It certainly has taken me a long while to post all of the treasures I found during my late June travels to Washington D.C. There are a couple more post to come out of that trip. I felt that this one photo I snapped looking onto The Mall from a window atop The Hirshhorn toward The National Gallery was appropriate today. It seems someone had the foresight and the sense of humor to place this tent exactly where it is. If I had just taken this from a slightly different angle you would see it’s smack in front of the Capital building.
After our enjoyable visit at the National Gallery it was time for our appointment at The African American History Museum.
Definately an amazing museum and wonderful addition to the Smithsonian, this museum is worth the visit. Still being the new kid on The Mall it was packed and tickets hard to come by. We enjoyed it immensely, but we will make a point to come back at a later date when it isn’t so crowded and can be enjoyed as a Museum of its caliber should be. I know they have a lot of people waiting to get in and that tickets are limited in number, but I think they could do better limiting the number of tickets issued to an even smaller number.
The Contemplative Court Waterfall Fountain was worth the trip itself alone. Overwhelming. Fearsome had some tears to catch as I began to sob. Cleansing.
Jackie Robinson is truly an inspirational man of honor. Integrating baseball was not an easy task. Jackies strength was in his own personal restraint and self discipline. Fearsome highly recommends the movie about Jackie’s life. The movie is simply “42”. Jackie is one of Fearsome’s heroes.
After our time at the Hirshhorn we crossed The Mall to check out have some lunch over at The National Gallery of Art. After sharing a wonderful lunch in the Garden Cafe we discovered their current exhibit Frederic Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism.
Federic Brazil was an early impressionist who came of age with Renoir, Monet, Manet, Cezzane and likes. They were a close group and there are many paintings where they painted the same subjects and each other.
This last painting above is a Bazille that includes many of his impressionist friends in his studio, Bazille is the tallest standing beside the easel. Bazille’s parents always kept him in a studio in Paris and his young impressionist friends, including Renoir & Monet, often stayed and even lived with him in his various Paris studios. Note the painting on the upper left above the man on the stairs as it is the painting of the male nude featured above.
Bazille joined the Army at 29 years of age and left his young impressionist friends behind to only be tragically killed on his first assignment. He never gained the refinement nor fame that his contemporaries did due to his unfortunate untimely death.
Rumors do swirl around why he left and joined a faction of the army to fight on the front lines. Was he in love with one of his contemporaries that couldn’t be fulfilled? Did he need to get away? Was it almost an act of suicide? Or was he just looking for male companionship in the trenches? Rumors that will never be confirmed.
Homosexuality was quite frowned upon at the time and the place where he and his friends lived and bromanced. His counterparts went on to marry, he ran away. He housed and supported them and maybe it was only friendship. We will never know. We do know that the loss of his life at such a young age deprived the impressionist movement of a budding young talent who had hardly began his journey.
Fearsome, The Better Half and I are all three galavanting about on holiday. Our first stop was in our nation’s capital. We took the opportunity to focus on the beauty and inspiration that is available in D.C.
First up was the Hirshhorn and what a treat to find part of Ai WeiWei’s @Large which he designed for and exhibit at Alcatraz.
This part of his Alcatraz exhibit is entitled Trace. It extends for one full circle of the Hirshhorn’s second floor. Stunning.
Ai WeiWei himself is also an imprisoned freedom activist who isn’t allowed to leave his own country of China. The entire Alcatraz exhibit was created by him for the prison space with the help of many other artist who could aid in its design, creation, set up, delivery and installation. Ai WeiWei never was able to visit his own work in the space for which it was designed. The Twitter bird represents his own ability to speak freely beyond his confines while being detained and monitored continuously.
Performing in Washington DC’s Union Station our very own USAF Band gives a holiday tribute to WWII vets commemorating the 70th anniversary year of the end of the war.
Yes there is bad in the world. I believe as long as humanity moves on to create more good than bad we are doing just fine. Holy Moses this is good. Treat yourself.
(tipped by Joe Jervis over at Joe.My.God) ….and Thank You USAF Band for creating good!
Twenty five years ago today I was on vacation in Key West. I was there with my roommate Scott and a good friend named Bobby. We were staying at Alexander’s Guest House on Fleming Street. I was in room number 2, a wonderful room on the front of the 1880s Victorian house that was Alexander’s.
That week we spent our days lounging in the sun, recovering from the night before, roaming the quaint streets, eating and shopping. At night we were always out on the town in and out of the numerous bars of Duval street. Every night ending up at The Copa, a converted 1920’s Art Deco movie palace that was now (1990) one of the hottest discos in the states.
At that time in my life I frequented Key West. All through the late 1980’s I made the trek to Key West about 4 times per year. So much so the doorman at The Copa asked me if I had a place there. The Copa was a special place for me. In my world I made it the disco that I had fantasized about in the late 1970’s that I was too young to experience. As the seasons changed The Copa did as well. There was always a new theme, new dance hit premiers, guest DJs, guest performers, as well as never ending loops of porn at the balcony bar. Yes the movie palace had a balcony which was now a place to catch a moment away and watch the dance floor below.
