Entertainment, Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Preview: ARTINI 2012

ARTINI 2011, image courtesy of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Photo credit: Ben Droz.

A gala that combines almost all of my favorite things – parties, drinks and art – into one glamorous mix? Always fantastic. Get ready for the fifth annual love affair of cocktails and art that is ARTINI.

Presented by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design’s 1869 Society and sponsored by Washingtonian, while the actual gala is a month away on Saturday, March 31, the competition itself starts next week. Twelve (Eleven as of 3/27, see update**) of the top mixologists in the city will showcase their talent and creativity in a unique way – by crafting cocktails inspired by works of art in the Corcoran collection. Last year it was an honor to serve as a judge on the Critic’s Choice panel; this year I’m happy to just kick back as a partygoer. Tickets are now on sale and do sell out quickly, so snap yours up – $95 for 1869 Society members, $115 for non-Society members. All proceeds benefit ArtReach, the Corcoran’s educational outreach program, celebrating its twentieth year of visual arts education for local students.

Sample the entries all March long as the twelve** participants roll out their artistic cocktails at weekly Feature Nights starting next week and continuing every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until the event. Our dedicated team of WLDC lushes – Brittany, Fedward, Moses and myself – will attempt to report on as many of these drinks as possible throughout the month. Look for our round-ups in the weekly Friday Happy Hour!

Now that we have all the details out of the way, I wonder if I have any predictions? Continue reading

Special Events

FotoWeek DC Returns This Week

FotoWeek DC--See you next year!
FotoWeek DC by Hoffmann

FotoWeek DC will return to the District this week for a series of exhibits celebrating the art of photography. The festival features over 150 photography-related workshops, lectures and exhibitions, as well as portfolio reviews by a specialized panel at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. It all starts with a launch party scheduled for this Friday, and a schedule of events can be found below. The festivities run from November 5th – 12th. Continue reading

Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Special: ARTINI 2011

Photo courtesy of
‘Drinks stations at ARTINI 2011′
courtesy of ‘Jenn Larsen’

It’s no secret that cocktails and art fuel my life. To have both combined together in one heady mix makes for glamour overload. Last Saturday night saw me at such an event, the annual ARTINI gala at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, hosted by the 1869 Society. I’ve said it before, and I’m not ashamed to repeat that being asked to serve on the judging panel of the first Critic’s Choice was a great honor and one of the high points so far of my We Love DC life.

With an estimated attendance of 750 guests mingling under classical columns in the long red gallery, dressed in the first finery of spring, it was a gorgeous scene. After my judging duties were over I stood on the marble steps just watching the crowd, marveling at how much DC has changed in the two decades I’ve been here. There was a vibrant energy, combined with a fashion sense ranging from quirkily vintage to elegantly artsy. My guest, no slouch herself when it comes to fashion and art, described it as “an eye candy madhouse.”

But this isn’t a social column! ARTINI is first and foremost an event designed to showcase the glory of the Corcoran’s collection as it inspires 12 local mixologists to be daring and creative. We already know the winner of both the Critic’s Choice and the Washingtonian Fan Favorite was Ronald Flores of Art and Soul‘s Coleman’s Juice. The Critic’s Choice was a tight race with Joe Ambrose of POV‘s Joan’s Palate coming in at second by only 0.1, rounded out by Brent Davis from AGAINN‘s The Fall of Grace. In the Fan Favorite, Brent took second and Cafe Atlantico‘s Owen Thompson’s Daisy If You Do… took third.

How did all the drinks fare? As judges we had to consider three elements – taste, presentation, and connection to the inspiration art. Trying to hit all three buttons isn’t easy.

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Food and Drink, Special Events, The Daily Feed

Get Ready for ARTINI!

Erik Holzherr's Absolution cocktail from ARTINI 2010. Photo credit: T. Silva.

