From Farm to Table

When searching for an area’s freshest, local produce, farmers’ markets are likely the first places that come to mind. And why not? A congregation of local and regional farmers who harvest their produce at dawn, load it up in a pick-up, drive into town, and set up shop in a vacant parking lot or community space, creating a makeshift open-air market. Sounds just about perfect. And they are. Farmers’ markets have had a large hand in bringing around the local, organic revolution, and allow farmers to put more of their hard-earned living directly into their pockets by cutting out the costs of third-party distributors — a necessary, but often short-shrifting result of the modern, industrial-scale food industry. By the same token, there is comfort and exhilaration in a customer being able to shake the very hand that plucked their food from the ground earlier that morning. There is a sense of ownership that comes with fresh produce, a shared intimacy in knowing that your food has been cared for from seedling to the harvest. The experience of eating a fresh beefsteak tomato becomes more than the entitled consumption, but a considerable gift, a sensory delight in the richness of your bounty. However, living in a city as bustling and frenetic as D.C. often creates elephantine obstacles of mere daily routines. Farmer’s markets often come around at odd times of day, and weekends can find many of us booked full with the chores and leisure unafforded by the work week, leaving little time to focus on fresh produce on top of our regular shopping needs. It is easy to overlook the value of fresh produce when it’s not in plain sight. CSAs — Community Supported Agriculture — are a form-fitted solution to the busy metropolitan who still craves the flavor, community and health benefits of local, organic produce. The idea of a CSA is simple and efficient: Instead of the buyer coming every week to a farmer’s market to pick and choose among all the local harvest, they sign up to receive a weekly package from a farm, consisting of a wealth of the freshest and best produce from that week, selected by the farmers themselves. CSAs were developed in Europe back in the 1960s as a way for people to be more involved with the foods they to eat. As Alan Alliett of Fresh and Local CSA explains, “It allows people to join in a partnership with the farmer and his farm — to produce food of higher quality that can’t be found elsewhere in the marketplace.” The customer is guaranteed to get a box of fresh, tasty fruits and vegetables each week, and all they need to worry about is cooking and eating it. Beyond a greater convenience, the advantages still abound. CSAs were created so people could work cooperatively outside the American economic model, which doesn’t allow farmers to produce quality produce under the strain of such tremendous quantity requirements. CSAs aim to keep good farmers on the land to pass on their skills to the next generation, while allowing farmers the space to produce food naturally and of a higher quality. For the farmers, there is the comfort in a guaranteed sale. They already know when they plant the seed that their produce is sold, which gives them more time to focus on tending the harvest. As almost every CSA is certified organic, this means a lot for quality assurance. It also gives them personal contact to their customers and to the community. Louise Keckler, who owns and operates Orchard Country Produce with her husband and children, even sends out weekly emails to keep her customers in touch with farm news and the harvest updates. There are also many benefits for the buyer. “They are guaranteed to get certain produce,” says Keckler. “Some stuff there wouldn’t be enough of for us to sell it at the farmer’s market. So getting the CSA, you can show up and pick up your cooler and you’re guaranteed to get a delivery.” Farmer’s markets often give farms visibility, functioning as a platform to show customers what they can get through CSA shares. While most CSA distributors also have stands at the local farmer’s market, the CSA packages open the doors to a greater variety than a customer might know to choose without the help of the farmers, who are naturally more tuned in to the ebb and flow of the growing season. “People like the idea of local fresh produce,” says Keckler, “and [the CSA shares] offer a variety of things that they probably wouldn’t have bought if they just came to the farmer's market.” For instance, according to farmers, most customers that show up to a farmer’s market buy fruit instead of vegetables. Fruit is more visually appealing, and it’s much easier to eat. If you buy an apricot, you can just eat it right where you stand. It’s easy to overlook the lush mounds of kale and blossoming clouds of cauliflower if you don’t already have a recipe in mind. But the vast majority of farms’ harvests are veggies. When you receive a box of summer squash, mesclun, zucchini, corn and gooseberries from your weekly CSA share, you may find yourself planning a loose meal schedule for the week, or perusing a cookbook to find new recipes that use an uncommon ingredient. It allows your diet to be more experiential, more interactive. There is also a lesson to be learned in the CSA experience about the pace of agriculture. “It makes people realize that even if you take a vacation, vegetables don’t,” says Keckler. If you’re out of town, “you have a friend pick it up, or donate it to a soup kitchen. You can’t stop the vegetables.” As a result, many CSA farms work closely with area homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Unused shares are regularly donated. CSA farmers don’t want to see their produce go to waste, and the leftover vegetables aren’t ever of enough abundance to be sold. They take the time to pick it, and it would be a shame to see it discarded or unappreciated. There’s only so much they can eat, so they give back to the community, knowing that it is being put to good use. But with every successful, honest business model, there are bound to be a few dime store rip-offs. Middleman CSAs, or “fake CSAs,” as Alliett calls them, are merely in the business of selling produce, not growing it. Underneath the fine print, the careful shopper will see that a good number of self-proclaimed CSA farms don’t have farms or farmers at all. “They’re just pushing produce,” says Alliett. “Buying and reselling, instead of producing.” Since the idea of a CSA is to be getting quality local goods, it doesn’t seem logical that a customer in Washington would want tomatoes and corn imported in bulk from the Carolinas that could just be gotten from the grocery store for less. So, when picking a CSA, be sure to do a bit of research. Talk to the farmer, figure out where the farm is, even take a weekend drive to visit. Here’s a list of A-grade CSAs that distribute around the D.C. and Downtown area. Some only have a few shares left for the 2010 season, so it’s best to act fast. CSAs Around Washington: --- Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farm The Plains, VA [www.bullrunfarm.com](http://www.bullrunfarm.com) Clagett Farm Upper Marlboro, MD [cbf.typepad.com/clagett_farm](http://cbf.typepad.com/clagett_farm) Fresh and Local CSA Shepherdstown, WV [www.freshandlocalcsa.com](http://www.freshandlocalcsa.com) Orchard Country Produce Gardners, PA [www.orchcountry.com](http://www.orchcountry.com) Potomac Vegetable Farms Vienna, VA [www.potomacvegetablefarms.com](http://www.potomacvegetablefarms.com) Radix Farm Upper Marlboro, MD [radixfarm.wordpress.com](http://radixfarm.wordpress.com)

