In honor of the first day of the 2014 Cherry Blossom Festival, I’ve pulled the above photo from 1939 of then Senate Majority Leader Alben W. Barkley placing festival the crown on the head of Peggy Townsend, Cherry Blossom Queen. Super retro. Super cool. Ah, the good old days. Now let’s reach back to this week in bygone WeLoveDC years to surface five oldie, but goodie articles that will make your week sing.
While Throwback Thursday or #tbt generally involves posting photos from “a while ago,” we thought it was high time we bring back some of the good ole articles from our 7 years of existence (Damn, how’d that happen?) Each week we’ll feature: 1) five oldie, but goodie articles to get your DC blood pumping, and 2) a super cool, retrospective photo of DC from days gone bye. Above is the block of 3212-3222 Sherman Avenue, NW on May 1909. What’s it look like now? Check it out.
It wasn’t hard to spot the gun control crowd marching on Washington last Saturday. They were the ones all the tourists were pointing at.
OH: “Who are all those people over there?”
OH: “You think something’s wrong?”
OH: “Oh it’s one of those anti-gun groups.”
OH: “Get out of the picture, Fred!”
In fact, the March on Washington for Gun Control was not one group but a few – groups like One Million Moms for Gun Control and folks from the mayor’s office, plus Arena Stage’s Molly Smith, who organized the whole thing (unaffiliated with the theater).
I ran into the march while headed toward the National Gallery of Art for my birthday. So obviously I took a detour; because nothing says celebrate like partisan politics and national tragedy. Continue reading →
If seeing cherry blossom buds makes you impatient for late March, the US Botanic Garden has you (and your date…or camera…) covered with their annual display of orchids - Orchid Mystique: Nature’s Triumph.
I visited last weekend on an extremely affordable date (admission is always free), and decided that the Botanic Garden must have some of the best curators in the city.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Japan’s cherry blossom gift to DC this year, the orchid show has a distinctly Japanese flair. Archways span the garden court’s fountains, which take on new character with steam and floating flowers. Orchids snake through the building and hang in all colors from bridges overhead. The East Gallery houses a Japanese rock garden with near-perfect bonzai. On a less crowded weekday visit, the quiet space would complement midday meditation.
The gallery now organizes the paintings thematically and provides textual panels to help visitors understand the reasoning behind the new groupings. In addition, thirteen of the paintings have been restored.
I went last Saturday and was blown away by both the beauty on display and the enthusiasm of the visitors around me. In fact, I was so amazed by the Cézanne pieces that I ran out of time and missed Monet. However that shouldn’t be a problem: the NGA’s price tag (always free) and nearness to Metro mean I can always…Gauguin. Yes, that’s a little Post-Impressionist humor for your Friday.
It’s been the year of the protestor in DC, and that’s after a 2010 filled with Tea Parties and Rallies for Sanity. We’ve seen protestors on our walks to work, outside and inside our memorials, sitting in the middle of the street and, yes, in our jails. Some protests have gone really well: they’ve raised awareness or made for some badass photo opps, or both.
Others have utterly flopped: did you hear about the Occupy The Art Institute of Washington protest? Yeah neither did anyone else.
So here they are! Relive the all the obnoxious traffic, repetitive catchphrases and handcrafted signage of the most memorable protests of 2011!
Good night, Tourmobile. You served our National Mall in an exclusive fashion for 42 years, charging high prices for on-and-off service for tourists around the National Mall, and while things have dropped off lately, you were always a welcome site for tourists in the area. Their service ends today, and the Park service will be evaluating new providers of service along the Mall in the coming months. For now, pedicabs and bikes will be the modes of transportation around the Mall.
out of the earth / I sing for them
A Horse nation / I sing for them
out of the earth / I sing for them,
the animals / I sing for them.