Though the actual gala event is a month away, the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s annual mix of cocktails and art kicks-off this week. Yes, it’s time to get ready for ARTINI 2011, which combines two of my absolute favorite things in one glamorous night – Saturday, April 2 – when twelve of the top mixologists in the city will showcase their talents by crafting cocktails inspired by works of art in the Corcoran collection. I’m extremely honored to be one of the judges on the Critics Choice panel that night. Actually, honored is an understatement – I’m ridiculously excited, and can’t wait to share my wrap-up with you afterwards.

But you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy some beautiful works of liquid art! The entire month of March is dedicated to sampling these drinks, with weekly Feature Nights starting this week. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the participating restaurants and bars will showcase their entries with 20% of the proceeds supporting the Corcoran’s exhibitions.

Our crack team of WLDC lushes – Bill, Brittany and Fedward – will attempt to report on as many of these drinks as possible throughout the month. Look for them at our weekly Friday Happy Hour! And join along in the voting sponsored by the Washingtonian.

The Features

We Love Arts: Win Tickets to Spencer Finch

Spencer Finch, Passing Cloud, (394 L Street NW, Washington, D.C., July 7, 2010), 2010, dimensions variable. Fluorescent light fixtures and lamps, filters, monofilament, and clothespins. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin. Photo: Chan Chao.

“I see the President almost every day, as I happen to live where he passes to or from his lodgings out of town…. I saw him this morning about 8 ½ coming to business, riding on Vermont avenue, near L street…. Mr. Lincoln on the saddle generally rides a good-sized, easy going gray horse, is dress’d in plain black, somewhat rusty and dusty, wears a black stiff hat, and looks about as ordinary in attire, &c., as the commonest man…. I see very plainly Abraham Lincoln’s dark brown face, with the deep-cut lines, the eyes, always to me with a deep latent sadness in the expression.  We have got so that we exchange bows, and very cordial ones.”

-       Walt Whitman, “ Abraham Lincoln,” No. 45 (August 12, 1863), Specimen Days in Prose Works, Philadelphia:  David McKay, 1892, p. 43.

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The Daily Feed

Saturdays Free at the Corcoran

Lonely Lady by Hoffman

The Corcoran Gallery of Art will be free of admission from Memorial Day weekend (May 29) through Labor Day weekend (September 4).  This even includes access to their  (highly recommended) temporary exhibitions Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change and Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration.  Visitors to the Corcoran will also be able to enjoy unique programming such as community art projects, sketching workshops, tours, concerts, and more.  What do I love about DC?  Art that is easily accessible and free!

The Daily Feed

Corcoran Ceases Cézanne

Daydreaming at the Corcoran by Kevin H.

The average day at an art museum goes something like this.  The doors open, people stroll in to look at some art, and later in the day the doors close until the entire process is repeated again the next day.  Unlike the world of politics or the world of sports, the world of art is relatively free of any drama.  Until…the HVAC system goes on the fritz!

Yesterday, the Corcoran Gallery of Art decided to take down its Turner to Cézanne exhibit due to the malfunctioning climate control system.  According to gallery spokeswoman Kristin Guiter, “We had some issues with the new air handler, the one providing the heating and cooling to the gallery. The levels were fluctuating.”  You see, art doesn’t like fluctuations in temperature and humidity, especially art that is worth millions and millions of dollars.

Despite the moody HVAC system, not all galleries within the building are closed.  Be sure to check out the Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change exhibit this weekend.

Food and Drink, Special Events, The Features, We Love Drinks

Drinks Preview: ARTINI

Erik Holzherr of Wisdom's ARTINI. Photo credit: T. Silva. Courtesy of the Corcoran ARTINI 2010 Committee.

This Saturday the Corcoran Gallery of Art presents ARTINI, and if you’ve been waffling about attending I hear there are roughly less than 100 tickets still left, but going fast and not available at the door. So jump!

