Downtown, Essential DC, History, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

Celebrating 125 Years of National Geographic

The National Geographic Society was founded 125 years ago. Its purpose? To expand and share geographic and scientific knowledge through the spirit of exploration. That mission continues to drive National Geographic amidst more than a century of technological and scientific innovations. And for the next year, visitors to the Society’s Museum here in DC can celebrate and enjoy the most iconic moments in the organization’s history.

The exhibition opens with a colorful celebration of the Society’s iconic magazine. The entry arch is constructed entirely of hundreds of past issues in a variety of languages, a fitting tribute to the simple golden square that symbolizes the publication. As visitors walk down a short hallway, they are greeted with a colorful display that shows off the cover of every issue of National Geographic, including placeholders for the future editions to be published during the exhibition’s year-long run.

After a short look at the Society’s founding members—using an interactive portrait—the exhibition opens up to encompass the three areas of the organization’s focus in exploration: land, sea, and sky. The galleries are covered in colorful images that highlight fascinating stories throughout the Society’s history. Science and exploration are the primary focus, including ancient civilizations and cultures, paleontology, wildlife, oceans, and the environment. Continue reading

Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live – May/June 2013

NGS Picture ID:1034497

The first American team ascends Mount Everest in 1963. (Photo courtesy National Geographic)

National Geographic Live’s spring programming winds down in May with several great events. As usual, our friends at the National Geographic Museum are offering two pairs of tickets to our readers. To be considered for the random drawing, enter your name and which two events you’d most like to see in the comments area. On Tuesday, April 30 at noon we’ll draw two names and get you set up with one of your chosen events. (Note that there are two events listed below that are ineligible for the drawing; the evening with Buzz Aldrin and the Beer Tasting.)

For those unable to attend these great programs, you can now view them online a few days after the live event. All programs are at the Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic Museum on 17 and M Street, NW; parking is free for program attendees after 6 pm.

Isabel Allende: A Portrait in Sepia ($22)
May 1, 7:30 pm
Spend an evening with one of the world’s greatest writers when Isabel Allende, author of The House of the Spirits and most recently Portrait in Sepia, comes to National Geographic. A Chilean author whose books established her as a feminist force in Latin America’s male-dominated literary world, Allende spins stories of family, politics, and human rights that transfix audiences. She’ll converse with National Geographic Traveler’s Don George, editor of the new travel anthology, Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales from Great Fiction Writers, which features her work.

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Downtown, Interviews, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

Behind the National Geographic Story (With Alice Gabriner)

Roman Frontiers

From “Roman Frontiers”; used with permission. The Porta Nigra, or “black gate,” still dominates Trier, Germany. A hundred feet tall, it was built in the second century as part of a wall system four miles long. Trier was a major city in the late Roman Empire, even serving as a regional capital under several emperors. “The light was so good from my hotel room that I put up a tripod and started taking pictures. The gate is surrounded by modern elements like power lines and a gas station, so I captured a variety of ways of looking at it. This was a way of combining both the old and the new.”
ROBERT CLARK – ROMAN FRONTIERS, SEPTEMBER 2012

Tonight, National Geographic is pulling back the curtain of sorts. One of the organization’s acclaimed draws is its fantastic use of photography to illustrate various articles and exhibits. Many photographers, from amateur to professional, dream of a day when they see one or more of their photos published in the iconic gold-bordered magazine.

National Geographic magazine Senior Photo Editor Alice Gabriner will share with a select crowd at the museum’s Grosvenor Auditorium her process. (The program is sold out for the evening.) Guests will discover firsthand the work that goes in to curating a National Geographic photo show through an insiders tour, as well as a private viewing of Beyond the Story: National Geographic Unpublished 2012, an upcoming photography exhibition featuring unpublished images by photographers on assignment for National Geographic magazine last year.

I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Gabriner before the program this evening. She graciously took a few moments to answer some questions and shared some photos from upcoming projects. Continue reading

Education, Entertainment, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live Giveaway – Feb/Mar 2013

Photo courtesy of BurnAway
Essick discussing his photo in the special Nat Geo exhibit upstairs
courtesy of BurnAway

The National Geographic Live series began a couple weeks ago, so our apologies for getting this to you a little late. Nonetheless, the good folks over at the NG Museum are giving away two pairs of tickets to our readers for (almost) any one of their great programs over the next few weeks. Entering is easy: in the comment field below, give us your name and two of the programs from the following list you’d like to see. We’ll randomly draw two commenters and provide each with a pair of tickets to one of the programs they selected! The drawing will occur around noon on Tuesday, 2/19 and winners notified that afternoon.

