD tore the place up and that it wasn’t reflective of the trouple taste at all.

    • David on 01/13/2011 at 12:55 PM

      AnnaZed,

      You make a great point, and one argument that would support your thesis is that this photo is the most widely known of her. If anyone was to have a photo of Callas, it would be this one. If they were hard core Callas fans, might they have a more obscure photo. One wonders.

      I do also wonder if when selling the house and knowing they were heading into an expensive criminal trial, how much coin they would put out on staging the house with additional art pieces.
      Who knows.

      David

      • denton on 01/13/2011 at 1:14 PM

        David,

        I didn’t follow the story since the beginning and I didn’t know where you keep info of whether MPDC found any other types of photo collections to “reflect” the type of “lifestyle,” “taste,” or “flavour” of the tenants to add to the murder action in their residence in 2006.

        Could you, or anyone, post those info for readers – if you care to?

    • Bill 2 on 01/13/2011 at 8:55 PM

      I agree, AZ. As soon as I saw the photo, I couldn’t imagine that any of them could identify Maria Callas by image, voice nor history. The Callas poster was probably put up there by their good buddy Scott Hixson (bikini underwear spy) when it came time to sell the death house. There’s just too much of a disconnect between operatic music and any of the known interests of the men who are involved in the death of Robert Wone.

      OTOH, prior to the murder, a cheap poster would not seem incongruous in their house, if it were a different subject.

      • susan on 01/13/2011 at 9:11 PM

        I think there’s as much a possibility that they were fans of opera and M. Callas as not. Anyone with a radio and/or a tv and/or a general interest in music can become a fan of ANY type of music.

        Only they and their friends know what their tastes in music, art, etc. is/was. But the similarities in the operas mentioned and the lives of the Swann 3 illustrate that whether or not they listened to opera they seem to have lived/may still live operatic lives. Let’s hope that unlike “Nixon in China” and other real world events that become staged events, this case will not ever be realized in musical form.

        • Clio on 01/15/2011 at 10:11 AM

          Mr. Ward, an eclectic autodidact, may have combined a love of opera with his collection of such film classics as “Manwhore” (2001), but the Zaborsky-Prices were much more Judy (or even Ethel Merman) than Maria.

          And, the Zaborsky-Prices paid the bills to decorate the house: Dyl was merely the maid of all work, and the mistress of the house, Victor, still had to cook them all dinner, after flying across the continent.

  6. Clio on 01/12/2011 at 11:09 PM

    There was a Cult of Callous(ness) at Swann, which was hardly elite or precious. Indeed, it was far closer to the tastes and aesthetics of “the Housewives of New Jersey” than to those of the followers of a mid-century diva. Even Bette at the baths had much more class!

    Nevertheless, thank you, David, for referencing a favorite book of mine from the 1990s, “The Queen’s Throat.” I just loved that book’s pink and green dust jacket — so classy and queer. But our trouple tended to downplay any flouncy effeminacy, at least in their public appearances pre-murder. They were straight-acting assimilationists, and the “high” arts (at least to two of them) probably did not include opera.

  7. Rich on 01/13/2011 at 10:52 AM

    Back to the WMRW case and more Maria Callas later.

    Just last night at 11pm, NBC 4 covered a story about a very unique, “Cold Case.” They called it the, “Most Violent Crime in the History of DC Crime. Can you imagine?

    A special cold case team organized out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office with a reputation for solving the most unsolvable cases, tackles the case of, 28 year old Christine Mirzayan.

    NBC 4 talked about several cold cases that were closed years after the homicide including Chandra Levy. They listed about 5 cases they successfully closed. All out of the US Attorney’s office. No Robert Wone.

    In the Mirzayan case, circa 1998, evidently, the suspect raped and dropped a 75 lb boulder on the scull of the victim, twice. The suspect is wired to 8 other rapes all by DNA.

    The team knows the suspect. They called him a, ”Monster,” based on his tactics with the other crimes.

    Where is this special cold case team on Robert Wone?

    Someone should ask, Editors?

    • denton on 01/13/2011 at 7:12 PM

      Rich – It was a gruesome murder but it was good to hear that a 12 year old case is still being picked up.

      http://www.nbcwashington.com/watch-this/Special_Team_Picks_Up_Serial_Rapist_s_Cold_Trail_Washington_DC-113428709.html

      • Rich on 01/13/2011 at 7:51 PM

        Denton:

        Other than you, it appears we’ll stick with Opera and move away from WMRW.

