Friday, June 17, 2005

Shomei Tomatsu at the Corcoran

Went to the Corcoran today (it's free on Thursdays). Saw a number of interesting things - including a strangely creepy/fascinating video art project by some guy...I'll have to figure out his name - but really the most noteworthy was the Shomei Tomatsu exhibit called "Skin of the Nation." Everyone I was with agreed it was a fabulous show. Tomatsu was a young child at the time of the second World War, and grew up in occupied Japan. His photographs cover the consequences of the defeat, the American occupation, the prosperous 60's, and more. Of course it's much easier to say that than to actually describe the images themselves, which I won't undertake to do. Suffice for now to say that the exhibit was incredibly interesting, and I recommend that you check out Tomatsu's work if you ever get a chance.

Shomei Tomatsu - I think called "Looking for work"

Monday, June 13, 2005

M.I.A, will you marry me?

Just got back from the bitchin'est show at the 9:30 Club. Maya Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A, tore the house down. Not literally, of course, but seriously - almost. The crowd was totally into it, jumping around with arms waving, and M.I.A thrashed around the stage like a madwoman. Props to her and her singalong girl for a damn energetic set. "Bucky Done Gone" was amazing, as were others. I have videos to prove it.

The picture below sucks ass, but it's the best I could do with the lighting and whatnot being what it was. You'll notice that M.I.A, on the right, is standing on top of the speakers on the stage. Cool. Her backup singer is on the left, and the (cute) dude at the table was spinning the beats. Interesting set-up; the first time I've been to the 9:30 Club and seen something other than the traditional "band" arrangement.

Those of you unfamiliar with M.I.A should be ashamed of yourselves. And after you're finished being ashamed, go out and buy Arular.

MIA gettin' down

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Buh-bye, Brookings!

For those of you who didn't know it, I am a proud member of my office softball team, the AEI Nationalists. Today we whupped Brookings ass in a 6-2 game. Not, perhaps, as satisfactory as a win against our arch-rival Heritage, but still worthy of a tiny victory dance. {dance, dance} I wish I could say I made a meaningful contribution - or any contribution, for that matter - but my role was limited to one at-bat and a couple innings hanging out in the knee-high grass in left field. I scored a single but ended up out at third. I do manage to hit pretty well (consistent line-drives), but even I admit that usually the only reason I manage to get to first is because of the other team's incompetence. Yeah, we're not exactly MLB material, here. It's more about the beer. Oh, and I guess the camaraderie. Or whatever.

The victorious Nationalists

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A great weekend

Had a really wonderful weekend despite absurdly escalating temperatures. Saturday morning found me at Hillwood with my friend Jeffrey and others from MEETin. Formerly the estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post (and still owned privately by the family), Hillwood is made up of the main house, now a lovely museum of (mostly) Russian antiques, various outlying buildings with artistic displays, and gorgeous landscaped gardens. I guess Margie liked her flowers. The scent of roses in the air was almost enough to make one dizzy. The best part, though, I have to say, was my visit with the "Bug Lady" who had, among other things, a giant millipede, huge grasshoppers, silk moths, and enormous cockroaches. Thank goodness I didn't see any spiders in the collection, else I would have had to beat a hasty and doubtlessly ungraceful retreat from the entire neighborhood. As it was, well, you see the smile on my face.

AB and the freaky millipede from Africa

That night, despite running myself ragged trying to score tickets beforehand and ultimately collapsing in despair, some kind soul (thank you, Jada) offered me an extra ticket to the free Shakespeare performance at the Carter Barron ampitheater. They were putting on "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I'm not sure exactly what I expected - I just liked the idea of the words "free" and "Shakespeare" in the same sentence - but wow, what a great evening. It was amazingly funny and the costumes and sets were terrific for a show with only 10 performances. Best of all, the director had to play Puck - something I was aprehensive about (replace Puck with an amateur actor?), but I was delighted with his performance. Actually the experience was probably enhanced knowing that he was just thrown into the role at the last minute. I appreciated it more.

Sunday was the AEI annual picnic, and one of the hottest days of all time. Man, DC is getting too hot. Where did spring go? Oh, by the by I managed to worm my way onto the dessert-judging panel (mostly by telling Ruth I wanted to be on it), but the dessert I chose ended up coming in second. The chocophiles beat out the strawberry-rhubarb pie I liked with their silly votes for some brownie concoction (which was actually good, I admit, but still). I think chocolate-lovers are nuts. I mean, I like chocolate, but to let it rule your every decision in such a make-or-break fashion? It just seems far too controlling.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

May I introduce to you...AB