5×5: DC art scene comes alive this Cherry Blossom season

Last night was the launch of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ new temporary public art project called 5×5.  Anacostia is the home to one of 25 art installations being put up around the city in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which also began yesterday.

Still a work in progress but set to debut for the upcoming 5×5 festivities, the 4th floor of this otherwise empty Anacostia warehouse has been transformed into ramshackle romanticism by the Monica Canilao and her crew who have traveled the country gathering recycled materials and breathing new life into them to create the installation Home Mender.

The installation is a unique and compelling shanty town of reclaimed pieces of wood, bottles, fabrics and clocks melds together to create a surreal experience.

Pieces pulled from nearby abandoned building weave together an Alice in Wonderland meets cabin-in-the-woods simplicity, where each piece — from a broken clarinet hanging like a wind chime, to rusting metal buckets — tells a punk rock story.

This wild, wooden dream world is part of the larger project called Betwixt and Between, “referring to the artists breathing new life into the ordinary, reinvigorating the fabric of the urban environment” and is curated by SF based artist Justine Topfer.  Justine is working with 5 artists and art collectives from around the world to transform the SW and SE parts of the city with public art projects.

Want to check it out for yourself?  There are a several parties going down in this space from April 14th through the 21st.  In fact, it just so happens that this year’s Cherry Blast music and art party is happening here!

Be sure to follow updates at Art Around which compiles a pretty comprehensive list of the art projects around our fair District. And remember to buy your Cherry Blast tickets as soon as they go on sale, since this annual blossom usually sells out in advance.

See you there cats and kittens!

-Aimee

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8th Annual DC Dance Festival: Break Dance Battleground and Doug E. Fresh

On the weekend of July 22 – 24 the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities held its 8th Annual DC Dance Festival.  Yesterday on Sunday, July 24th the festival culminated in a break dance battle and performances in front of the National Portrait Gallery on F street in between 7th and 9th. Hip hop legend Doug E. Fresh also performed and had the crowd bumpin’ as a warm but lovely breeze swept through the streets, sufficiently keeping the swamp a city. Doug E. Fresh is the self-proclaimed Original Beat Box and its true that the sounds he makes sound like they’re coming from a machine. He rocks.There were some pretty sweet graffiti artists along 9th street that were happily working away for the curious onlookers.The festival included movie screenings and performances all weekend but the block party finale brought out the dancers, the divas, the urban chic and hip hop hotties. Even Superman made an appearance.The event was a blast and the perfect place to people watch. Or else… be the people being watched. (Anyway its not my fault music makes me want to jump for joy.) That’s all for now G’s.

–Aimee

Truckeroo Roundup: Some Play-With-Your-Food Fun!

Last Friday over 1,000 of the culinary curious gathered at Half Street and M Street SE, in a parking lot adjacent to Nationals Stadium for DC’s fun food truck festival Truckeroo.Admission was free and you could get a wristband at the door for the cash bar stocked with your standard bud/miller lite fair and some surprisingly yummy margaritas.Once inside, it was a food truck free-for-all.  Lines spanned the entire length of the lot for the typical foodie rockstars of the DC truck world: Takoren, Fojol Brothers, and Red Hook Lobster Truck.

I split the Goat Cheese Mac from CapMac which was incredibly delicious (and more than enough to share.) And then got amazing fish tacos from Surfside with red beans and rice.  The band was playing covers of everything from Katy Perry to Sublime and there was a massive corner of the lot designated for bean bag tossing fun.  The bad news was, most trucks sold completely out before the end of the event.  The good news was, most trucks sold completely out! The event was a success.And the award for the cutest dog at Truckeroo goes to…Hope you’ll join next month on Friday, August 12th for another awesome night!

That’s all for now cats and kittens.

–Aimee

Campus Party in Mexico City: Woodstock for Geeks

I’ve always idealized the swingin’ 60s and the happy hippie generation’s ability to point to one pinnacle moment in time as having helped define it.  My generation is far more instantaneously muddled, tweeted, texted and vexed. 