        Guess, no one really cares about the US Attorney’s, “Cold Case Team.”

        As you noted, it’s pretty newsworthy here in DC.

        To think that US Attorney Ron Machen takes a great deal of pride in solving cold cases and doesn’t seem to view Robert Wone as relevant or worthy of further scrutiny.

        Maybe, everyone already knows WMRW and simply hasn’t told this BLOG.

        Maybe, they want to see how long we continue on this BLOG, even though they solved the case years ago.

        It’s a thought.

        • denton on 01/13/2011 at 9:14 PM

          Rich – “…Machen said he wants his office to focus on cold case murders….,” according to September 20, 2010, link below:

          http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/09/us-attorney-machen-talks-top-priorities-at-bar-event.html

          Perhaps, someone can start putting a focus on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cold Case Squad Team.

          • Rich on 01/13/2011 at 9:44 PM

            Denton:

            Maybe Machen allegedly wants to focus on cold cases as your posting notes, but, he seems to be the only one.

            After all that hype for weeks about Vidocq Society, it seems we wasted a lot of time considering it, since in reality no one seems to think WMRW is a cold case.

            Frankly, I think Maria Callas is way colder than Robert Wone.

            But, for some odd reason, she is getting play.

            Maybe, there is a how, “How Did Maria Callas Really Die, Blog out there. 

            It might get more play than WMRW.

            The focus on this blog should be about Cold Cases, US Attorney’s Office, MPD and the upcoming trial.

            Not exactly opera.

            But folks are bored which is why this blog is alive.

            So, let’s move over to Puccini. He’s way more celebrated.

            • denton on 01/13/2011 at 9:49 PM

              Well, Rich, it doesn’t get any more “opera” than this! I’d say.

  8. boofoc on 01/13/2011 at 12:32 PM

    Kudos, David, on this most ineresting and, as Hoya says, thought-provoking essay, which is both analytical and interpretative while being totally on topic. He who describes it as “drivel…[to be] dreaded” has once again demonstrated his lexical ignorance. As Susan suggested a while back: Random House, American Heritage, Webster are all recommended aids to cure wilessness.

    • David on 01/13/2011 at 12:36 PM

      boofoc,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      David

    • Hoya Loya on 01/13/2011 at 3:02 PM

      Glad you agree boo.

      Let’s throw one more classic Callas role into the mix:

      Lucia di Lammermoor, who after being unfairly humiliated by her lover goes mad and stabs an illustrious, unwitting, house guest to death.

      • Clio on 01/15/2011 at 11:37 AM

        Now, that one, Hoya, is completely on-topic with Mr. Ward possibly playing the part of Lucia.

        BTW, I checked out the Editors’ improbably-named “Puck Buddys” blog, and it is rather innocuous. The only disturbing thing that I found was the vitriolic anti-Penguins sentiment. My 13-year-old niece is a devotee of Sidney Crosby, and she would not have approved of the unfortunate comparisons underscored there.

  9. boofoc on 01/13/2011 at 12:35 PM

    The last sentence above suggests a cure fore WITLESSNESS, not wilessness; sorry.

  10. boofoc on 01/13/2011 at 12:38 PM

    And for is spelled “for” not “fore.” Your turn dieter.

  11. Rick on 01/13/2011 at 1:22 PM

    Just thinking here…did the Trouple buy a $5 poster of Callas in a bookstore or craft shop because they liked the “picture”, put it in a $50 frame and hung it, not evening knowing the subject was Maria Callas or the history of the artwork? None of them come across as purveyors of art unless it was Tom of Finland, for me!

    Rick

    • David on 01/13/2011 at 1:30 PM

      Rick,

      At a minimum, I would imagine they know who she is, especially if the person who was staging the house was a gay interior designer who said, “a photo of Callas would really speak to the clients who will buy this home.” They, of course, agreed. With the National Historical Marker out front (which was a very important reason as to why they bought the house in the first place) and Callas hanging on the inside, everything about the home would radiate elite and exclusive.

      David

      • Clio on 01/15/2011 at 10:32 AM

        Yes, “all the world’s a stage, and we are merely (hockey?) players.” How would Shakespeare react to this marked incongruity between image and reality? The self-deception here would be ultra-comedic — high camp of an unintended manner, only if it had not led to such a senseless death!