A Fabulous Fourth, 2010

Let New York City have New Years. Chicago can keep St. Patrick’s Day. No one does the Fourth of July like Washington, D.C. There is no venue more fitting wherein to celebrate this country’s Independence Day than the nation’s capital. July 4 celebrations in Washington are among the most attended events of the year. The National Mall, swept with national monuments and the US Capitol, is a beautiful backdrop for the city’s all-day event schedule, ending, of course, with a dazzling fireworks display over the Washington Monument. Everyone this side of the equator knows of Washington’s infamous fireworks celebration, but there is also a wealth of activities going on throughout the day. Public access to the Mall begins at 10 a.m., so get your sunscreen and get ready. 11:45 a.m. marks the start of the Independence Day Parade, featuring marching bands, military and specialty units, floats and VIPs. Running along Constitution Avenue, the parade usually draws a sizable crowd, so get there a little early to secure a good view. The Airmen of Note will perform at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the Kogod Courtyard from 1 to 3 p.m. The band will play Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and other classics from the American Big Band era. The event celebrates the opening of a related exhibit, “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.” Once again, the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival will be celebrating the cultures of all the lands that helped shape this country. Though the festival runs in two weekend segments, it culminates around the 4th. Music, food, crafts and performances will take place at this year’s event, focused on Asian Pacific Americans and the “Smithsonian, Inside Out.” Visitors are invited to look at how things work at the institution in four areas of concentration: “Unlocking the Mysteris of the Universe,” “Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet,” “Valuing World Cultures,” and “Understanding the American Experience.” The festival also focuses on Mexico and will hold a special tribute to Haiti. The event begins at 11 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m. The W Hotel presents Boom With A View at 7 p.m. Music will be provided by The Honey Brothers, D.S. Posner, DJ Sky Nellor, a premium open bar, hors d’oeuvres and a great view of the fireworks. The event will take place on the P.O.V. Roof Terrace and Lounge on top of the W. The National Archives will host its traditional family programming, celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This year, NBC News National Correspondent Bob Dotson will be the MC. Including a dramatic reading of the Declaration by historical reenactors and free family activities and entertainment for all ages. At the White House Visitor Center, National Park Service rangers and volunteers will give people the opportunity to sample the sights, sounds, activities and personages that helped finalize the Declaration of Independence. Then, at 6 p.m., the US Army Concert Band and the US Army Band Downrange will play on the southwest corner of the grounds of the Washington Monument. Leading right up to the fireworks, a live concert by the National Symphony Orchestra and several pop artists, “A Capitol Fourth,” will perform patriotic music on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building. The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets necessary. The annual event will also be broadcast on PBS and National Public Radio on WAMU 88.5 FM. And then, of course, the fireworks. Throughout the day, beginning in the early morning, families toting coolers and lawn chairs stake out prime real estate on the Mall’s lawn for the best views of the fireworks. And it is quite a sight. A smorgasbord of colors and light at the apex of dusk, the Capitol Building being the only other thing in sight, every dazzled eye gets lost in moments of transient patriotism. On top of the memorials lining the Mall and the US Capitol, there are other sites to enjoy the fireworks. East Potomac Park is a wonderfully fun semi-secret, and if you’re willing to ante up for tickets, the Southwest Waterfront 4th of July Festival, the Rooftop of the W Hotel, or a cruise along the Potomac River are all premier venues.

Georgetown Concludes Concerts in the Park in Style

You better believe Georgetown celebrates the Fourth of July. On the afternoon before celebratory fireworks again lit the monuments of our capital, the denizens of its oldest neighborhood gathered at Volta Park for a little music, a little picnicking and a little time to soak in what would prove to be a model summer day. That event, of course, was Concerts in the Park, the last installment of CAG’s three-month series armed with a simple formula: bring a band and a few tasty treats to the park, and they will come. It was enough to lure around 100 neighbors, which wasn’t a bad turnout for a holiday weekend, CAG President Jennifer Altemus said. Co-chaired by Elizabeth Miller and Renee Crupi, the concert series’ afternoon finale kicked off with a parade around Volta Park before transitioning to a lively festival, the kind where everyone’s on a first-name basis and the music is good, no matter who’s playing (for the record, it was reggae-esque rockers Son of a Beach). Volunteers passed out plush linen towels from Cady’s Alley décor shop Waterworks, along with a few raffle tickets for a facial care package from local doctor Mark Venturi. Most of the youngsters, parents in tow, haunted the activity booths, ranging from cookie and flag decorating to a water balloon toss to the time-honored estimation station (kudos to Edwin Steiner for his correct guess of 4118 M&Ms). Others simply lounged on their blankets, chatting with adjacent picnickers and soaking up the expiring daylight. Miller and a few committee members manned the ice cream stand, scooping up cones here and there for any passerby with a free hand. Elsewhere, Georgetowners tested their mettle at a lineup of good-old-fashioned, county fair-like contests. A tug-of-war match pitted East Georgetown against West (this year, the East villagers came out on top), and a long table clothed in blue plaid served as battleground for a pie-eating contest, in which a handful of boys, their braggadocio notwithstanding, gave up the ghost to eight-year-old Emma Robinson, who apparently can chow down with the best of them. It was, as you so rarely see in the city, a family affair. Kids and adults came and went, some rushing off for fireworks, others mingling with friends, carefree as summer. Most of all, it was an instance of Georgetown as it should be — an aggregate of neighbors and loved ones, joined as one community. [gallery ids="99163,102995,102991,102964,102987,102983,102969,102974,102979" nav="thumbs"]