All events are at the Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic Museum, located at the corner of 16th and M Streets, NW. Parking is free for programs starting after 6 pm. If you’d like to attend and don’t win, you can contact the box office to purchase tickets.

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness ($22)
Feb 20, 7:30 pm

Spend an evening with Alexandra Fuller, an award-winning writer and National Geographic contributor who has converted the experience of growing up amidst war and revolution into a powerful literary voice. Raised in Zimbabwe by English expats, Fuller’s coming-of-age experience during that country’s independence struggle provided material for two compelling memoirs, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness. Join us for a moving exploration of Africa—and beyond—in a conversation hosted by National Geographic Traveler editor at large Don George.

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Downtown, History, Interviews, People, Special Events, The Features

Crossing the Northwest Passage the Modern Way: Kite Skiing

Courtesy Sarah McNair-Landry and National Geographic

On December 6, an adventurous brother-sister team visits the National Geographic Museum to share about their experience kite skiing over two thousand miles through Canada’s arctic archipelago. Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry grew up with the Arctic Ocean and sled dogs in their backyard and have trekked across the polar regions since they were teenagers. Their journey saw them fend off polar bears and coping with extreme weather conditions along the way.

Their expedition traces the 1906 Roald Amundsen route through the Northwest Passage. That was the first time that it was actually successfully navigated by anyone following centuries of explorers hoping to discover a way through from the Atlantic to the Pacific north of Canada. The journey began in Tuktoyaktuk, located in Canada’s Northwest Territories and traveled east through Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay, Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak, and Arctic Bay, before finally reaching the finish line at Pond Inlet on Baffin Island.

Sarah stopped by WeLoveDC to talk about their experience. Continue reading

Downtown, People, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

Desert Air Opens Tomorrow at NatGeo

“Crossing Arabia’s Empty Quarter” by George Steinmetz; photo courtesy National Geographic

An exhibition featuring images of the world’s deserts by award-winning National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz will be on display at the National Geographic Museum from Aug. 30, 2012, to Jan. 27, 2013.

The free exhibition, “Desert Air: Photographs by George Steinmetz,” includes breathtaking photographs of sand dunes, human habitation, wildlife and vast expanses of the world’s last great wildernesses. The photos will be displayed in the museum’s M Street gallery. An audio component will feature Steinmetz telling the stories behind selected images. Continue reading

Cherry Blossom Festival, Entertainment, Special Events, The Daily Feed, We Love Arts

This Saturday: Samurai Cinema Triple Feature!

Photo courtesy National Geographic

Want something a little different to make this year’s cherry blossom visit truly magnificent? How about a great samurai triple feature?  The National Geographic Museum will be presenting three classics of Japanese cinema, all featuring the iconic Toshiro Mifune and presented in stunning 35mm! Presented in conjunction with the National Geographic Museum exhibition Samurai: The Warrior Transformed, the films will be introduced by Michael Jeck, veteran film programmer notable for commentary on Criterion DVD releases of Seven Samurai and Throne of Blood.

Admission to each film is $5, though you can see them for free with paid admission to the new samurai exhibit. (The offer is valid only for exhibit tickets purchased for Saturday, 3/31; there are a limited number of tickets available.) Warning—these films all have some pretty violent content. Film details after the jump. Continue reading

Adventures, Downtown, Entertainment, Interviews, Special Events, We Love Arts

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner: Scaling the World

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner; Photo courtesy National Geographic

Tonight, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner takes the stage at the National Geographic Museum. A prolific mountaineer, Ms. Kaltenbrunner is best known for being the first woman to summit all 14 8,000 meter peaks without supplemental oxygen or porters. She was nominated as one of NatGeo’s Adventurers of the Year for 2012.