Yes I was Lola from Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana”. Twenty five years ago tonight I did not know that Rico was about to enter my life. The difference between Lola and I is that my Rico wasn’t killed, and I’m not still on that barstool with faded feathers in my hair and unfortunately The Copa burned to the ground a few years later.
On that Saturday Night 25 years ago, with my traveling companions Scott & Bobby in tow, we made our way into The Copa probably around our usual 11:30 pm as the crescendo was building. Somewhere after midnight with the energy building the whole place went black and silent. Unusual for this club. Suddenly, with the first thump of a song, cobalt blue pin spotlights hit dancers on the boxes, bars and old stage. This unfamiliar tune that was pumping through the speakers into our bones was entrancing. The dancers started to move, but they were posing not actually dancing. Then the video hit the big screen, yes it may have had a dance floor but it was a movie theatre before and the big screen was still there. It was the premier of Madonna’s Vogue. The freaking place exploded.
We danced the night away, drank more than our fair share and each found a gentleman to take back to our rooms to “keep us warm”. After all the next day was Sunday, we were in Key West on vacation, we were in our twenties, gay, single and we didn’t have to do anything until time for Tea Dance the next afternoon.
Sunday came. I can’t tell you much about the day other than I’m sure we shared our stories from the night before and raved about the experience of Madonna’s Vogue premier. Sunday afternoon we made our way to La Te Da ( La Terazza De Marti’) for afternoon Tea Dance, a Key West must. From there we would go to Tea By The Sea at Atlantic Shores and onto Duval Street and The Copa for yet another night of three single guys on vacation debauchery. Little did I know my world was about to change.
I drifted away from Scott and Bobby at Tea Dance. I wanted quiet to think. I made my way to the top of La Te Da. A widows walk about four stories up. A small observation deck where you could watch the dance floor below. I chose to look out the other side, over Key West Victorian rooftops to the Sea. I became calm. I made a decision. I decided that I didn’t need another man, a relationship to make me whole. I let go of the pain from the break up six months before. I made peace. I decided that my own happiness and security was up to me, not someone else. I felt calm.
At that very moment that I made peace within me I heard a voice from beside me say hello. I had no way of knowing that the face I was about to look into was my soul mates face. I had no way of knowing that when I turned to respond that I would soon be moving 3000 miles to live with that man. I had no way of knowing that I would fall in love with him, I just turned said hello and a conversation started.
Today that man is my better half, my legal husband. Legal husband? In 1990 that was not even a fantasy. We have a home, six dogs, a wonderful family on both sides that loves us and supports us. We have careers, retirement plans, investment properties and most of all we love each other, care for each other, support each other and we laugh… A lot.
Happy Anniversary babe! I’m so glad you said hello.
What a wonderful trip.
We averaged about 7 miles of walking each day, not bad for a bum knee! We saw some amazing art, monuments, quotes, sights, views, places and homes. We ate great food. We absorbed history. We read, walked, observed, absorbed, learned and appreciated. We rooted for a baseball team in their new stadium that ain’t the Padres. We enjoyed friends. We laughed with strangers and shared smiles with security guards.
Washington DC is a melting pot of culture. A place of many people, many backgrounds all converge in a city of the world like no other. A place where people respect, demonstrate, speak out, listen, debate, agree, disagree, learn and grow. It has politics, government, art, history, beauty, grime, love, crime, heroes and villains. Most of all Washinton DC is a place for all people.
We arrived home last night tired, full, happy and grateful. Our six darling pups greeted us with love, love and more love. Our wonderful bed swallowed our tired bodies into its comfortable soul and we slept.
It takes a lot to run a country. A lot.
Washington DC is an amazing place. Fifty states, numerous territories, 300 plus million people all rely on a cohesive central government that then has to maintain some sort of relation with all the other countries and people who inhabit this planet. It’s a government that is in constant transition and evolution. House representatives can change every two years, the Senate every six, justices until they retire and presidents every four. Each member has numerous staff and each administration thousands. All of these people working for those elected are only here for the terms of their official. They don’t get hired out of college to stay until retirement. Think about that one. Change, it’s how our founding fathers designed it.
Yesterday I saw this quote in the Jefferson memorial, inspirational it is:
Checks and balances can be frustrating and slow yet they help us evolve. Progress is not always a straight line to the best result but with debate and work we can get there. A couple of days ago I was reading about an election in a city near my own where a winner was finally declared. The winner won by two votes. Two. Every one of us has a vote, everyone of our votes counts.
The people of this city live with change, are taxed without representation, work hard long hours and serve a nation and a planet. I am thankful for the people of this city. I am thankful to those who transition through to make our government work as well as thankful to those who make this city their permanent home to support our ever evolving heart. The heart, the soul of our progressing, not perfect but progressing, civilization.
Fearsome himself and a special blogger bud are beards of the day as Fearsome is in our nations capital on holiday.
A reality as long as we keep moving forward.
We are all the same. We deserve equality. We should respect and celebrate each other.
Peace and goodwill to all.