Paws in the Plains

The Plains, the sleepy, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it country town visitors must wend through to get to Middleburg from I-66, jumped the gun last weekend on celebrating the proverbial “dog days” of August. Not that Adam, Annie, and a few dozen other shelter dogs were complaining. The July 24 “Dog Day in The Plains,” despite the oppressive heat and humidity, gave the Middleburg Human Foundation in Marshall, VA a chance to strut a number of its furry residents before the public. In all, the event lured in around 60 locals and out-of-towners with the prospect of ice cream, a raffle, a dog-themed puppet show for the kids (“The Barker of Seville”) and, of course, a chance to meet a few doe-eyed, lovable pooches in need of a good home. Not bad for a town with just one main road, which was practically melting that day. “As hot as it’s been, people have really come out and supported us,” said Linda Neel, who thought up the event as a fundraiser for the shelter. Her husband Tom, with whom she owns the art and design gallery Live an Artful Life, was more blunt. “Pretty good for a billion degrees,” he joked. Not surprisingly, ice cream sold fast and shade was a valuable commodity. In all, the three-hour event managed to raise an estimated $1400 for the rescue organization (the official total is still being counted), which relies on help from over 100 volunteers on its four-acre farm to manage its community of rescued pets and livestock, which includes everything from dogs and horses to more unusual critters, including donkeys and chickens. Perhaps more importantly, the gathering provided a venue for the shelter to show off photos and profiles of the animals under its care, and arrange live, in-the-flesh meetings with dog lovers who turned out that day (naturally, there’s no better way to get a pet adopted than to set up an aww-mom-can-we-keep-him scenario). Foundation President Hilleary Bogley was happy with the day’s results, saying that in a time of diminished financial contributions by the public, extra visibility always helps. “I hope it turns out to be an annual event,” she said. Her canine companions seemed to make an impression, too. A two-year-old puppy, Annie, was on her way to being adopted by that afternoon, pending a little paperwork — Bogley, the court-appointed humane investigator for Fauquier County, is known for her thorough background checks to ensure adoptees are headed for a responsible and loving family. The shelter also passed out fliers urging fans to vote in a contest that would make it a prominent feature in the upcoming mutt flick “Smitty” with Mira Sorvino. (Voters can visit www.middleburghumane.org and click on the red banner.) Dog day, indeed. [gallery ids="99177,103194,103197" nav="thumbs"]

Plans Underway for 13th Taste of Rappahannock

Plans are underway for Headwaters Foundation’s 13th Annual Taste of Rappahannock, widely considered one of the county’s most popular fundraising events. This year’s event, which will be held at Belle Meade Schoolhouse on Sept.11, beginning at 6 p.m., promises to be an exciting evening. “We’ve hired Red Apple Auctions of Alexandria to help us with both the silent and live auctions, and they have some great new ideas that we are implementing,” said Toni Egger, executive director for Headwaters. Nearly 50 one-of-a-kind items will be auctioned. Already on the bidding list and sure to cause competitive bidding are a week at Le Silence, a charming, five-bedroom farmhouse in the scenic countryside of Burgundy, France, a trip to Cancun and a theater weekend in Washington, D.C. Guests may bid on other experiences, such as a helicopter ride and accompanying gourmet picnic, a cooking workshop and dinner with well known chef and writer Hi Soo Hepinstall, a behind-the-scenes tour and tasting at Copper Fox Distillery, original art from a number of Rappahannock County’s most accomplished artists, and more. Rappahannock County’s students have always been the primary beneficiaries of the Taste, and this year, more than ever, they will be a part of this time-honored event. Students will be involved in every aspect of the evening, from greeting and chatting with guests to serving hors d’oeuvres to helping prepare and serve a wide selection of dishes of locally sourced foods. A musical ensemble from Rappahannock High School will provide live background music. During the formal dinner program, one student will share how his experience with Headwaters has made a difference in his life. Funds raised during the annual Taste of Rappahannock are crucial to underwriting the enrichment programs offered to students by Headwaters throughout the year. This year’s “Challenge” will, in fact, be a challenge — thanks to generous donations by Rappahannock resident Mitzi Young and the late Took Crowell — and should generate significant contributions. High level challenge donors will be honored with a champagne reception. The funds raised this year are more important than ever, as Headwaters looks to expand its outreach efforts. In addition to supporting its robust, long-lived programs, including Farm-to-Table, Starfish Mentoring,, and Next Step, and its supportive teacher mini-grants and complimentary staff development efforts, funds are needed to develop new programs. “Rappahannock County has a new school administration with new ideas and programs they will want to launch. We want to be ready and able to help,” Egger said. “We would like to create an opportunity fund so that we can respond to developing needs and ideas for programs at all levels of school.” In the planning stage is an after-school program for elementary school children. Egger said that a survey will be sent in August to elementary school-age children and their parents. “We want to learn from the parents and students what they would like to see in an after-school program before we build it and will incorporate their thoughts and suggestions,” Egger said. “We hope to start such a program in January.” She credits Headwaters volunteer Philip Strange for outlining a proposal for the effort. Demand for tickets this year will likely be greater than ever, in part because of advertising support in Flavor magazine, which reaches some 50,000 people throughout the region, including D.C., Maryland and northern and central Virginia. Details of this year’s Taste are online at Headwaters Foundation’s Web site, www.headwatersfdn.org. Event Co-Chairs Cheri Woodard, Terri Lehman, and Ashleigh Cannon Sharp said that invitations to the 13th Annual Taste of Rappahannock were sent out in early August. Tickets are $150 for individuals. Patron tables of 10 are $2000. Sponsored tables are $1200 and include two tickets to the event. No doubt, the event will sell out as soon as invitations reach the mailbox. To participate, e-mail your name and address to Toni Egger at director@headwatersfdn.org or call Toni at 540-987-3322. Tickets are $150 for individuals and tables may be sponsored. Event sponsorships are also available. The Grand Prize: One week at Le Silence, a charming five bedroom farm house in central Burgundy’s Parc Naturel Régional du Morvan. The property, originally part of the famous Manoir de Ruères, is situated in the quiet hamlet of that name midway among the historic cities of Avallon, Saulieu and Vézelay. Within easy driving distance, one may find the renowned wine regions of the Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits, Côte d’Or and Chablis, and somewhat further afield, Beaujolais and Sancerre. Several of the world’s greatest restaurants are within a half an hour, including Marc Meneau’s L’Espérance and the late Bernard Loiseau’s Côte d’Or; and smaller but superb establishments abound nearby. Though 220km from Paris, Le Silence is connected by a near-by major auto route (circa 3 hours driving time), and for those wishing a long day or two in Paris, by a high speed train from nearby Montbard deposits you at the Gare de Lyon in one hour and one minute. The immediate environs of the house boast many of the poignant monuments to the World War II French Resistance, and the region is dotted with memorials to brave Americans and Britons who perished supporting them. The Musée de la Résistance in nearby Saint-Brisson is especially moving. The house itself, which has been in the Wimbush family for nearly 30 years, sits on four hectares of wooded farmland. It has been substantially modernized and is fully equipped. For local color, fine food and wine, history and culture, and the upmost tranquility, Le Silence is hard to match. This is a unique opportunity for one or several couples, or a larger extended family. Bidding starts at $5,000 (for use of the house only; does not include travel). [gallery ids="99190,103304,103307" nav="thumbs"]

