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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Finding balance amid the mess: Mind-Body Week in DC

Hey DC–does all this talk about upcoming elections, campaign promises, economies and enemies, corporate anonymity, hippy protests, political unrest, wall street to main street discourse have you feeling… tense? A bit out of sorts?  Like you can’t seem to keep your head on straight?

Well, here’s a chance to feel balanced and reconnect with what makes you happy and whole.  Its Mind-Body week! Experts from the science, medicine and healing fields are gathering together to provide scientific evidence on the connection between mind and body through panels, presentations, yoga and guided meditation.I’m a strong believer in the mind body connection and that you are internalizing your every thought and emotion and transforming it into a tangible reality–even without knowing it.  There’s a great lineup of speakers and this conference looks like a fantastic opportunity to bring together a community reflecting principles that are often ignoroed by Western medicine. Take a deep breath and cruise on over to one of the many scheduled events.  Visit the website to learn more.If you can’t make it to the conference but want to explore more about the mind and body and business connection and how it can lead you to success, watch this amazing talk by one of my favorites: Deepak Chopra (he even talks about wall street, too.)

Deepak Chopra in conversation with Lisa Napoli from Ted Habte-Gabr on Vimeo.

Remember to breathe and be good to yourself and those around you!  Bust out those divine attributes kittens 🙂

–Aimee

A Walk through Freedom Plaza and the emergence of Occupy DC

I’m sure by now, everyone has heard of the movement by the 99%.  I’m going save my sentiments on the subject for another time, but would like to present to you some images from a stroll on a Thursday afternoon through Freedom Plaza, adjacent to the White House.  These are the folks who have chosen to Occupy DC.

How do YOU feel about the protests?

That’s all for now cats and kittens

–Aimee

Andy has Landed: Warhol hits the Mall

Washington DC is preparing for the Warholian Rennaissance sweeping the National Mall. Two exhibitions opened Sunday at the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Gallery of Art, both along the National Mall.

The Hirshhorn, a circular building in its design, is the perfect host for Andy Warhol: Shadows. Andy’s 102 silk-screened, handed-painted piece collection of one single repetitive image. Its simply a shadow on the wall in his office. But its been transformed, tweaked, twisted, colored and screened 102 different ways. And it speaks volumes.The exhibit wraps around the circular structure like a film reel. A walk through Andy’s vision.  Its fantastic! And quite a unique glimpse of the artist’s work.The exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, however, is more familiar.  If the Hirshhorn’s exhibit, featuring work created in the last decade of Andy’s life, is high-brow, the exhibit at the National Gallery is good ol’ Warhol.  We see his affinity for pop-culture-trash-talking-tabloid-celebrity-gossip-goodness.  Its entitled Warhol: Headlines and encompasses the mainstreamy ad man art that made the Warhol legend. This exhibit is gossip-y and silly. Tabloidy and terrific. Sensational and satirical.It follows his obsession with news media. Particularly, it opens on his paintings done by projecting front page stories on the wall and diligently tracing over them.  Free-hand lettering, errors and all.  And then–you travel upstairs, taking the extraordinary journey of his progression into different techniques and evolved lettering. Truly epic newsstand masterpieces that stand the length of the room.I love seeing his soup can style, the pop art appeal, in something other than soup cans!My favorite part of the exhibit were the works featuring both Warhol’s headline designs, and Basquiat‘s hand-drawn profound simplicity.  My most beloved piece in the whole exhibit was this divine beauty:I pretty much just love it and could spend an evening and bottle of wine discussing it!  And, from now until next January you CAN get your Warhol fix on a whole assortment of lectures, concerts and screenings.  Check out the schedule here and see my hit list below: the not-to-miss-moments!So go check it out for yourself and we’ll see ya around!  Take a walk on the wild side.

That’s all for now hep-cats.

–Aimee

I saw the sign and it opened up a can of worms: NIMBY in Hollyweird

Today residents of Hollyweird will get to stand up and debate how best to deal with the thousands of tourists who flock to the neighborhood surrounding the infamous Hollywood sign, in search of the best vantage point.  A community hearing will be held at 4pm PDT in a municipal community room at 6501 Fountain Ave.Anyone who has ever done this before knows exactly where to find the best spot to take pictures in front of the Hollywood sign: the dog park at 3000 Canyon Lake Drive.  The dog park is a really cool spot to snap a few pictures and see some super cute dogs.  In fact, its the closest you can get by car.But, residents of the 87-year-old neighborhood surrounding the sign have been increasingly complaining about tourists, as the roads through the hills are narrow, winding and easily jammed.  And, with the advent of Google Maps and GPS, more and more people are finding their way into these small neighborhoods to take awesome yoga pictures in front of the sign (among other types of photos.)Some residents have even gone rogue and started posting their own signs which read, “Tourist Free Zone” or directing sight-seers out of the narrow neighborhoods with arrows.  There has been a dispute over designating this park as an official viewpoint for the sign, with city council member Tom Labonge leading the charge.  According to the LA Times, local residents are fearful that this project “will act as a huge magnet for even more tourists.”But what Hollywood tale would be complete without a little drama?  The home-owners associations are going at it.  While some condemn the use of the park as an official sight-seeing spot, others love the idea!  The Hollywoodland Home Owners Assn. cautions against the increased risk of wild fires and accidents due to increased tourism.  The Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Assn. released the following statement:

“Thanks to the office of Councilmember Tom LaBonge… the area is getting nicer and more open, which means that those who have found their own way into Hollywoodland and want to take a photo of the Hollywood sign don’t have to stand in the street.”

What do YOU think about the predicament?  Have you ever trekked up into the hills to see the sign?  Can residents really complain about tourism when they’re living underneath one of the most iconic images in America?  Let me know your thoughts and stay tuned!  The meeting is set to begin in approximately 2 hours.

That’s all for now cats and kittens,

–Aimee