Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Shear Madness I Tell You!

Its Madness! Shear Madness!

It's Madness! Shear Madness!

After 9,000 performances at the Kennedy Center, along with a ton of shows elsewhere, I must have been the only guy in the world who had not seen Shear Madness yet… until Saturday. It is an audience driven Barbershop murder mystery that touches on current events and pop culture to produce a hilarious, interactive exhibition. The actors have an amazing ability to separate their feelings from their characters, which creates an atmosphere friendly to back and forth jabs between those on-stage and in the crowd.

If you haven’t seen it yet, join the 8 million who have experienced Shear Madness. You will not regret the decision. Shows are Tuesday-Friday at 8pm, Saturdays at 6pm and 9pm, and Sundays at 3pm and 7pm. Tickets are $40 and you can order them online.

TONIGHT: Bringing the Sea to Life

Image courtesy Zandra Rhodes

Image courtesy Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes, a British fashion designer, presents “Designing an Ocean-Themed Opera: The Pearl Fisheries” tonight in the Baird Auditorium of the Museum of Natural History at 6:45 pm. This free illustrated lecture will delve into her inspiration for the production of Georges Bizet’s exotic opera. She will talk about the sets and costumes as well as the challenges of bringing the sea to stage.

A book signing will follow the lecture. Copies of “Zandra Rhodes and the Art of Textiles” will be available for purchase in the museum book store.

6:45 p.m. – lecture
7:45 p.m. – book-signing

Free and open to the public.

National Museum of Natural History
Baird Auditorium, ground level
10th and Constitution, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Get your creative juices flowing on Saturday at the 2008 Arts on Foot

On any given day, if you’re craving a little art and culture, there is always an exhibit or performance or demonstration to quench your appetite.

Well this Saturday, plan to venture to Penn Quarter for an extravaganza of art and crafts and performances.  Bombard your senses with 2008 Arts on Foot, a one-day visual and performing arts festival that kicks off the DC fall season.

In addition to the outdoor festival on F street between 6th and 9th Streets, the following venues will also feature activities, exhibits and performances:

Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery: The museums will host booths at the street festival that offer hands-on activities for children.

National Theatre: Come to the inaugural performance of Saturday Morning at the National. Carrie’s Dream is a true story of an African-American girl growing up in the rural south. This interactive show features sing-alongs and reflects the humor and struggles of a family coping with life in a segregated society. Performances are at 9:30 and 11:00 am. Though free, tickets are required and will be distributed 30 minutes before the show on a first come, first served basis. The Helen Hayes Gallery at the National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

Warner Theatre and Woolley Mammoth Theatre: Take a back stage tour of the theaters. See the Arts on Foot events schedule.

Old Post Office Pavilion: Enjoy live performances by the Levi Stephens Band (alternative soul), Phaze II (smooth jazz), Uncharted Waters (smooth jazz funk), and Kirk Lamkin & Pulse Level (smooth jazz). Performances take place on the Pavilion Stage and are free to the public.

Canadian Embassy: Picture enthusiasts will enjoy a collection of 330 images entitled – 50 Years of American Photojournalism. The photos capture moments from the civil-rights movement, the various wars from 1939 – 1989, and famous people.

Landmark E Street: The DC Shorts Film Festival presents free family films with genres ranging from animation to sci-fi to comedy to experimental. Free tickets will be distributed at the DC Shorts booth at 10:00 am on a first come, first served basis.

National Gallery of Art: At 12:30 pm, catch “O Dia do Desespero (Day of Despair),” a documentary style film about the final hours of Camilio Castelo Branco’s life. The movie speculates on the creative process of the 19th-century Portuguese writer.  Then at 3:00 pm watch “The Last Conquistador ” which follows the  controversy over sculptor John Sherrill Houser’s most important commission, the world’s largest equestrian bronze of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate. Filmmaker John Valadez will be present to lead a discussion after his film.

National Museum of Women in the Arts: Visit the NMWA booth on 8th and F Streets to create your own unique artist’s accordion book.  All materials provided for you to create a masterpiece.

In addition to all the arts activities, don’t miss the wine tastings and culinary demonstrations. A fun-filled day for all ages!

Mysterious Crystal Skull Revealed

Crystal SkullIn 1992, a mysterious package was delivered to the National Museum of Natural History containing an unsigned letter and an enormous, milky crystal skull.

On display for the first time, the 31 pound Smithsonian skull dwarfs the crystal skulls on view at the British Museum in London and the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris.

Is this one of the legendary 13 Aztec skulls? Does a mystical healing energy emanate from this crystal object? Does it come from Atlantis?