Fall 2010 Visual Arts Preview

Addison/Ripley Fine Art Addison/Ripley will present “The 2nd Element: Stratus Series”, new works by Nancy Sansom Reynolds from September 10 to October 23. In her third exhibition at the gallery, Reynolds brings a large body of new sculpture in a broad range of new materials, creating sinuous, striated, elegant shapes, often suspended on walls. Much of the artist’s inspiration for this show comes from her three recent years in the Southwest desert. Reynolds has suggested that her forms reflect the “big sky” of the American Southwest. Artisphere Arlington County plans to open the Artisphere, an expansive cultural center, on October 10. Formerly the Newseum, the center is located on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn and will include three art galleries, two theaters and a 4,000-square-foot ballroom. Norma Kaplan, chief of the county’s cultural affairs division, promises something new in the use of the space and in the clientele the Artisphere hopes to attract. “We have a large younger demographic in the region,” Kaplan said. “They want to be participants, not be passive, and they want a place to go. We’ll be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week. People can come and hang out without much planning.” A 4,000-square-foot Terrace Gallery will have room for exhibitions, seating with drinks and snacks, as well as an overlook into the ballroom. According to Kaplan, built into all Artisphere programming will be opportunities for interaction with the artists. “We are trying to attract audiences that normally don’t come into a cultural center,” she said. One idea is to have late-night dances with regional bands on the weekends. In Artisphere’s first exhibit, opening with the center on October 10, is the group show “Skateboarding Side Effects,” where artists capture the form, shape, line and gestural movements of skateboarding through photography, drawing, painting, film and sculpture. Cross/Mackenzie Gallery Cross/Mackenzie Gallery, Georgetown’s premier gallery for contemporary ceramic and applied arts, has an array of upcoming shows for art collectors and enthusiasts with an eye for the dimensional and functional. From September 17 to October 20, the gallery will feature Kathy Erteman’s work in the show “Architectural Ceramics – Tiles & Vessels.” Opening October 22, Sarah Lindley’s “Poppenhuizen” will feature the artist’s full-sized ceramic cabinet houses, inspired by the extravagant and exquisite 17th century Dutch fine art furniture. The gallery will then close their fall season with a group exhibition, “Serve if Forth,” a platter and plate show featuring the area’s premiere wheel throwers and ceramic artists, opening November 19. Foundry Gallery In paintings inspired by the natural beauty of the earth, artist Ron Riley portrays images that evoke a sense of internal peace, tranquility, serenity and power, uniting us with the majestic forces we find within ourselves and in our natural environment. In his recent works, Riley’s tactile palette ranges from the soft and pastel to deep and intense, the varying hues engendering visions of some of nature’s more ominous forces. Riley is a member of the Foundry Gallery as well as Mid City Artists. The show, “Land, Air and Sea,” will be on view at the Foundry Gallery from September 29 through October 31. The opening reception is Friday, October 1, 6-8pm. Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC The Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown has unveiled a completely new art collection selected exclusively for the hotel. The collection has more than 1,650 pieces and is heavily representative of American artists, of which 400 are premier, blue chip and commissioned pieces for the public spaces and corridors. Among the more prominent pieces, on display in conspicuous public areas, are works by Helen Frankenthaler, Andy Warhol, Robert Mangold, Ron Richmond, Andrea Rosenberg and Andrei Petrov. These were purchased from private collections and exclusive galleries throughout the United States. Guests walking into the Hotel’s recently redesigned lobby will immediately encounter the largest installation along the lobby gallery wall. A commissioned series by Roni Stretch, an English artist residing in Los Angeles, evokes the essential composition of America featuring five ethnic faces, each with a unique appearance: Julia the American Indian, Sara the all-American, Gary the English/Irish, Tiffany the French/Russian, and Fabiana the Mexican. This compilation was selected specifically for Four Seasons Hotel Washington due to its international clientele. These human faces were painted in black and white and then layered with selective colors to create the subtly realistic, yet abstract work. If you have any guests coming into town, yearning for the vibrant DC art scene, you now know where to put them up. Fraser Gallery Acclaimed DC-based photographer Maxwell MacKenzie has long sought to capture the wild or pastoral terrain around the country, in exploration of his family’s history. A new series of MacKenzie’s aerial photographs of Vermont, Virginia and Minnesota will open to the public on September 10, from 6-9pm at the Fraser Gallery. MacKenzie captured all of his images from his self-piloted powered parachute, an ultra-light aircraft where the bird’s eye expanses of trees and wilderness get broken up into a vibrant, organic geometry of color and texture. The show opening will be held in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk, which features downtown Bethesda galleries. The studios open their doors to the public from 6-9pm on the second Friday of every month. This is a wonderful opportunity to take in all the Bethesda art scene has to offer. Irvine Contemporary Irvine Contemporary will be running two shows simultaneously, from September 11 through October 30. Phil Nesmith’s exhibition “Flow,” a series of wet collodion photographs on black glass plate, was documented on the Gulf coast in Louisiana and Mississippi throughout June 2010. Using his box cameras and a portable darkroom, Nesmith created striking images of the environment and local communities encountering the worst oil disaster in US history. He was able to gain access to areas largely unseen by the public – such as taking a helicopter to a relief well rig at the BP Deepwater Horizon site. Looking damaged and washed out, much like the Gulf coast, Nesmith’s images have a devastating beauty about them, finding peace among the chaos and destruction. In conjunction with Nesmith’s show, Irvine Contemporary will be presenting a new exhibition of work by Brooklyn-based