She’ll be talking tonight about her daring climb of K2 in August 2011. Ms. Kaltenbrunner took a moment to answer a few questions for WeLoveDC before tonight’s event. Continue reading

Special Events, We Love Arts

2011 All Roads Film Festival at NatGeo

Photo courtesy of
‘National Archives Film Canisters’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Starting tomorrow, the National Geographic Museum hosts the 2011 All Roads Film Festival. The five-day festival showcases nearly 40 films in 24 countries, created to provide an international platform for indigenous and under-represented minority-culture artists to share cultures, stories and perspectives through the power of film and photography. This year’s theme is “Stories That Shape Our World” and National Geographic is giving WeLoveDC readers a chance to win a pair of all-access passes to the festival.

The five-day event also will include a “Global Groove: DJ Dance Party,” hosted by DJ Dave Nada and DJ Underdog, panel discussions by a number of the filmmakers and two photography exhibits. One photography exhibit will feature works from three provocative voices in the photography medium, each at different points in their careers; the second is an exclusive view into two cultures where photography by outsiders has been severely restricted. Several filmmakers will participate in two panel discussions, “Latinos in Modern Media” and “Indigenous Communities, Film and the Environment,” as well as discussions following their film screenings where they will talk about their careers and the continuing innovation of indigenous filmmaking.

If you’d like to win a pair of festival passes, simply drop a comment below (using an email address we can use to contact you). We’ll randomly select a winner at noon tomorrow (Wednesday 9/14). Continue reading

Downtown, Education, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live: May 2011

©Sunny Khalsa; courtesy National Geographic

May winds down the Spring 2011 National Geographic Live series of programs. If you’re looking for something to do in the evenings, we highly suggest you check out some of their offerings this season. And to provide further incentive, we are providing two lucky readers with a pair of tickets to an event of their choice this coming month!

To enter the drawing, simply comment below using your first name and a legit email address, listing the two events from the following program list you’d like to attend. (Note that there is one event not eligible and we’ve noted it for you.) Sometime after noon on Wednesday (May 4) we’ll randomly select two winners to receive a pair of tickets (each) to one of their selections.

(For ticket information, visit online or call the box office at (800) 647-5463.)

Music On…Photography Moby ($18) (SOLD OUT)
May 9, 7:30 pm
Moby has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, played over 3,000 concerts in his career, and has had his music included in hundreds of films, such as Heat and The Beach. He has been taking photographs for as long as he’s been making music. See his riveting images and be among the first to learn about his much-anticipated new project.

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History, Interviews, Life in the Capital, Media, Scribblings, Special Events, The Features, They Shoot DC, We Love Arts

Photographing the President

Lyndon B. Johnson’s photographer Yoichi Okamoto disappeared behind the President to make this image. Okamoto would have been below the eye line of almost all of the reporters in the room. (LBJ Library/Yoichi Okamoto, p. 118); courtesy National Geographic

Photographs. They’re a common form of expression in media today; they’re everywhere. To many, none are more relevant or as communicative as those taken of the President of the United States. We see them every day in the paper, on websites, on television. “Pictures are worth a thousand words,” says the old adage; none more so true than those of the most powerful and important position in these United States.

But what about the men and women behind those shots? Ever wonder about them – who they are, how they do what they do, what it takes to get “that shot”? John Bredar recently published The President’s Photographer: 50 Years Inside the Oval Office. Bredar primarily chronicles Pete Souza, President Obama’s chief photographer (and former photographer for President Ronald Reagan), through the book while discussing the unique ins and outs of the position with past photographers. We managed – with National Geographic’s help (and a review copy of Brader’s book)- to catch former Presidential photographers Eric Draper and David Hume Kennerly and find out a little bit more about who some of these special and unique individuals are behind the lens.

Access to the President “behind the scenes” by photographers is, in the sense of Presidential history, only a recent development. “Do we really need someone following the President of the United States around every day with a camera?” Bredar asks in his book. When photographer Edward Steichen approached President Lyndon Johnson about it, he posed a simple question: “Just think what it would mean if we had such a photographic record of Lincoln’s presidency?” Continue reading

Downtown, Fun & Games, Special Events, The Features

Geckos: The New Cuteness?

