Tempers flared at last night’s Dupont Circle Advisory Commission meeting, which opened up discussion on MTV’s plans to film a season of The Real World in DC. Andrew Huff from the mayor’s office and Kathy Etemad Hollinger, director of DC’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development, were on hand to field questions.
Huff refused to confirm the exact location of the house, despite reports earlier this week that the cast will live at 2000 S Street, Northwest. But he was able to shed light on a few new tidbits:
• The Real World will begin taping around June 20 and wrap by Thanksgiving.
• Half of crew hired for the show will be locals, Huff said, though he was vague about how many jobs it would create.
• Twelve public parking spaces are being occupied while the house is renovated. After June 20, four to six spaces will be returned for public use. The rest will be off limits to neighborhood residents until the show wraps.
• The production company is responsible for providing security for the house. MTV can either pay off-duty DC police officers to do the work or hire a private security company. Either way, the house will be under 24-hour, seven-days-a-week security surveillance.
• Each resident of the house will be permitted only two guests at one time. With seven cast members, that means a total of 21 people could be in the house at capacity.
Neighbors raised concerns about the parking arrangements and complained about the prospect of noise violations in their otherwise quiet community. Plus, there’s the issue of privacy: Will MTV be permitted to show neighbors’ faces on TV, say, if they’re out walking their dogs?
DC police sergeant John C. McDonald, who heads the Dupont Circle-Kalorama Police Service Area, said the show can tape you if you’re in a public place, but on private property it would need permission. As for noise complaints, he said, “Contact me if there’s a problem.” McDonald gave out his e-mail address—firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I wouldn’t care so much if the show wasn’t being taped in my back yard,” said Tracy Sherman, one of the authors of the Anti-Real World DC blog who attended the meeting. Sherman lives with her husband, Adam Rosenberg, in a building across the street from 2000 S Street. She said the neighborhood learned about MTV’s plans just last week when rumors started circulating on the Internet.
“The lack of communication from MTV and the city is ridiculous. We should have been notified,” she said. Before news of the show broke, Sherman and Rosenberg had been considering putting their home up for sale. Now she’s concerned the property won’t sell until The Real World moves out: "I can't see anyone wanting to live near The Real World house due to increased traffic and noise," she said.
ANC 2B chairman Mike Silverstein was most concerned about the parking restrictions. “This is the kind of neighborhood where people go to war over parking spaces,” he said. Several in the crowd pressed Huff on the issue, pointing out that there’s a parking garage nearby on S Street next to Thaiphoon. Why not park the TV trucks there?
“I’ll look into it,” Huff said. But Sherman wasn’t convinced. On her blog last night, she wrote: “Mr. Huff . . . didn’t have a good answer. Seems that DC government was willing to give the show almost anything they wanted. Makes you wonder what the show paid the mayor’s office.”