artist Bruno Perillo, in his second show with the gallery. With a new series of oil paintings, the artist will present his continuing reinterpretations of historical and contemporary realist styles. Bruno Perillo appropriates the realist styles of painters from many eras – from Caravaggio to Degas – for composing masterful images that are at once classical, post-modern, and contemporary. The show, titled “Uniform,” will present male and female characters in narrative scenes with culturally encoded clothing styles and genre cues. Parish Gallery Long since established in the Georgetown community, the Parish Gallery is well known for featuring primarily, but not exclusively, artists from Africa and of the African Diaspora. From October 15 through November 16, the gallery will feature the works of husband and wife, Gwendolyn and Bernard Brooks, in an exhibition entitled, “A Marriage of Colors”. The show will open with a reception from 6:00 – 8:00 pm that Friday. A native Washingtonian, Gwendolyn has been in the art world for over thirty years as a painter, contemporary quilt-maker and doll designer. Her mixed media works can best be described as Afro-Caribbean, having traveled to Africa, Trinidad, Brazil, and Tobago to research and find influences. Bernard is a second-generation artist, his uncle being the first black instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Bernard retired as Howard University’s chief medical illustrator, relinquishing his post after 26 years. This exhibition will be showing his watercolors, many of which are fleeting scenes of an American countryside that we long for even as we observe it. The Ralls Collection This fall, the Ralls Collection will premier "Trojan War Years," the first of three series of paintings by local artist David Richardson, from October 6 through December 31. There will be a private reception with the artist on Wednesday, October 6, from 6 – 8 pm at the gallery. The paintings featured in "Trojan War Years" will display Richardson’s ability to convey a strong narrative of Homer’s epic tale in conjunction with his unique flair for color and exceptional conviction for abstract forms. In the last decade, Richardson has painted three important series of works. The first, Trojan War Years, not only precedes the others, but it also continues to manifest. The impetus for the series came while Richardson lived in Japan. Wandering around Tokyo, Richardson noticed the Kanji inscriptions that the Japanese used to mark temples, civic buildings, and businesses. Fueled by his interest in the way Kanji weaved into the architecture of Tokyo in addition to his passion for Homer’s recollection of the Trojan War, Richardson began incorporating the symbols into his own art, eventually securing the foundation for Trojan War Years series. Studio Gallery September 29 through October 23 will find Studio Gallery featuring two very different artists, brought together by an uncontainable energy and strong personal voice. Chris Chernow, whose figural paintings consist of numerous layers of oils applied over many months, find edges where the figure and ground can be merged in order to create a sense of submission and solitude. The layers add to the richness of the paint and a reduction in detail, achieving an elegant, haunting simplicity. The figures become shadows before our eyes. The other featured artist, Carolee Jakes, works primarily in screen-printing, etching and oil painting, and has recently been experimenting with combining these media to focus her works’ prevailing and intertwining themes of identity and music. Her most recent work focuses on the interconnectedness of musicians and their instruments. “There is a level of interaction that gives the instrument a life of its own,” says Jakes. “I see each instrument as a piece of art, and I refer to structural characteristics of the instruments in abstract drawings that are incorporated into the prints.” A reception for the artists will be held on October 16, from 6 to 8pm. Susan Calloway Fine Arts Opening September 24 and running through the end of October, Susan Calloway Fine Arts will host an exhibition of artist David Ivan Clark. Born and raised on the plains of Western Canada, Clark returns to them as the inspiration for his work. In his landscape series, Clark blurs the line between abstraction and representation with a haunting minimalism, allowing viewers to find sanctuary from the frenetic rigors of the mechanized world. The results of his unique painting techniques – fine layers of oil on stainless steel with a glossy, reflective finishing coat – is seductive, serene and luminous, recalling the vast expanses of nature within an unyieldingly industrial framework. “My work braids reference to nature with reference to industry,” Clark says. “Screws may frame a vast sky. Paint may be pitted and scoured as if the depicted terrain has issued from dire industrial processes. Suggesting both Arcadian idyll and post-apocalyptic barren, these paintings dwell, as I am forced to myself, in limbo, yearning for one yet unable to deny the other.” The exhibition, titled “Presence/Absence,” will have an opening reception Friday, September 24, from 6-8pm. This is sure to be one of the highlights of the gallery scene this season, and it should not be missed. Washington Printmakers Gallery The Washington Printmakers Gallery will host “New Faces – New Prints II,” an exhibition introducing the five artists that have joined WPG in the past year. These diverse printmakers come from all over the country and are presenting a variety of new work and techniques. New artists include Trisha Gupta, who commemorates natural disasters, such as flooding in India, through personal relations. Trisha says her work “brings me in dialogue with events that have affected me personally, and allows me to give personal experiences the commemoration I know they deserve.” Zenith Gallery From September 15 through November 28, the Zenith gallery will be hosting an expansive group exhibition at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, featuring a wide array of Zenith’s art community. A “Meet the Artists” reception will be held September 15 from 6-8 pm, in Zenith’s space on the second level of the Pavilion. Among the longstanding Zenith artists will be sculptor Carol Newmyer, who creates interactive, figurative bronze sculptures inspired by dance, yoga, balance and meditation. Along with her sculptures, she has a line of dramatic and unique sterling silver and high polished bronze wearable art sold in limited editions. New artists include the vivacious Joyce Wellman. Wellman uses vibrant colors, cryptic