Photo courtesy of
‘DSC_0015′
courtesy of ‘RomeTheWorld’

Opening today and running through the first week of January is a new exhibit at National Geographic. “Geckos: Tails to Toepads” features just over 15 species of live geckos of different colors, stripes, shapes, and sizes. While there are also interactive displays and a kids-oriented area, the main attraction are the self-contained terrarium-style displays with all sorts of geckos.

Some of them are pretty tough to spot, like the Satanic Leaf-tail Gecko. (There are four in the enclosure, of which I found only two.) Some are pretty “obvious” geckos, similar in appearance to the animated one on television shilling insurance. And some are just downright ugly. But all in all, they are fascinating to watch and most (if not all) are pretty darn cute – for a reptile.

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Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

The African Diaspora Film Festival at National Geographic

Freedom Riders, courtesy the filmmaker and the National Geographic Society

Beginning tomorrow, the fifth annual African Diaspora Film Festival kicks off at the National Geographic headquarters here in Washington, DC. Showcasing a selection of independent films from around the world, the festival runs through Sunday and is presented in collaboration with the National Geographic All Roads Film Project and TransAfrica Forum. The festival will exhibit 10 films, eight of which are premiering in the DC area.

The ADFF presents to Washingtonians an eclectic mix of foreign, independent, classic, and urban films representing the global Black experience through an extraordinary range of subjects and artistic approaches. Created in 1993 in New York City, ADFF has long been delighting audiences with U.S. and world premieres of independent films, including features, documentaries, animation, and shorts.

The opening film, Freedom Riders, is the first feature-length film about the civil rights activists who risked their lives to bring the American people and government face-to-face with the civil rights inequalities that plagued our nation. The film was a Sundance Film Festival 2010 Official Selection made by Stanley Nelson. Gaining impressive access to influential figures on both sides of the issue, Nelson chronicles a chapter of American history that stands as an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds. Continue reading

Special Events, The Daily Feed

Win Da Vinci Lecture Tickets!

Photo courtesy of
‘DSC_6882′
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

Our friends at the National Geographic Museum are giving WeLoveDC readers a final chance to win some tickets to the July 8 lecture “Exploring Leonardo’s Universe” with special guest Dr. Bülent Atalay. Author of Math and the Mona Lisa and Leonardo’s Universe, Dr. Atalay offers a comprehensive look at Leonardo, his work, and his world. Both a scientist and artist, Dr. Atalay is uniquely qualified to give a comprehensive overview of Da Vinci’s art, discoveries, and the many ways his genius has influenced the world around us. The lecture is a companion event to the free exhibit “Da Vinci – The Genius,” currently showing at the National Geographic Museum.

We’ll be giving away THREE pairs of tickets to the lecture; simply comment below and use a legit email address and your first name. We’ll draw our winners tomorrow morning at 11 am. We’ll notify winners before lunchtime tomorrow.

Special Events, The Daily Feed

Win Tickets to Explore Leonardo’s Universe

Photo courtesy of
‘DSC_6846′
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

Our friends at the National Geographic Museum are giving WeLoveDC readers a chance to win some tickets to the July 8 lecture “Exploring Leonardo’s Universe” with special guest Dr. Bülent Atalay. Author of Math and the Mona Lisa and Leonardo’s Universe, Dr. Atalay offers a comprehensive look at Leonardo, his work, and his world. Both a scientist and artist, Dr. Atalay is uniquely qualified to give a comprehensive overview of Da Vinci’s art, discoveries, and the many ways his genius has influenced the world around us. The lecture is a companion event to the free exhibit “Da Vinci – The Genius,” currently showing at the National Geographic Museum.

We’ll be giving away two pairs of tickets today to the lecture; simply comment below and use a legit email address and your first name. We’ll draw our winners today at 1 pm. And don’t worry if you don’t win today – you’ll get another shot at some more tickets next week.

Downtown, History, Special Events, We Love Arts

NatGeo Opens Up Da Vinci’s Mind

DSC_6845

If I say the name “Leonardo da Vinci,” what’s the first thing to pop into your mind? Most likely, thoughts of paintings such as the Mona Lisa or the Last Supper, or perhaps illustrations of his flying machine concepts. Maybe in some cases, the idea of a “Renaissance Man.” And you’d be right with all of those answers – but you’d also only be scratching the surface.