~a song by the Teton Sioux
Emil Her Many Horses is, by first appearance, a quiet, unassuming gentleman. A museum specialist in the office of Museum Programs at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), he is responsible for the facility’s latest exhibition “A Song for the Horse Nation.” A member of the Ogala Lakota nation of South Dakota, his expertise on the Northern and Southern Plains cultures is well served and seen in the exhibit that opens to the public tomorrow.
NMAI’s latest offering is a touching and brilliant display of how the horse has deeply impacted and affected Native cultures since their introduction to the Americas in the 17th century. “The exhibit tells the history of the horse; that they were here once before, migrated to Europe, and returned as the horse we know today,” explained Her Many Horses. “They changed Native culture. The horse had a major impact on hunting, warfare, travel, spirituality. These were big changes.” Changes that extend beyond the European vision of the animal.
Seen as a beast of burden, a tool, a weapon, the horse was brought and used by European explorers and colonists early in America’s “New World” history. And their introduction, according to many Natives, was probably one of the biggest positive changes brought about by the white man.
There’s been a few news tweets about the SlutWalk that happened this weekend and unsurprisingly several of them – maybe most – have touted photos. I’m not condemning that – I like looking at provocatively dressed women myself. But don’t miss the very serious reason it’s called SlutWalk and involves protesting while scantily-clad: to combat a perception that dressing a certain way is in any way permission or a valid reason for other people to use your body against your will.
“You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here,” he reportedly told them. “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this – however, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.”
I’m (sadly) not surprised that someone would say a version of “If you wear that skirt you’re just asking to be raped,” but I can’t say I expected to hear it from a police officer.
SlutWalk might not be how you want to confront this sort of thing in our society – Holla Back DC’s Chai Shenoy didn’t feel like it was a productive thing for her – but the women who stood up and told their fellow DC residents that how they look or dress isn’t cause to mistreat them have good cause to think making the statement is necessary. Make their sacrifice of their time worthwhile and look past just the pictures.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is hosting a free outdoor concert to kick off their yearly Indian Summer Showcase. This year, the Indian Country/Country Indian concert will feature Victoria Blackie (Navajo), Rebecca Miller (Six Nations, Canada), and Becky Hobbs (Cherokee). The concert will take place at 5 pm outside on the Welcome Plaza in front of the museum’s main entrance.
I was fortunate enough to squeeze some time from Victoria and Becky to talk about their music, their heritage, and what inspires them in their artistry.
First, there’s Victoria Blackie. Last year’s winner of the Debut Artist of the Year at the Native American Music Awards, she also performed at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her voice has been described as powerful with lots of soul, hearkening back to the days of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and other female greats of the past. And don’t let her small stature fool you (she’s 5’1”); her voice is strong enough to pull you in and versatile enough to appeal to a wide range of country enthusiasts.
Derek A. Bencomo, Hana Valley, First View from the Peaks and Valleys Series, 1997, milowood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler in honor of Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery (1995--2003); photo courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Black Family Reunion and a Tea Party rally also shared the Mall last year, in fact- only last year it was the much larger 9/12 FreedomWorks Taxpayer March on Washington. That rally is also happening again this year, but it’ll be on Sunday, and since the Black Family Reunion is only one day this year, the two will not conflict.
So while the 9/12 Tea Party rally in 2009 caused some issues for the Black Family Reunion from marchers using the Reunion’s portapotties and food vendors due to inadequate facilities for their own rally, it looks like it won’t happen this year. It seems the Saturday rally’s permit has been adjusted downward for a group of 2,000 or less.
There is a movement afoot to bring a demonstration to DC that will actually be awesome. A movement determined to bring Stephen Colbert to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to call America back to it’s core values, namely truthiness. This movement is gaining traction but is still in its infancy. But I’m spreading the word. I want this vision to become a reality. Join your voices with the literally dozens of other patriots calling for Stephen Colbert to call us back to our roots. Maybe if you tweet something awesome, it will end up on the Report.
PS: Colbert Nation, if this rally actually happens, pick up your trash.