marks, and symbols referencing mathematics, anthropomorphic forms, and her personal experiences growing up in a household where “numbers” were played. --- MUSEUMS National Gallery of Art “Arcimboldo, 1526–1593: Nature and Fantasy” will run from September 19, 2010 - January 9, 2011. Sixteen examples of the fantastic composite heads painted by Giuseppe Arcimboldo will be featured in this exhibition, their first appearance in the United States. Bizarre yet scientifically accurate, the unusual heads are composed of plants, animals, and objects. Additional works, including drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer, small bronzes, illustrated books and manuscripts, and ceramics will provide a context for Arcimboldo’s inventions, revealing his debt to established traditions of physiognomic and nature studies. Opening October 31 is “The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848–1875.” In the first survey of British art photography, focusing on the 1850s and 1860s, some 100 photographs and 20 paintings and watercolors chronicle the roles photography and Pre-Raphaelite art played in changing concepts of vision and truth in representation. The exhibition illuminates the mutual struggle of photographers and painters of the era, wrestling with the question of how to observe and represent the natural world and the human face and figure. This rich dialogue between photography and painting is examined in the exhibition’s thematic sections on landscape, portraiture, literary and historical narratives, and modern-life subjects. Corcoran Gallery of Art “NOW at the Corcoran,” running from September 11 until January 23, 2011, is a series of one- and two-artist exhibitions that presents new work addressing issues central to the local, national, and global communities of Washington, D.C. and that responds to the collection, history, and architecture of the Corcoran. The first feature will be “Spencer Finch: My Business, with the Cloud,” an exhibition of new work by the Brooklyn-based artist that includes a site-specific sculpture installed in the Corcoran’s Rotunda. Finch’s sculptural installations, photographs, and drawings seek to capture the elusive space between perception and the outside world, probing the intersections of science, nature, and memory. Drawing from the history and environment of Washington, D.C., his project explores the poetic, physical, and meteorological aspects of these natural phenomena. The Phillips Collection “Side by Side: Oberlin’s Masterworks at the Phillips,” opens September 11, 2010, and runs through January 16, 2011. Illustrating its unconventional approach to displaying art, The Phillips Collection will present loosely themed groupings of some of its own masterworks with 25 masterpieces from Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum. Half of the 24 paintings and one sculpture on loan from the Allen are old masters, dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries. They include rare works by painters of the British, Dutch, Flemish, French, German, Italian, and Spanish schools. The other Allen pieces are important modern works of the 19th and 20th centuries. Oberlin extended the opportunity to display some of its treasures to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to the Phillips while the Allen is closed for renovations. Highlights include unique pairings in works ranging from Francisco Goya to El Greco, Rubens to Turner, Cézanne to Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Hirshhorn Museum “Guillermo Kuitca: Everything—Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980–2008” will run from October 21, 2010 to January 16, 2011. Since his first exhibition at the age of thirteen, Guillermo Kuitca has forged a distinctive path as an artist, creating visually compelling works that reflect his intense and often ambivalent relationship to his primary medium: painting. “Guillermo Kuitca: Everything” is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work in the United States in more than ten years, examining the artist’s continuing development between 1980 and 2008. The show presents the spectrum of Kuitca’s thirty-five year career, from early pieces inspired by his experience in theater, with titles often drawn from music, to recent complex abstractions that evoke the history of modern painting. Since the early 1980s, the artist’s work has been characterized by recurring imagery, most notably spatial and mapping motifs. Central among these are images of theater sets and seating charts, architectural plans, road maps, beds, numerical sequences, and baggage-claim carousels, through which Kuitca explores universal themes of migration and disappearance, the intersection of private and public space, and the importance of memory. National Portrait Gallery Newspaper publisher Katharine Graham (1917–2001) led an extraordinary life in extraordinary times. Born into privilege, she was catapulted onto the international stage as publisher of The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal. “One Life: Katharine Graham,” running from October 1 through May 30, 2011, includes several photographs to narrate key moments in her life, including a portrait by Richard Avedon, drawings, original newspapers from the time of the Watergate scandal, the Pulitzer Prize for her memoir, “Personal History” and video of a “Living Self-Portrait” interview of Graham by former Portrait Gallery director Marc Pachter. National Museum of the American Indian “Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection” runs from September 25 until August 7, 2011. The show highlights the National Museum of the American Indian’s young but vital collection of contemporary art, with significant works by 25 artists in media ranging from paintings, drawings, and photography to video projection and mixed-media installation. These complex and richly layered works speak to the concerns and experiences of Native people today, addressing memory, history, the significance of place for Native communities, and the continuing relevance of cultural traditions. Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show and Sale The Smithsonian “Craft2Wear” show and sale will be held the weekend of October 23 and 24 at the National Building Museum, featuring 36 premier exhibitors of wearable art, jewelry and clothing. All exhibitors have been previously juried into the Smithsonian Craft Show, so you can be sure that the show is filled with items of lasting artistic value as well as fashionable appeal. [gallery ids="99194,103349,103344,103339,103358,103362,103334,103366,103370,103329,103354" nav="thumbs"]