    • denton on 01/13/2011 at 1:34 PM

      Rick – Guys at Second Story Books & Antiques probably can tell, unless the piece was “given” by someone, or better yet a trip to France or Italy before 2006.

      • Clio on 01/15/2011 at 3:24 PM

        Perhaps, Denton, Diane Ward gave it to her oldest son along with the strangely-truncated knife set as a figurative dowry for the rudderless Dylettante.

        BTW, Lil Dyl’s ad for “therapeutic” massage is no longer featured on MasseurFinders: I guess that the younger and more buff competition on that site may have been too stiff for a middle-aged drifter.

        • denton on 01/15/2011 at 9:25 PM

          Clio – That was possible! Who knew?

          • susan on 01/15/2011 at 9:36 PM

            Or maybe he’s changed his alias from “Michael Ward” to something else.

            • Clio on 01/16/2011 at 10:14 PM

              Perhaps, Susan. Accordingly, what would Dyl’s drag name be? Frigid Blast? Anita Job? Ima De Ville?

  12. AnnaZed on 01/13/2011 at 1:40 PM

    I don’t think this decoration was much of an investment:
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Maria-Callas-Classical-Opera-Pop-Art-Print-Ltd-Edt-/160519165098

    • denton on 01/13/2011 at 1:45 PM

      Nope. Too cheap, AND no free shipping.

  13. Noaharc on 01/13/2011 at 10:33 PM

    Victor-IMHO-reminds me of Miss Celie in THE COLOR PURPLE when she allows Mr’s mistress Shug Avery to live with them and initially disrepect her–nothing blublooded and operetic about that

  14. Gloria on 01/13/2011 at 11:23 PM

    While youse guys were conferring about interior design, opera and poster art, you may have missed pg D2 of the WaPo, Jan 13, specifically, Dan Steinberg’s column. The whole column is devoted to our own (drumroll) Craig and Doug who apparently have a lot of time on their hands, despite fulltime jobs and wmrw. They’ve lent their newly acquired blogging talents to the world of hockey, specifically to “a Caps blog for guys who like guys.”

    See http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2011/01/a_caps_blog_for_guys_who_like.html It’s a great read with funny quips from the dynamic duo. Who KNEW???

    BTW, this explains Dieter’s comment, at 12:06 pm today: “… maybe you could direct your efforts to the hockey blog in your off days.” Since no one picked up on this comment, I figured I’m the only one on wmrw reading the WaPo’s sports pages.

    BTW#2: Doug “claims to spot hundreds” (of gays at Caps games) while Craig “isn’t as convinced.” Maybe you could cross-blog and inform us what signs to look for. I was dragged to one Caps game and, unable to ever find the puck, was bored to death. Being able to look for gays in the crowd could pique my interest, enough to stay awake.

    • susan on 01/14/2011 at 7:45 PM

      Gloria,

      The City Paper reported on the site earlier this month and I thought it was mentioned at some point here. That’s why I (and probably some others) wasn’t surprised at Diet’s mention of hockey.

  15. Craig on 01/14/2011 at 6:21 PM

    Gloria: I guess Doug and I have been outed. :)

    The hockey site is a little sideline during the season, but our primary passion remains wmrw and the people here who make it happen every day and help bring it to life.

    • Cara on 01/14/2011 at 7:28 PM

      Best thing about a hockey game: the cotton candy.–my son, aged 7.

      :)

  16. Clio on 01/14/2011 at 9:24 PM

    Culuket is to Sparkly Cat as:

    (a) Death is to Silence.
    (b) The United States is to Pakistan.
    (c) The Capitals are to the Penguins.
    (d) Madonna is to Lady Gaga.

    BTW, who knew that any gay men followed hockey! What is next — straight men putting together a blog for guys who like girls and who follow figure-skating? Go figure!!

  17. Dieter on 01/15/2011 at 5:32 PM

    I wonder if Clio has anything to say…

    • Clio on 01/15/2011 at 7:07 PM

      Oh Dieter, do not be bitter, even if the popularity of your “Sprockets” skit on SNL has long since faded. Pardon me if I was a little verbose today, but the Editors’ posts and their citizen pundits are just so darn thought-provoking. Happy MLK Day! XO, Clio.