ARTINI is a fabulous event mixing two of my favorite things – art and cocktails. Twelve local mixologists have created drinks inspired by works in the current exhibit at Corcoran, A Love of Europe: Highlights from the William A. Clark Collection. Preview events featuring the submissions have been ongoing this month (I know, I know, I should’ve told you earlier, mea culpa, it’s been a crazy time lately). Tonight you can sample Art & Soul and tomorrow try out Rasika from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the respective restaurants. The Washingtonian is a co-sponsor and handles the voting, with the winning artini announced Saturday. The inspiration works will be on display that night as well.

The cocktail reception runs from 8pm to midnight, with $85 tickets for 1869 Society members and $100 for non-1869 Society members. That includes a cocktail bar, music by DJ Chris Nitti, and tours of both the Clark exhibit and Turner to Cezanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection. Proceeds support ArtReach, which provides free high-quality arts education programs to underserved communities in DC.

So many mixologists already take their inspiration from art. It’s a natural collaboration. Here’s a quick rundown of who’s on board and a few teasers to get you in the mood. Continue reading

We Love Arts

Edward Burtynsky: Oil

Highway #1, Intersection 105 & 110, Los Angeles, California, USA, 2003. Chromogenic color print. Photograph © Edward Burtynsky

Highway #1, Intersection 105 & 110, Los Angeles, California, USA, 2003. Chromogenic color print. Photograph © Edward Burtynsky

Thankfully for those of us in D.C. who love art, especially those with a particular fondness for photography, we have Paul Roth and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.  Over the past couple of years they’ve had an amazing lineup of photography exhibits, showcasing a dream team of photographers including Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams, and William Eggleston.  All known for completely different styles of photography (although it has been argued that Leibovitz is “copycatting Avedon“), there’s been a genre on display for everyone.  Continuing their record of hosting world class and historically important photography exhibits, the Corcoran opens Edward Burtynsky: Oil on Saturday.

I don’t read art magazines.  I don’t read art blogs or subscribe to their RSS feeds.  I don’t have a degree in art history and I’ve never taken a photography class.  I prefer to learn about art by experiencing it first hand, by learning about it from others, or by pure coincidence.  About a year ago I was adding movies to my Netflix queue when I came across a documentary called Manufactured Landscapes.  I had never heard of Edward Burtynsky but was enticed by the description of this film about “an examination of industrialization and globalization”, a concept that has always been interesting to me as I tend to look at things from a 10,000 foot point of view.  Needless to say that when I watched this documentary I was immediately a fan of Burtynsky’s, not necessarily for his photographic abilities, but for what he was interested in showing his audience.  Leibovitz can show you glamorous photos of Angelina Jolie with perfect lighting and makeup, but no matter how impressive they may be, you are only left with feelings of lust or admiration.  On the other hand, when you see Burtynsky’s photo of three Bangladeshi men standing barefoot in a pool of oil, you are left with feelings of wonder, with sorrow, with relief that you have a desk job.  Burtynsky’s photos are not only beautifully executed pieces of art, but they make you think and want to know more, which takes his photography to the next level.

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The Daily Feed

Corcoran Cuts and Free Saturdays

Photo courtesy of
‘corcoran gallery of art 7.19.08 – 3496′
courtesy of ‘laura padgett’

The Corcoran Gallery of Art announced yesterday that it would be laying off about 5.6% of its staff and instituting a hiring freeze in attempts to make up a $4 million deficit this year. 18 employees, both entry-level and higher-ups were effected by the layoffs.

While this is another wave of bad news in the realms of both employment and the arts, the uptick is that the museum will offer free admission on Saturdays this summer in order to boost attendance.

Essential DC, Featured Photo, History, Life in the Capital, The District

Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power

The Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution, DAR Convention,
Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D.C., October 15, 1963
© 2008 The Richard Avedon Foundation

There really isn’t a just way to describe how incredible and important Richard Avedon’s photographs are, at least in words that haven’t already been written or spoken.  He’s been called “America’s pre-eminent editorial portrait and fashion photographer” which is accurate, but he, like all master photographers, is also a great historian.  Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power, a new exhibit set to open this Saturday at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, has brought together more than 200 of his photos that cover over 50 years of his career and of American history, some of them having never been on exhibit or published.

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