9/11 Remembered

  -What people remembered about that morning was how incredibly blue the sky was — the kind of gorgeous day it was, making you feel grateful how heart-breakingly beautiful it was. We had skies like that this Labor Day weekend, a break from the oppressive bouts of heat. Blue as a baby, a Dutch painting. On the Tuesday that became a simple number — 9/11 — I hadn’t yet made it a habit to turn on my computer first thing after brushing my teeth. Instead, I headed out the door to take a 42 bus downtown near the White House, on my way to a photography exhibition opening at the Corcoran Gallery. I didn’t bring my camera, and I didn’t have a cell phone. I didn’t have a clue. As the bus neared the Farragut stop, you began to see a large number of people on the sidewalks, most of them on their cell phones, which was not yet a common sight. Many of them appeared agitated. More and more people started to pour out of office buildings and the Executive Office Building. At Pennsylvania Avenue, with the White House as a backdrop, I walked up to a policeman and asked him what was going on. “Oh, not much,” he said. “Two planes were hijacked and rammed into the World Trade Center in New York. Another one just hit the Pentagon. There’s one that’s supposed to be coming here.” He nodded toward the White House. My first thought was why the hell are we standing here? But I didn’t say anything except maybe “Jesus” or “Oh my God”. I couldn’t say. I decided to stay and see what happened. That was the start 9/11 for me. I saw a group of Christian stockbrokers fall to their knees outside an office building where they were convening and they prayed. I saw people start the long walks home to Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and the Maryland border. I saw people gathered around a television set in the Mayflower Hotel, and I saw the real-time collapse of the second tower. It looked unreal. A nurse who was here for a medical convention said “I’m going home to a different world.” Somewhere in a place called Shanksville, Pennsylvania, a fourth plane had crashed in a field near this small town outside Pittsburgh, after passengers had stormed the cockpit and fought the hijackers. On Thanksgiving two years later, we visited the site: there was a big memorial full of flags and angels there and a huge indentation in a field a distance away. The town was small, and it had a football field. It snowed into the quiet land. I remember the days afterward: the president’s speech, his stand on the rocks, the awful images from New York, the rubble, the many dead, and the pictures of falling bodies. I remember a girl, late at night, sitting on the steps, holding a lit candle. I remember being among a group of people in Adams Morgan, who had gathered to hold candles and sing folk songs from our youth — “We Shall Overcome.” I remember two survivors of the attacks — one from the Pentagon and a blonde office worker from the World Trade Center, who came to the Corcoran where an exhibition of photographs from 9/11 was opening. They told personal stories of their trials and still mourned those lost. The fact that the stories were plain-spoken and true made them seem like incantations. I remember that The Georgetowner ran something like five cover stories continuously after 9/11 on 9/11. The streak did not stop until the death of Beatle George Harrison, which seemed in a strange way oddly celebratory and sad at once. I know this much: wars came and continue, American soldiers continue to serve and die, and we and the rest of the world have an enemy that appears implacable in its devotion to destruction, violence, bombings, and war as a way of showing their hatred of cultures and nations that are different from them. This seems never ending — the carnage and that contrary idea of a holy war. This is the world we live in. They call themselves by many names — Jihadists, Taliban, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas. Here we call them terrorists. There the entire region seems in turmoil — Iraq after us, Afghanistan, Pakistan, flooded and bombed at once. It is a cauldron of suffering. That blue-sky day prevails in my memory. I saw the Oberammergau Passion Play in Bavaria this summer, in which the man playing Jesus — a dentist — wailed at Gethsemane, crying out to God that “you have thrown me into the dust of death.” That’s what we saw that day: the dust of death. It blotted out the perfect blue sky.

Weekend Roundup, September 10

  -ART BUS 9/11/10 D.C.’s fall art season kicks off this weekend with a free shuttle service linking three gallery hotbeds. The stops: Logan Circle (14th Street NW), U Street, and the H Street/Atlas District (Florida Avenue NE) feature some of the most fascinating collections you’ll encounter this quarter. The program is sponsored by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, which aims to allow D.C. residents access to variety of art shows this fall. Be sure to check out the Adamson Gallery, Project 4 Gallery, and G Fine Art among other aesthetic destinations — all of which are open from around 6:30 - 8:30. You’ll be well on your way to meeting your cultural quota for the fall! SATURDAY’S FARMERS’ MARKET 9/11/10 For all you bluegrass fans, this Saturday’s Farmers’ Market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., will feature the Parklawn Ramblers. Among the featured vendors are the Red Apron Butchery, known for their cured meats, Spring Valley Farm and Orchard, whose salads are as easy on the eyes as they are the stomach, and Spriggs Delight for your fill of fudge. Bike tune-ups are also available. The market is held in the Hardy Middle School parking lot, and as always dogs are welcome! TRAFFIC ADVISORY Starting Monday, September 13, the 14th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project will be closing the left shoulder of the bridge. This means a new traffic pattern for would-be travelers, where all four lanes deviate right of the construction. The change will be implemented in stages over the weekend, with anyone taking Exit 10C from I-395N being advised to head left prior to the work zone. Make sure to approach the construction zone with caution. The change will be in effect for at least eight weeks. GEORGETOWN INTERIM LIBRARY CLOSING In preparation for the opening of the newly renovated Georgetown Neighborhood Library, October 18, the Georgetown Interim Library plans to close September 25. Among the renovations made were improvements to lighting and the woodwork. There will also be new sections dedicated entirely to children and teens. Nevertheless, the reading terrace with a view of Book Hill Park is sure to be the biggest attraction. The West End Neighborhood Library is a nearby alternative in the meantime, and your old books can be returned or renewed there.