      • susan on 01/15/2011 at 9:39 PM

        It could be hunger that put dieter in such an ill temper. Or just the winter blues.

        • Rich on 01/16/2011 at 5:33 PM

          Dieter is on Track.

          He just keeps to the relevance of the case and doesn’t get caught up in all of the extraneous commentary.

          • Clio on 01/16/2011 at 10:28 PM

            Rich, I had drafted an especially bitchy zing right back at you, but, given the President’s charge to all of us to tone down our rhetoric AND your surprisingly eloquent appearance on WTOP, I will choose to pass just this time.

            And, in that ecumenical spirit of kumbaya, I implore the defendants to once again search their hearts, if they have ones, and to come forward to tell all what they know about that dreadful night.

            • Rich on 01/16/2011 at 11:13 PM

              Clio:

              Bitchy,I would expect and enjoy it.

              Eloquent? I think I already went on record and stated, I was far from it, as I was too preoccupied with other matters as I was speaking.

              As for the charge to tone it down with the rhetoric in this nation, I was behind that one decades ago.

              I was 5! :)

              As for Dieter, he seems to stay on course and not stray with Opera, Maria Callas, ManWhore, Hockey or Masseur Finders.

              As for staying, “On-Topic,” I know it’s foreign and unwelcome on this site, but, the kid deserves some credit for staying the course, to quote Ronald Reagan.

              I know. Reagan. Off Topic.

  18. dieter on 01/17/2011 at 11:50 AM

    rich,
    thanks for your support. i guess my gripe is that this site becomes too much of a catch-all for a bunch of people who want to do one or more of the following: show off erudition and loquaciousness, navel-gaze, let off general ill-will toward humanity, churn out conspiracy theories, unknowingly alchemize jealously into guilt, discuss the horse races, whatever. Of course, blogs are “owned” by certain people who can do with them what they wish. And, of course, communities that arise on blogs develop there own culture. But — and a big but: I feel the reason that debate on this blog has deteriorated, and so many of the better commentators have more or less moved on (miss you Kiki!), has less to do with the current trickle of new stuff and more to do with the bitchiness, solipsism and illogic of its core group of posters. No matter what they might think, this is about a dead man/husband/human/person and not about themselves.

    • denton on 01/17/2011 at 12:32 PM

      Dieter – Miss KiKi too, and Bruce…where are you? I mentioned few others in my previous post and I mention it again. I am all for the “First Amendment” and I would be frustrated if my opinion is being “discounted!” “Equal opportunity of no offense to anyone.” Earth is the best place to live if there is bit of fairness and justice (before it is shifted or realigned)! Thanks for giving you best shot. Let’s hear more of you.

    • Rich on 01/17/2011 at 1:04 PM

      Dieter:

      You’re right on the money.

      About, everything you stated here.

      Loads of folks joined R3, which is a private club of WMRW posters.

      They still watch here, but, reserve their comments for R3.

      Stay the course….

      Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

      • AnnaZed on 01/17/2011 at 1:18 PM

        Humpf … I was not invited to that.

        • susan on 01/17/2011 at 2:06 PM

          -Consider it a compliment. This site is recognized worldwide. It is an Open site.

          • AnnaZed on 01/17/2011 at 2:10 PM

            Wait, I thought that was a joke. What is R3?

          • Rich on 01/17/2011 at 2:42 PM

            Susan:

            Do not sell out R3.

            Where do you think all the posters who used to be on this site are now?

      • dieter on 01/17/2011 at 2:28 PM

        i figured as much. no other explanation. in fact, i also started my own a while back that has recently picked up a lot of steam, though without the same “names.” I applaud the R3 folks and hope they not only help solve this horrible crime, but also try to do so in an objective, sophisticated and, perhaps most importantly, adult way. the boys at WMRW should be lauded for starting a good thing, but they just started losing control about the time all their journo friends started running features on them and lazy reporters started calling them rather than real experts.

        • Rich on 01/17/2011 at 2:44 PM

          Dieter:

          Your last three emails are so clear and on the money.

          Thank you for remainng so FOCUSED!

          We lost that here, months ago.

          That’s why we do Opera and Hockey now.