Smithsonian anthropologist Jane McLaren Walsh thinks not. She began her investigation soon after the milky quartz skull arrived at the Smithsonian. She identified modern stone-carving tool marks and determined that the skull couldn’t have been carved before the mid-19th century. Instead, she believes the skull was manufactured in Mexico around 1960.

Is this really a story of New Age hype? Or could there be some truth to the skull’s mystique?

The crystal skull is on display in the ground level of the Natural History Museum through September 1st. The museum is open until 7:30 pm daily thru the Labor Day weekend. Why not head over there after work and check it out for yourself.

Smithsonian on Flickr

Smithsonian Birthday on the Mall 1996 The Smithsonian has joined The Commons on Flickr, which started as a pilot between the Library of Congress and Flickr to increase access to publicly-held photo collections and allow the public to contribute knowledge and information (such as tags) to those collections.

The Smithsonian’s photostream contains some fantastic gems, including portraits of scientists, cyanotypes cataloging the Smithsonian’s other collections, and cool photos from past Folklife festivals.

Go look, add some tags, but be careful- much like the LOC collections, you can find yourself losing hours poking around at this stuff.

George Carlin awarded Mark Twain Prize

Speaking of the Kennedy Center, it has announced that this year’s Mark Twain Prize will be awarded to George Carlin. A worthy recipient indeed, as Carlin is one of the defining luminaries of stand-up comedy, and American comedy in general.

But I can’t help but note the irony of the Kennedy Center awarding its prestigious comedy award to an artist best known for his bit on the “Seven Dirty Words” you can’t say on television, when they wouldn’t allow Lewis Black to associate the Center in any way with his “Red, White, and Screwed” special because he says the word “fuck” too much.

In any case, congratulations to George Carlin for this much-deserved honor, and thanks to the Kennedy Center for giving Lewis Black more comedic fodder.

Carpeted Motorcycle Makes Local Man Curious

Carpeted Motorcycle

I saw this motorcycle parked behind the National Gallery of Art on Sunday. Does anyone know whose it is? Without evidence to the contrary, I would have to guess that George Clinton picked up a job there.

Who would do such a thing to a motorcycle? Even though I think it was ass ugly, I have to admit that it had a certain flair and filled me with admiration for the person who apparently thinks it looks good. It was certainly good handiwork if nothing else.

Get out your paint


Photo courtesy of MeDave Kellett of the online comic SHELDON has pointed out that DC’s conformance to its inspiration is incomplete. I see no choice for us but to go out and make it all fabulous.

Delegate Norton Six Kinds of Pissed at Union Station

ehn.png There’s a lot of people you don’t want to make angry. Anyone who has Guido & Nails on their staff, Jose Canseco, Bill Clinton, The Ghost of LBJ, Bruce Banner, and now, please add to the list Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who went postal all over LaSalle, who manage Union Station and have tried to declare the building as private property to enforce some peculiar security rules. This quote is via Joel Lawson and Lightbox DC:

“I’m astounded that Union Station would be declared private property, when we [Congress] issued the lease…” “…We’re going to have hearings,” Norton warned, “because it’s going to be us, the Congress, or it’s going to be the courts. Somebody is going to sue, straight out, and I can tell you that the Supreme Court precedents are as clear as water on this.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Delegate Norton for getting up yesterday with a whole sack of angry that needed to be unleashed.

the year’s biggest art show, and more

I’ve been meaning to write about my Artomatic experience for a few days now. I biked over there this past weekend, not sure how long I’d stay but hoping I’d find it as laid back and welcoming as I did a couple of years ago, the last time I went.

I wasn’t disappointed. What I love the most about Artomatic, which no one else has mentioned, is that it’s a big public space where hanging out is totally ok. Unlike a gallery or a mall, no one owns it or is territorially hoping to make money off of you. And unlike one of our Grand National Museums, you can just be there, without feeling like people are looking at you askance for not moving along.

So my friends and I engaged in some quality hanging out—we meandered about, asked strangers random questions, burst into impromtu dance sequences. Whatever.

The art? Right, the art. It was also pretty great. I remember a lot of it seeming pretty awful last time, but this time I was quite impressed. A couple of the ceramic exhibits on the 10th floor (I think) genuinely looked like they could’ve been in some chichi gallery somewhere.

The On the Fly guy was parked out front—the actual guy I met last week and blogged about—in case folks get hungry. Oh, and be prepared to run into lots of people you know. Including neighbors and ex-boyfriends. Just so you’re ready.

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