The National Geographic Museum’s latest exhibit, “Da Vinci-The Genius,” attempts to broaden that answer for you. This comprehensive traveling exhibition details the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci and will be on display from June 18 through September 12, 2010 and is made available by Grande Exhibitions, Fondazione Anthropos of Italy, and the French engineer Pascal Cotte.

“We have all heard of Leonardo da Vinci; most people think of him as the artist that painted the Mona Lisa, or maybe they heard he did flying machine drawings,” said National Geographic Museum Director Susan Norton. “But here, you can come to see full-sized models of what he designed in the 15th Century to address what he thought of as challenges, issues, and problems, and I think people will be fascinated when they come.”

She’s not wrong. Continue reading

Entertainment, Essential DC, Special Events, The Features, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live: May 2010

Adventures Among Ants, by Mark Moffett

©Mark Moffett, courtesy National Geographic

The 2010 National Geographic Live series continues in May with a mix of lectures, authors, and food. The National Geographic Museum is offering up another two pairs of tickets for WeLoveDC readers, unless otherwise noted. Simply comment below (PLEASE use a legit email address and your first name) with what two events – in preferred order – you’d like to attend. We’ll do a random drawing on Monday, May 3 at 2 pm and get the winners set up with their first (or second, if your first choice is full) selection. Keep in mind that tickets are for single events only; both food events are unfortunately not eligible for the free tickets.

In the Empire of Ice ($18)
May 4, 7:30 pm

For a National Geographic-supported expedition, writer Gretel Ehrlich circumnavigated the Arctic Circle to document the indigenous cultures inhabiting its starkly beautiful landscapes, as advancing climate change threatens traditional ways of life. In her new book, Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape, and in this presentation, she tells the story of her journey to explore the “ecology of culture.”

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Downtown, Entertainment, Special Events, The Features

National Geographic Live: April 2010

2501 Migrants: A Journey, courtesy of the filmmakers and National Geographic

The 2010 National Geographic Live series continues in April with a mix of music, movies, and food. The National Geographic Museum is offering up another two pairs of tickets for WeLoveDC readers, unless otherwise noted. Simply comment below (PLEASE use a legit email address and your first name) with what two events – in preferred order – you’d like to attend. We’ll do a random drawing on Wednesday, April 7 at 10 a.m. and get the winners set up with their first (or second, if your first choice is full) selection. Keep in mind that tickets are for single events only.

2501 Migrants: A Journey ($10)
April 7, 7 pm

This 2008 Mexican film documents Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago’s creative response to the impact of migration on rural Mexico. A discussion with the filmmaker, seven-time award-winning director Yolanda Cruz, will follow the film. Washington, D.C. premiere.

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The Daily Feed

Extended Final Hours for Terra Cotta Warriors

Photo courtesy of
‘Assembly Line’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

The National Geographic Museum has announced it will extend hours for the closing weeks of “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor” from March 19-31, making an additional 16,800 tickets available. These tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. on Friday.

The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. March 19 – 25, and from 9 a.m. – Midnight from March 26 – 31. The new exhibit “Sacred Waters: Photography by John Stanmeyer” will also be open during the extended hours in the M Street Gallery.

Tickets are available for purchase online, by phone at 202-857-7700, or in person at the box office. Anyone purchasing day-of tickets must do so at the box office or over the phone, as they will not be available online.

Don’t miss this excellent exhibit before it packs up and heads back to China!

Downtown, Entertainment, Essential DC, Special Events, We Love Arts

National Geographic Live: March 2010

America's Endangered Species, ©Joel Sartore; courtesy of the National Geographic Museum

The spring season of National Geographic Live – a series of dynamic lectures, concerts, films and more – continues this month, with more great offerings.

Thanks to the awesome response from last month, the National Geographic Museum is offering up two pairs of tickets to our readers for any of the following events. Simply comment below (PLEASE use a legit email address and your first name) with what two events – in preferred order – you’d like to attend. We’ll do a random drawing on Friday (March 12) at 10 a.m. and get the winners set up with their first (or second, if your first choice is full) selection. Keep in mind that tickets are for single events only.

Note that the photography exhibitions that open this month do not require tickets and are free for visitors to enjoy.

Okay, enough about rules. Check out the March offerings after the jump.

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