          • Bill 2 on 01/20/2011 at 9:39 PM

            Yes, months ago. I seem to recall it was someone posting about attending a sports event in DC. Around the same time he was rambling on about some happening on the DC Metro. Maybe it was that guy who was pretending to be you because we know you would never go off topic and always keep focused.

        • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 2:59 PM

          So, according to Dieter, there are three weblogs dedicated to this one case — his, hers, and ours — extraordinary, if true, and pathetic, if not!

          Does, though, “objective, sophisticated, and adult” mean “I heart Culuket?” And, do “lazy reporters” include (the not-sleeping-in-my-courtroom) Mr. Alexander of the Post? Why does this shorthand suddenly sound very familiar and desperate?

    • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 2:37 PM

      Dear, the only “bitchiness, solipsism and illogic” that need be analyzed and exposed are, IMHO, those behaviors and statements (and silences) of the defendants, and, unfortunately, that scrutiny is necessary to help to get any justice for Robert. Hence, the continuing need for the blog and its diverse community of citizen pundits is still here. Looking at this case with all kinds of lenses (from opera glasses through microscopes)helps us all to understand the incomprehensible events of August 2, 2006.

      Now, just because some commentators (who would defend any defendant because it is their job to do so) have moved on does not mean that the blog’s discourse has declined. Those professional protectors of pariahs will be back, when developments in the case warrant their dutiful, if predictable, responses.

      But then, how does one “unknowingly alchemize jealousy (?) into guilt?” Jealousy of whom? The defendants?? Surely, you jest.

      • AnnaZed on 01/17/2011 at 2:40 PM

        Thanks Clio, I too was wondering who exactly in this scenario I was supposed to be jealous of. I was just forming the intention to type those very words, “surely you jest.”

        • susan on 01/17/2011 at 2:52 PM

          Well said, Clio.

          It is amazing the amt of time spent here by certain posters who claim to be involved elsewhere. One only wishes it were really true. Perhaps that poster will follow suit and read here only and post elsewhere. I say, jump in with both feet and be done with it. D reminds me of an earlier poster who only visited the site to complain, not to add content. But as some lovely other poster suggested, and this is good: If you don’t like visiting a site, (wait for it, this is good) don’t visit it! It is amazingly simple. Or get your exclusive invite to another site. Invitation only. Perhaps another individ. will sponsor you. So much to consider!

      • KiKi on 01/20/2011 at 2:09 PM

        I have never left, my dear Clio. I just don’t feel the need to respond to every asinine and baseless judgment that is made on this site. Especially, since the circle jerk has just gotten smaller, with the same old names, saying the same old things. “Predictable” is a good way to describe it.

        Back to defending the “pariahs” for the big bucks.

        • Craig on 01/20/2011 at 4:23 PM

          The floor is yours anytime Kiki, if you’d like to offer some original analysis or commentary. Drop us a line if you’d like to contribute.

        • Clio on 01/20/2011 at 10:42 PM

          Notice, readers, how the pro-defense rhetoric has gotten smaller, too: From Lynch Mob to Circle Jerk: the Making of WMRW, by Anonymous, may be a new NYT best seller, along with Snooki’s A Shore Thing.

          “Circle jerks” do seem more of a premurder activity for the boys at Swann than an appropriate analogy for the clever, interdisciplinary approaches pursued here. Just sayin’.

  19. Rich on 01/17/2011 at 3:15 PM

    Susan:

    That’s exactly it.

    “That poster will follow suit and read here only and post elsewhere.”

    Posting on R3 (a acronym of the space, just like “WMRW,” is where psoters voice their opinions postive or negative about this site or issue.

    In general, these posters are tired of being slammed, deleted, or under valued.

    R3 is a safe site for everyone.

    That’s our premise.

    • AnnaZed on 01/17/2011 at 3:20 PM

      Oh ok, great. So, we can assume that it’s just you and denton having “gotten a room” as advised. Why has that created no relief on this blog though? Hummm …

      • susan on 01/17/2011 at 3:36 PM

        Hmm. I suppose I was unclear. I was suggesting the reader above take his own advice and “read here and post elsewhere.” If it’s good enough for the other members of his treehouse club, it is good enough for him, I would think.

      • susan on 01/17/2011 at 3:37 PM

        You are funny, AZ!

      • Rich on 01/17/2011 at 3:54 PM

        Denton and I have had little to no contact on this Blog until about one week ago. And, back when you were claiming we were close, we had only exchanged a few postings versus the, “Love Letters,” many of you continue to nauseate us with.

