Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Last night we took the kids to their very first concert. And what a concert it was: Aretha Franklin, one of my all-time favorites. The kids love her, too, and can't resist dancing around to her when I put a CD on at dinner time. When we realized she would be playing nearby, we couldn't pass it up.
The show was at Wolf Trap, which, as I've said, I love. To make it on time, we had to drive in rush-hour traffic — and in a storm, no less — so it took forever to get there. But once we did, we unpacked a lovely picnic dinner and seated ourselves on the lawn with a great view of the stage.
When Aretha came on, both kids stood and cheered. Thea sang along to her favorite song, "Natural Woman," and Liam danced and clapped his hands. Aretha, by the way, wore a floor-length ballgown and jacket and a huge wig. The air was hot and humid, and I think it really brought out the diva in her. She seemed cranky, criticizing the sound (which I thought was great, though I'm certainly not the expert she is) and complaining about the heat. The kids were so tired by intermission that we had to leave, but it was still totally worth it.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
|Photo by Eric Uhlir from DCist.com|
Someone remind me the next time I go to DAR to bring my own cup. From the experience E and I had when we went to the Pixies in December, I did remember to bring a flask, but drinking out of a cup would have been much classier.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I love Wolf Trap. Absolutely love seeing shows there. Parking is easy and not too far away, kids are welcome (though they do have to pay full price; ouch!), you can bring your own picnic dinner and wine to have on the nicely manicured lawn under the stars while great bands play, and the crowd is generally well-mannered. Best place to see a show during warm months.
Unfortunately, I fell asleep for part of Helm's set, so I missed the horn section stepping out in front and playing un-amped with only the pavilion's acoustics to carry the music to the lawn. It was apparently very cool. But something about the warm air and mellow vibe was so soothing I couldn't stay awake. That's not an entirely bad thing, coming from a chronic insomniac.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Mike is the web, video, multimedia person for the National Museum of African Art. He worked at a World Cup event last weekend, and shot video of the crowd. Here are the kids getting their faces painted (and me, briefly, cajoling an intern into painting Thea's tiger face).
Thea and Liam get their faces painted from Michael Briggs on Vimeo.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I LOVE the Heartless Bastards. They're one of my favorite bands, one that totally spoke to my 2009. When they played "Hold Your Head High," I found myself weeping just a tiny bit:
One of the bands that opened for them, The Builders and the Butchers, was also great. They had an unusual, jangly, mountain-y, folky sound, and a diverse group of instruments. Their violinist came on stage with the Heartless B's (as we call them around the kids) for a few songs, and it was the highlight of the night.
That said, I'm not crazy about the Ottobar. I don't know if it was an off night or just my mood, or my cantankerous nature, but here are my tweets from last night, which pretty much sum up my feelings:
At the Ottobar to see Heartless Bastards. Jesus, what a dive.
11:36 PM Jul 13th via txt
I mean "dive" pejoratively, not affectionately. Ottobar sucks. There, I said it, and I'm not taking it back.
11:49 PM Jul 13th via txt
Gah, can you get bedbugs from a bar?
12:30 AM Jul 14th via txt
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Friday, July 02, 2010
Thursday, July 01, 2010
Mike and I went to see artist Chuck Close speak at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. It was a fantastic experience. Though I'm not generally a fan of photorealist art (I admire it, of course, but it seems a bit soulless to me), Chuck Close's work is truly amazing. For one thing, it's photorealistic from a distance, but up close you can see that he constructs a lot of his paintings with dots or finger prints. Additionally, the canvases are huge, sometimes taking up entire walls in galleries, so the scale alone is impressive. They're really stunning.
Another amazing thing about him that I didn't know until I saw him speak: he has face blindness, which means he's unable to recognize faces. This is especially mind-blowing when you think about how all of his paintings are of faces. He's also dyslexic, and talked about how important arts education was to him in his early years. He credits art with enabling him to get through middle school and eventually graduate with an MFA from Yale, because he was sometimes able to construct intricate dioramas instead of having to turn in a paper. If not for art classes, he believes he would have been labeled "retarded" and his life would have taken a much different trajectory.
After the talk, Chuck Close and his biographer signed copies of their book. Here the biographer talks with Mike about how he came to be known as Floogee. (Sorry for the quality and orientation. I thought it was still charming enough to post.)