We live in a cut-copy-paste world, having grown up as the internet itself was growing up, where everything is just another version of something before it.  Hell…. we couldn’t even get our own 1999 Woodstock right.  (Wrong line up anyway.)But today, I was surprisingly delighted at the shape our generation is taking.  If there IS one thing we can claim as our own, its exactly the monster we’ve created and rely on endlessly: the internet.  Today I got to see us in action, as thousands of tech geeks gathered for a conference on everything from gaming to blogging to the future of copyright laws and cyber space. Campus Party in Mexico City.The best part of this conference?  4,000 tents line the Bancomer Expo Center in Mexico City and the loveable techy nerds camp out for the week. A true tech-fest in action!  The Expo Center is open 24 hours a day for the event and these internet fiends work, play, eat and sleep as they please.  All dialed into the internet 24/7 at long tables. Thousands of them.  I heard from one of the organizers that the peak upload time for these cats is around 3am.  Here’s a short little video I threw together on the flip cam to show you how many people were there to listen to the impressive and phenomenal speakers on the various stages and panels:

So, in short, our generation is defining the future of the human race. Through Twitter and LOL Cats.  And stuff….

Namaste from Mexico City kitties

–Aimee

Scoring tickets to Virgin Mobile Freefest is Fierce: I get by with a lil help from my friends

If you’re anything like me, the combination of the words “free” and “music” is like, well, free music to your ears.  And as it turns out, most people ARE like me because there was the electronic equivalent of a super market raid before a storm at the Virgin Mobile Live facebook fanpage today.

Virgin Mobile (yes part of the Virgin empire created by super dashing business mogul Richard Branson) throws a music festival at Merriweather, the shabby chic shed venue in Columbia, MD. The line-up this year is fantastic and Merriweather is, so far, my favorite venue on the East Coast.However, FreeFest isn’t shaping up to be free for all.  Grrrr. There were some seriously frustrated folks this morning. Starting at 10 AM you could register for free tickets if you ‘liked’ their fanpage on facebook and then clicked a link and kept refreshing like a maniac for the next 10 minutes. Because I think by 10:09 AM all the free tickets were gone.  I was one of the unfortunate folks who kept receiving an error page instead of the proper link to get my tickets. BLAST! 

photos courtesy of Flora

In my musical manic panic I was gchatting with my friends who are festival gurus and somehow they got extra tickets and somehow… somehow… with a lil help from my friends… I scored tickets in the end! They got extra through presale and it was just a happy end to the story, after all. Hooraaaaaaaaaay!

So this post is a heartfelt thank you to my lovely friends and a musical shout out to everyone!  If you still want to go to Freefest there are still tickets available, for a price! In their own words, they aren’t sold out they’re freed out.

That is all for now.

-Aimee

For Food Truck foodies, all the Road’s a Restaurant!

Growing up in LA, the taco truck was an ever-present staple for city livin’. 

But who knew that the food truck industry would become such a fast-growing, popular alternative to the traditional eatery? In cities across America, food trucks park out in front of office buildings and line the streets with their innovative, diverse and delectable lunchtime offerings.

Tomorrow, the people of DC are in for a real treat!  (Or several treats, depending on how much cash you bring.)  Friday, July 15th is DC’s monthly food truck event Truckeroo, a festival of bites, bands and the District’s best food trucks.  This free festival takes place at the corner of Half Street and M Street, SE near Nationals stadium and is sure to be a big hit.   If you can’t make it to Truckeroo tomorrow, DC cats can always follow their favorite trucks on Twitter, for real-time updates on their location, or track them online at Food Truck Fiesta.

But just to recap, the optimal words here are: music, food, festival and FREE!  Party goes ’til 11 PM. So see you tomorrow!

Namaste for now!

–Aimee

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Outdoor Cinema Edition

Happy Monday morning folks!  Lest you think ALL Mondays royally suck, lets focus on some upcoming super Monday fun: Screen on the Green, an outdoor movie screening tradition on the National Mall from July 25th – August 15th.

And Monday, August 8th happens to be one of my favorite movies of ALL time, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the 1953 musical comedy with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.  But mainly, Marilyn Monroe
Did you know that the studio didn’t even want Marilyn for this role, but the absolutely annoying Betty Grable?  And once Marilyn was cast she was paid much less than her costar, Jane Russell, despite the–um–title and entire point of the film.

I’m pretty sure that must have pissed her off.  In fact, when told she was not the star of the film, Marilyn Monroe was quoted as saying, “Well whatever I am, I’m still the blonde.”

In the end though, Marilyn is the queen of all sexy, cinema goddesses and the film has everything I’ve ever wanted in a good story: glamorous ladies, music and fantastic costumes.

Bring a blanket and some snacks and come join me on Monday, August 8th on the  National Mall for Screen on the Green.  Let us gaze intently upon Marilyn on the big screen, the only appropriate place for such beauty, and let’s hear it for the naughty girls who finish first.

That’s all cats and kittens.

Aimee