        It’s pretty clear to everyone on this site, whether they are on R3 or not, who is a player here and who is into listening to themselves talk.

        As for Denton, if we were in the same room, I could not identify him.

        I would think, Denton is pretty confident with who is his friend on this Blog and who hates the Chinese.

        That’s where this blog is obvious.

        • Bill 2 on 01/17/2011 at 10:59 PM

          If you and Denton had little or no contact until a week ago, then other people have been posting here for months, using your names. That other Rich has been followed by that other Denton like a little puppy dog. Whatever that other Rich posts, that other Denton follows with his tail wagging in the next post. Now we know that, up until a week ago, we’ve had imposters here pretending to be you and Denton. Maybe you can solve the imposter mystery over at R3.

    • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 3:49 PM

      I just wish 1509 Swann had been “a safe site for everyone,” like the elusive R3, but, I would, Rich, save “playing the victim” to the Brothers Price. They are so much better at that!

      • Rich on 01/17/2011 at 3:59 PM

        No Victimization here. The R3 is amused over the deficiencies of this site.

        But, we all agree, it was a great idea over two years ago.

        it just lost its direction.

        But, hey, the Editors are tired and over it, too.

        The editors had the most heartburn over the delay of the case.

        And, it will be further delayed.

        Just watch.

        • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 4:23 PM

          Have the Editors told you in person that they “are tired and over it, too?” Or, is that just your hope (and probably that of Aunt Marcia, too, IMHO)?

          Rich, you sound overly excited about the expected delays and the Editors getting “heartburn” over them. But, then again, subtlety and three sentence paragraphs were never your bag. Let Rich be Rich? In R3 land and/or Dieter’s Island, yes!

          • AnnaZed on 01/17/2011 at 4:47 PM

            I think I’ll pass on the bait of being called a racist.

            • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 4:59 PM

              Good call, AZ. These agent provocateurs of this digital era, however compensated, leave nothing to the imagination — at least Mata Hari and Roger Casement had a little bit of mystery.

  20. denton on 01/17/2011 at 4:33 PM

    It doesn’t get any lower than this!

    • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 4:50 PM

      Well, let’s see — Joe’s attire to receive the police, Victor’s 911 curtain call, Dyl’s silent sojourn on the sofa, the Anacostia Dialogues, the Mercedes-Benz Conference, the alt dot bomb ad, the parking lot of a funeral spat, etc. Yes, Denton, it can, and it has gotten much, much, much lower than this!

      • susan on 01/17/2011 at 4:59 PM

        Hey Clio,

        One thing that has stuck with me is that JP, during the Anacostia interview, expressed displeasure at LD’s attire. He said something about LD having nothing under his “(some profanity here)robe.” I thought that was interesting since the focus of the police at that time and most commentary re the attire focused on JP’s attire at the time. The police, I believe, actually told him to cover up.

        • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 5:15 PM

          Susan, the idea of Dyl sleeping sans pajamas (in early August in a 1886 house with bad AC) and then grabbing a robe would be hardly remarkable to any urban gay man, let alone his own “power bottom.” For Diane Durham’s sake, however, I’m glad that he had a robe to wear. So, Joe’s conscious telling on Dyl can be seen as another dig of the many digs he casually put out there that night regarding the people who he supposedly loved — Dyl, Victor, Michael, Sarah, and Robert. What a dear friend that he was!

          • Bill 2 on 01/17/2011 at 11:19 PM

            I often wonder if Price’s digs at those people will cause one or two to stop withholding information that may be important to solving this murder. We can’t expect anything from Zaborsky. He sat in the courtroom while Price’s relationship with Ward moved into public view through their cards and messages and he still seems attached to Price.

            But Sarah Morgan must realize that Price doesn’t have a high opinion of her. I certainly hope that she’ll carefully consider that fact and open up to Mrs. Wone’s legal team about leaving the house with her toothbrush that night. How can anyone believe that she merely wanted to watch TV with two other guys on that specific night? I’m certain she had other reasons for leaving her abode on Swann Street on August 2nd 2006.

            • AnnaZed on 01/18/2011 at 1:29 AM

              Bill 2, I too have thought that Sarah Morgan lied about that night, and I can’t quite accept the reasons that present themselves to me as to why.

