Why you should be coming to DC’s SW Waterfront, like, now.

this post is dedicated to Ashley and Flora ❤As a young professional transplanting to DC, I was overwhelmed with all the little nooks and crannies that took on their own characteristic neighborhood vibe.  Columbia Heights tasted like a $2 can of Pabst and pupusas. Georgetown smelled like brunch and breeze, with expensive perfume wafting in the air. And the Hill was strong coffee and late whiskey nights, for sure.

But as a California girl with a particular fondness for seeing the ocean every day, I needed a place with access to water and an undone attitude that belied the career driven ambition of the District.  Enter: the SW Waterfront. DC’s smallest quadrant. Now don’t get me wrong, the Waterfront is notorious for being somewhat… vacant.  But it makes up for what it lacks in general diversity, with its anonymity.  In a city where you can and will run into everyone from exes to employers on a jumbling and boisterous Friday night metro ride, its a fantastic thing to feel incognito. Under the radar, as you stroll along the Riverwalk, past the hauntingly serene Titanic Memorial.Or come down to Nationals stadium (technically SE but by a stones throw) and watch the hometown heroes of no one’s home town–The Nationals–play some good old fashioned baseball. I always try to go to the games they play against the Dodgers so I can see my boys in blue and annoy the Washington fans.After the game you can always swing by the new restaurant Station 4 if you’re feeling like something a bit more upscale after sitting in the bleachers all day.  I must admit, despite their close proximity to the SW Waterfront metro stop, I have never actually eaten here.  But they do have Peroni in this beautiful, curvaceous Italian-sex-kitten tap.Last summer we saw Thievery Corporation perform at the pop-up tennis court Kastles Stadium at The Wharf. It was an amazing show and its always nice to hear live music by water.

The late, great Chuck Brown came out and joined them for a song. I’m so happy I got to see this DC legend in-person before he passed. Mad love to you, man.But the real star of SW is, of course, the rowdy and rockin’ Cantina Marina.  For us So Cal types, it feels a bit like the grungy beachy vibe of VeniceThe palm trees may be plastic and the view may be of the Anacostia River, but my goodness!  With a drink in your hand and Bob Marley or the Chili Peppers blaring over the flirtatious chatter of the patrons, you might as well be anywhere you want to be.  So maybe the water is always  bluer just over the horizon. But for now DC’s sunny evenings and impending summer days have me heading to the SW Waterfront.

See you there cats and kittens!

-Aimee

Advertisements

Blind love for SONG 1: Mixed media outdoor exhibition at the Hirshhorn museum

hirshhorn3For nearly two months the Hirshhorn museum, with its circular shape and unique design, has served as the canvas for an experiential artistic exhibition.  California born and based artist Doug Aitken has transformed the iconic building into a living, 360-degree film reel, projecting his original short film SONG 1 on the entirety of the building every night until May 20th.  The short is set to the tune of the hypnotic “I Only Have Eyes for You” which bellows on repeat from speakers surrounding the museum out onto the National Mall and through the busy streets.

For maximum reading experience click here and continue:

Beginning at sunset and concluding at midnight, the artist’s vision of “liquid architecture” blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.  He fashions a multimedia outdoor experience that makes the audience feel like they are both watching and a part of the exhibition.

hirshhorn2The song which provides the soundtrack for the exhibition, originally written in 1934 but best remembered for the 1959 recording by The Flamingos, opens with a proclamation of blind love. The kind of jaw-dropping, heart-wrenching tunnel vision that leaves you dangerously enamored and unaware of everything else. The kind of love blindness that would get you run over by a car if you weren’t careful.
2012-04-05_21-22-16_286The characters in the film, who each seem alone in the midst of the same intensely personal journey, traverse the rounded exterior walls of the Hirshhorn in varying ways so that the film cannot be viewed entirely from one vantage point. The singers helplessly pose questions into the night, unsure about their own surroundings, unable to make the simplest conclusions about reality.  In the fog of passion.  Sitting in the sculpture garden, staring up into the projection–or walking around the building for a new perspective, the singers beg us to answer, “Are the stars out tonight?”  We can’t help but look up into the real darkened sky hovering above our heads. They are. And Venus is low. We go off into a tangent conversation about her as we gaze upward, still humming the song to ourselves.

2012-04-05_21-24-56_20In that song I’ve heard a million times but will never hear the same way again, a dizzily delirious lover laments that he’s unsure if he’s in a garden or a crowded avenue.  And as the characters in the film swirl in and out of different urban scenes, the audience too feels the confusion.  At times they are standing in parking lots upon which the actual trees around the Hirshhorn cast perfect shadows, seamlessly bending reality into art. At other times, blaring sirens screech down Independence Avenue disrupting the focus and yet, somehow mimicking the disorienting effects of this blind love by breaking down and building up the substance and content of the piece, itself.

hirshhorn1Like real blind love, the exhibition swirls around its viewer in vibrant colors and perfect harmonies, familiar images cloaked in compellingly provocative newness.  Even loneliness. Its unsteady and surreal.  Sounds from the city seamlessly harmonize with the sobering but sweet vocals.  Crowds may go by, but the art carries on. The images are evolving, twisting, turning, pulling at your heart in a landscape, cinematic spell.

The installation is entering its final week so be sure to swing by the Hisrhhorn so you don’t miss this amazing experience. With its music, imagery and incredibly powerful moments, its never the same thing twice.  A visual and emotional spectacle as delirious, exciting and confusing as love. A kind of blind love.

But who doesn’t appreciate a well-timed “shoo-bop-shoo-bop.”

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

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