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WEDNESDAY

As a journalist who frequently traverses the United States, I’m regularly surprised at how ineffective strip malls, fast-food restaurants, and national chain stores have been in erasing their regions’ essential natures (or, as I like to call them, their “psychogeographies”). Sure, these days you’ll find a Wal-Mart, a Starbucks, and a McDonald’s almost everywhere you go. But I challenge anyone to drive (as I did earlier this year) through Texas cow country, Oklahoma oil country, the Arkansas Ozarks, the Mississippi Delta, northern Louisiana’s Bible Belt, and the Texas-Mexico frontera and not notice the differences. I can only imagine what these locales must have looked like during the early ’70s, when the Environmental Protection Agency sponsored photographers to shoot images for a wide-ranging project called DOCUMERICA. Some of those photographs will be assessed by curator Bruce Bustard today in his lecture “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday?: Images of Suburbia in EPA’s DOCUMERICA Project” at noon at the National Archives, in Room 105, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Free. (202) 501-5000. (Louis Jacobson)

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