              The most obvious reason being her loyalty to Victor, but to perjure yourself in open court is a very serious matter. Still, I believe that she did nothing less.

              I want to know (and I would imagine that Mrs. Wone very much wants to know) if she left because that’s what she usually did when shenanigans were on the menu with alt.com tricks and maybe Uncle Michael, or if it was what she did whenever Victor left town simply because she wouldn’t have Victor to watch Project Runway with (if so, why not just say so?), or if Joe told her in no uncertain terms to make herself scarce. I firmly believe that it must be one of these things.

              Why didn’t the prosecutors press her on this which seems so obviously on the face of it to be a lie?

              Why didn’t they ask her:

              Where were her clothes? How did she plan to prepare herself for work the next day? Surely a professional person wouldn’t wear her clothes from the day before, especially in that blazing heat. Did she keep clothes over there? If so, why? Or did she shower and put on fresh clothes to head over there then slip into jammies or a muumuu or something reserving her presentable clothes for the next day? That would go to planning I would say.

              Knowing that she had mobility problems how did she plan to return that night if she did plan to return at all?

              Did she get drunk? Is that why she stayed? Did that happen often, so often that she carried a toothbrush but didn’t fully acknowledge to herself that she would be incapacitated later?

              • Gloria on 01/18/2011 at 10:33 AM

                Picky, but … I cannot remember — did the house have cable TV or direct/dish TV? Did Sarah share their cable connection into the house or did she pay for her own connection? I ask because Sarah (if she wanted to watch Project Runway) would have known that the household TV account did not include that channel (but maybe her friends did subscribe to that channel). Remember that Joe called the carrier that fateful night to add that channel back to their account so they could watch the show.

                • AnnaZed on 01/18/2011 at 12:42 PM

                  I know Gloria, so odd. A show like that takes a little dedication to watch; one has to have been watching it to enjoy it I would say. Couldn’t Victor have the channels that he wanted in his own home? Did Joe switch it to be mean? Was (is?) Joe the kind of mate that does spiteful things just to amuse himself, so he turned that part of the package off just to have to be asked to turn it back on?

                  Or, as you suggest, did Sarah have her own TV account (not strange for a tenant) and maybe Victor usually cozied up with her downstairs to watch the show? In that case her decision to decamp is not all that strange in the context.

                  • Craig on 01/18/2011 at 1:55 PM

                    Maybe – and finally – later this week we can roll out the criminal case stipulation that gets into this.

                    Michael Kors, Heidi Klum and the rest of the Project Runway team will get another star turn on wmrw.

                    • Clio on 01/18/2011 at 9:27 PM

                      How and why would viewing “Project Runway” drive one to kill an old college friend? Why would two college-educated men be watching that crap
                      anyway? Dyl was thinking outside the proverbial idiot
                      box — he was reading a magazine.

                      “I have concerns”: please, not Miss Gunn!

              • Bea on 01/18/2011 at 6:25 PM

                So many times I’ve (we’ve) worked through the logic and illogic of Sarah’s sleepover that night.

                Did we ever mull over (or beat to death) the notion that SHE didn’t know Victor was on his way home? And how did that matter? If she assumed he was gone, she may have assumed shenanigans. If SHE was involved in GETTING him home early, was there a plan that Victor was going to confront them?

                Oh to have fifteen minutes with Sarah and Victor in which they were forced to tell the truth. . .

                • AnnaZed on 01/18/2011 at 6:36 PM

                  Now that is an interesting scenario: Sarah (Victor’s best friend and confidant and certainly a spectator at the house of blue leaves) reaches some sort of critical mass whereby she just can’t take Victor being treated like crap and lied to and manipulated by Joe and Dylan for another second. She makes a phone call ~ sends an email ~ something ~ to tip Victor that some kind of big-time monkey-business is in the works and that somehow it involves Robert. Victor gets that early plane, but Sarah has the sense to get out while the getting is good.

                  Interesting

                  • Bea on 01/18/2011 at 8:35 PM

                    Vic was reported to be pissy by Joe himself. How sad if Victor tried to track down Joe, finally manned up and laid down the law – but was decidedly ignored. As a consolation prize, Joe ordered the extra cable channel?