St. Patrick’s Day in Washington, Then & Now

Every St. Patrick’s Day, I get nostalgic. Some part of me wants to hear an Irish rebel song, down a stiff Irish whiskey, get begorrah drunk in a place where there’s already two feet of beer on the floor and admire an Irish lass with green eyes and flaming hair. It passes. There are, if my fading old eyes don’t deceive me, more Irish bars than ever ‘round about here, so I imagine that at least today there is a market for the wee bit of Gaelic sound. Many of the newer bars I’ve never heard of, but the old standby pubs still standing, like Sinatra and Elvis, make you breathe with the slowed down breath of memory. Some of the newer ones certainly sound like old sod pubs—Castlebay Irish Pub in Annapolis, Flanagan’s Harp and Fiddle in Bethesda, O’Faolain’s Irish Pub in Sterling, Virginia, Ned Devine’s and Ned Kelly’s in Herndon, Virginia, O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Arlington, Old Brogue Irish Pub in Great Falls, Sine Irish Pub in Arlington, Slainte Irish Pub in Bethesda, the Auld Shabeen in Fairfax—even the Fado downtown with its myriad beers and Irish bric a brac, not to mention the legendary Murphy’s in Alexandria, and the rising Ri Ras where the hold music sessions. But for my money—and it’s not a lot, I’m a writer after all—its places like Kelly’s Irish Times, the Four Provinces, (now Ireland’s Four Fields) the Dubliner, Nanny O’Brien’s, and the long-defunct Matt Kane’s and Ellen’s which are and were the real thing. And you can throw in Billy Martin’s Tavern in Georgetown, which has been around longer than anybody and anyone, serving up square and basic-good Irish food and spirits and conviviality as a matter of family tradition. Of course, the heydays were probably during the 1970s and 1980s, when St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated a little bit like a hooligan’s holiday, with daylong, sometimes weekend-long celebrations. In those days, there was a steady and large supply of Irish bartenders to go with the Irish restaurants, not to mention Irish musicians who were splendid, played and sang reels and rebel songs and ballads that broke your heart, and got everybody in the spirit of things along with the spirits. I suspect some of that atmosphere is missing now—I don’t see hundreds of hill staffers running around with “Kiss Me I’m Irish” pins for a whole day, although the funny looking big green hats remain ever popular. St. Patrick’s Day was a day of wretched excess in those days, and, luckily and with good reason, I don’t remember much about them. What I do remember is that this German writer loved most things Irish beyond reason. With my metabolism now rebellious of anything beyond a single glass of beer, I can look at this with measured focus, as opposed to through a glass darkly. I think it’s because friends I knew in Washington from the beginning were named Kelly and O’Brien and Murphy and McHugh and so on, and they were the types you could tell your worst secrets to, make the phone call in the middle of the middle of the night. They would take you in if you got kicked out of some other place for the night. They were the boon companions at the race track, the guy who’d spot you a bar bill and laughed at all of your jokes, except the Irish ones. I knew a few, let’s say, and here’s to Michael Kelly, and his brother Hugh, the publican and founder of Kelly’s Irish Times, the most democratic of Irish pubs in existence, if not the most elegant. Kelly’s was a footstep or so away from The Dubliner, and was once a Hawaiian Luau Hut before Hugh Kelly bought it and once held a celebration in which patrons were encouraged to smash a plastic volcano rock to piece. The Dubliner—run by the estimable Danny Coleman—was also the best venue for some of the greatest Irish musicians around, notably Celtic Thunder and the Irish Tradition. That trio, which sometimes wandered into the Irish Times, filled the house like a rock band. They were Andy O’Brien, the lad the lassies dug, Billy McComiskey, a button accordionist of great gifts, and the vibrant Brendan Mulvihill, a fiddle player of Irish national championship quality, big of girth and afro-red hair, who could make a fiddle do anything—produce tears, sound like jazz, be bluesy and rangy, and tell musical stories as thick as novels. In the past he has been known to play at Nanny O’Brien’s on Connecticut Avenue, right across the street from the Uptown Theater and, lo and behold, another Irish pub, the Irish Four Fields. But enough about pubs: that’s where all your friends are today if they have signs of life in them. The Irish connection runs deeper than a state of bold and wordy inebriation. I once had a discussion with another fine Irish person of note about the religious and philosophical symbolism of a certain scene from “Saturday Night Fever,” and it says a lot for Guinness and the Irish that this stuck in my mind. The Irish love to talk, and when they’re not talking, they’re writing, composing, singing, putting on plays, making theater and persevering, in spite of anything, come famine or feuding. If you want to know the origin of St. Patrick’s Day and its consequences, check out Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” (or four hours in a bar with some very eloquent and poetic drunks), in which a cop or two make an appearance and one of the denizen’s says “Why didn’t St. Patrick drive all the snakes out of Ireland, and didn’t they swim across the Atlantic and become New York policemen?” or words to that effect. I love the Irish words, probably more than the Irish do: both the great playwright of the void, Samuel Beckett, and novelist James Joyce, moved to Paris and wrote in French. A whole new generation of Irish playwright’s have emerged, but Wilde, Synge, Behan, Shaw and all the rest still rise up onto our stage with words, wit and wonder (“An Ideal Husband” at the Shakespeare Theatre right now and “Penelope” at the Studio right now). And Solas Nua, the Irish theater group, is handing out free books today. And it’s St. Patrick Day. If things should go amiss, remember a few things along the way: there may have been Bette Davis eyes, but there is Maureen O’Hara hair as well. And remember that famous Irish saying: “May you be in heaven a half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.” And may you recall with some caution that famous scene in “Fort Apache” when the Irish 7th Cavalry First Sergeant, played by Victor McLaglen, is ordered to destroy a roomful of rotgut whiskey by Henry Fonda. “Lads,” he said, “let us pull together. We have a fearful task ahead of us.” Indeed all of you do. It’s St. Patrick’s Day. Celebrate as the Irish might and god help you on the way. [gallery ids="99197,103364" nav="thumbs"]

Weekend Roundup, March 18

Check out what’s happening around town this weekend with The Georgetowner’s interactive calendar. Looking for an excuse to get out of the house, or know of an event so exciting you just have to share? You can do both at the Georgetowner.com Calendar. Starting Friday, take a lunch break with Juilliard graduate Thomas Pandolfi as he pays tribute to Frederic Chopin at 1:15 p.m. in McNeir Hall on Georgetown’s main campus. The Georgetown University Music Program’s Friday Music Series features acclaimed artists in free concerts every Friday. Also on the Georgetown campus, The SoCal VoCals, a collegiate a cappella group from the University of Southern California, stop at McNeir Auditorium at 9 p.m. as they tour throughout the U.S. Saturday morning you can catch Eye Wonder: Photography from the Bank of America. The exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts features more than 100 photographs made between 1865 and 2004 that demonstrate how women have long embraced the subjectivity and quirkiness of the camera’s eye. Saturday evening The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America presents a Spring Ball at Georgetown's historic Dumbarton House. Featuring live music for dancing in the elegant ballroom, a dessert buffet, gaming in the historic museum, and character re-enactors, join the community in period costumes or “after-five” attire to celebrate the beginning of spring. Get your Sunday started with Poker for a Purpose at Georgetown’s Mie N Yu. The charitable Texas Hold 'em tournament starts at 4 p.m. and will feature prizes, a full brunch buffet and more. End the weekend with a Washington Master Chorale Concert as they present British Masterpieces. The concert takes place at 4 p.m. at National Presbyterian Church. These are only a few of the upcoming weekend events on The Georgetowner Calendar. Visit Georgetowner.com for the full list of happenings, as well as the opportunity to add your own.