Please note that despite some serious misunderstanding and outrageous assumptions made beyond the Beltway, DC really is a safe city to visit. We do recommend, however, that you just avoid Baltimore completely. Think of it as our certifiably insane sibling to the north, with delusions of class. (And yes, I am kidding. We DCites do have a sense of humor, especially at Baltimore’s expense. And Philadelphia’s.)
Did anyone else see the large meteors that fell over DC, last night? I was at Screen on the Green last night watching 12 Angry Men (always awesome) and I saw two flaming chunks of rock fall over the Capitol. And I’m not talking about dainty shooting stars. These were large enough and close enough to be seen despite the city’s light pollution and definitely caught the attention of most of the movie goers. You could even see the rocks beginning to break up and shed chunks of debris. They kind of looked like fireworks right before the explode. Did anyone else see them, or am I crazy?
My favorite pic is the shot of Rosslyn looking over the Key Bridge to DC taken in 1945. It’s amazing to think of the now skyscraper filled neighborhood as only having two and three storied buildings. Some may remember one of last remaining relics of that era, Tom Sarris Orleans House, which tragically closed in 2008. That place was definitely a DC insiders go to.
Rachel: Well, I’m fresh off a stint in Nashville to audition for American Idol. It didn’t go my way but I learned a lot and am ready to rock out harder than ever before after being “cut” from the program before ever seeing any air-time. I’ve got a gig booked for Saturday night at the Tonic Lounge (located at 2036 G Street NW, near the Foggy Bottom Metro). I’m not the only entertainment on tap, several artists from the DC area will take the stage too. So grab a drink at the bar, stay for the tunes, and if you’re a Glee fan I guarantee a solid new cover added to my repertoire from the second half of last season’s show. Not gonna tell you what it is, you’ll have to stop by to hear it. Show starts at 8 p.m. with a $5 cover. I’ll also have albums on sale with proceeds going to the National Kidney Foundation in honor of my late father who received a heart transplant in 1999. Hope to see you there! It should be a rockin’ good time.
Patrick: Weeks of no social life ends this weekend. Noises Off! opens this Saturday at Keegan Theatre in Dupont Circle. As the stage manager I’ll be in the booth playing the role of incompetent sound technician #1. No seriously, come see the show and watch the actors freak out at me during Act III. The show will run through August so I hope to see everybody there eventually. While I’m running the show I’ll also be trying to figure out where to eat and drink before and after performances- anybody have any suggestions for places I should check out around 17th Street?
Last night’s premiere of TopChefDC, filmed in April, has me thinking back to the cooler days of spring when the city was infiltrated with tourists on their yearly pilgrimages to see the cherry blossom. While I long for the chillier weather and the beautiful, cotton candy cherry blossoms, I’m good with our present normal levels of tourists.
Today’s DC Craft lets you add a little bit of cherry blossom to your abode with this reinterpreted cherry blossom vinyl wall decal. The wall decoration comes in 17 potential colors, and features a series of 4 birds perched on blooming branches. Chose pink for the branches, and you’ve got a DC-centric piece of wall art.
District visitors and residents can now take the 500-foot-level trip to the monument’s observation area open at 9 a.m. and don’t close until 10 p.m. That’s five extra hours of time to gallivant around on of Washington’s most beloved icons.
Tickets are free and available either online or by calling (877) 444-6777. The National Park Service as advised individuals to allow at least two weeks before your tickets will be mailed to your home.
Free same-day tickets are also available beginning at 8:30 a.m. daily on a first come, first serve basis at the National Park Service’s Monument Lodge, located on the 15th Street side of the Washington Monument grounds.
Summer is my favorite season, I’ve made no secret of that on this here blog over the years. DC comes alive in the summer, with events galore. And if you’re new to DC, or new to We Love DC, or even an old faithful reader (and we love you for that, truly) I just wanted to take some time to point out that we’ve got you covered for summer.
So here is my short list of things I love about summer in DC and links to articles that we’ve written in the past to help you get the most out of it. (We call this unabashedly re-purposing content.)