                    If Tom & John are squeezed enough to say Sarah’s visit was hastily planned, maybe Sarah will have to tell what she knows (which granted may be very vague). But if there’s any trail of her trying to reach Victor, it’s some kind of “in” to be used in depositions (assuming the judge rules each defendant to be specific about claiming the 5th).

                    The case won’t pass the smell test any more than it did with Judge Leibo – only the standard is essentially “is it likely” (not the legal wording).

                    Why isn’t ANYONE in the inner circle talking?

                  • Clio on 01/18/2011 at 9:36 PM

                    But why would Ma’am go along with the 911 call and then the Mercedes-Benz parley? Was it to savor her Pyrrhic victory which did eventually get Sparkly Cat out of her home? To relish her now-permanent hold over Joe? Union Station tarts notwithstanding, Joe may be bound to his partner for life — something that the clingy marketing exec may have always wanted.

                    • Bea on 01/19/2011 at 12:16 AM

                      I suspect that what happened to Robert was not on Victor’s agenda. And that when push came to shove, it was more about saving Joe (and following commands) than ridding himself of Sparkly Cat.

  21. dieter on 01/17/2011 at 4:40 PM

    Rich,
    thanks much. good idea. i will. more later.
    and, denton, it might be time for you to abandon the echo chamber, too. give me a way to contact you.
    adios

    • denton on 01/17/2011 at 4:54 PM

      Dieter – You can find me at the Courthouse. As Rich said, even I am in the same room, no one can tell. Just look for an invisible Chinese/Asian person.

    • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 4:54 PM

      Buh-bye!

    • Rich on 01/17/2011 at 6:57 PM

      Careful, Dieter.

      No one knows about your sexual orientation, but, any moment now, as in past history, AZ is gonna tell you to get a room with Denton.

      That’s how she works.

  22. denton on 01/17/2011 at 6:10 PM

    Carroll and Dieter – It’s slow time so watch for “spam” while reading it. I look for the good and leave the rest. Cheers.

  23. Clio on 01/17/2011 at 7:35 PM

    If one had a suspicious mind, then one might see this latest spurt of spam (and coordinated sniping) as the work of “Little Red Riding Hood” — the mythical villian behind undermining the first Wikipedia page devoted to the case. Was “Little Red” the talented Mr. Ward himself — only the Shadow and his hairdresser know for sure!

    • Clio on 01/17/2011 at 9:44 PM

      No.

      Buh-bye, Rich!

      • Rich on 01/17/2011 at 10:08 PM

        I’m here for quite some toots!

        And, we won’t be seeing you on R3.

        Invitation Only.

        Buh-Bye.

  24. Clio on 01/18/2011 at 10:13 PM

    I have always wondered who went to these Sunday brunches given at 1509 Swann. Who cooked? Where did the guests eat? Were these brunches held before or after church and/or chapel? Did the host(s) serve mimosas or Bloody Marys? Learning more about these brunches may yield insights into the allegedly lousy hosting that night.

    Also, what were the actual dynamics at that 30th birthday party? Joe strikes me as someone who never does anything without a reason, however irrational that reason may be. Why would he host a birthday party for a straight, married friend in the same year as the USA Today piece on his kids? To show off his ability to be “normal”? To uphold his credibility as a tribune for LGBT folks who was still “above” those folks for who he advocated?

  25. Michael on 01/19/2011 at 10:44 AM

    I would just like to say…

    Buh-bye.

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Purpose of this Site

On August 2nd, 2006, Washington attorney Robert E. Wone was murdered at 1509 Swann Street. Over two years passed before any criminal charges were filed - and then only conspiracy, obstruction of justice and crime scene tampering charges were brought against the Swann Street housemates, all present in the home on the night of the murder: Joe Price, Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky.

On May 17, 2010, a DC Superior Court trial got underway and all three defendants were all acquitted in that bench trial on those pending charges.

Nearly four years later, very little seems clear about what happened that night and who murdered Robert Wone. A cloud of suspicion remains over the Swann Street defendants who have denied any involvement in the murder of their friend or in the alleged cover up.

Judge Lynn Leibovitz found a moral certainty in their collective guilt, but not evidentiary certainty. Civil proceedings in a wrongful death suit filed by Robert's family is the next chapter in this tragic story.

We continue to work together seeking answers to the mystery of Robert Wone's murder and in finding justice for his memory and legacy.

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