Pride of Place, Conflicted

Last weekend Yo and I took Friday off and headed South to Williamsburg, Virginia to visit our friend, Sarah Meschutt, the Senior Curator at the Yorktown-Jamestown Museum. She has been the point person for the design, construction and exhibits for the new Museum of the American Revolution. The sweet irony is that she is a Brit.

We started our weekend strolling through the historic town of Williamsburg, the second Capitol of the British Colony of Virginia, after Jamestown. It is an amazing example of large-scale historic preservation and reconstruction. All the revolutionary celebs were here:  George Wasington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason…and more.

The Govenor's Palace, Williamsburg, VA

The Govenor’s Palace, Williamsburg, VA

 

Colonial street scene view through the spoke of a carriage wheel. Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area. Williamsburg, Virginia

The Duke of Gloucester Street

We were intrigued by the double-wide promenade of the Duke of Gloucester Street, a grand avenue at one time filled with carriages, carts, goods, animals and a colorful mix of landed gentry and common folk. We had lunch in Shield’s Tavern, were spectators at a colonial court hearing (the charge being non-attendance at church), and in an abundance of caution, made an appearance at Bruton Parish Church.

Xxx Parish Church

Bruton Parish Church

The picture is one of a peaceful little town, yet underneath the surface boils a revolution based on freedom and an evolution of an institution denying the freedom of others: slavery. It’s here in the shadows, back corridors, attics and fields. Over the years it has been allowed to bubble to the surface, but not quite allowed to burst. It simmers.

In the Garden of Good and Evil

In the Garden of Good and Evil

Jump shift to the 21st century. We stayed at The Williamsburg White House, an historic B&B filled with presidential memorabilia from our first George to the W, including reminders of a more recent kind of conflict.

The Williamsburg WHite House

The Williamsburg White House

In the Closet

In the Closet

On Saturday, Sarah acted as our personal historian. She guided us through a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Museum of the American Revolution in Yorktown, to open this fall. We saw recent acquisitions, including weaponry, furniture and paintings, all in a highly controlled and secure environment.

Museum of the American Revolution

Museum of the American Revolution

Sarah then took us to the Jamestown Museum, focused on early American settlements, pre-revolution. We were intrigued by the narrative of the conflicts and contradictions of cultures, from the story of Pocahontas to the story of the slave trade. The African tradition of enslaving those whom they captured laid the foundation of their enslavement abroad.

The Jamestown Museum

The Jamestown Museum

We took a break from history to have a cup of coffee at the campus bookstore. A cranky Williamsburg native engaged us, asking about our visits to the museums. “I’ve lived here all my life and we don’t need a museum about the British.” Or something like that. She is living her own revolution, while her home town economy depends on the very thing she spurns. Did I say conflicted?

On our way home on Sunday we stopped in at Shirley Plantation. The land was first settled in 1614 as a tobacco farm and the Great House was later completed by King Carter in 1738.

Yo at Shirley Plantation

Yo at Shirley Plantation

The Kitchen Building

The Kitchen Building

Inside the Kitchen

Inside the Kitchen

The top two floors of the plantation house is occupied by the 11th generation of the Hill Carter family. We had a tour of the main floor of the house and free rein over the property and its many out buildings. It seemed so odd, and yet so…Virginia. Pride in a great heritage of a great country lives here, along with the ghosts of those who toiled here. We felt proud of our history and at the same time, disturbed by it. I would say, conflicted.

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Body of Art

And Body Art, as it turns out.

Last weekend Yo and I went to the annual fundraising gala for Washington Proejct for the Arts, a non-profit that supports artists in the DC Metro area. WPA is also the beneficiary of Art Night, Hickok Cole’s fundraiser, held every year in Yolanda’s office. Both events are full of contemporary art and snazzy-looking people. This guy was his very own work of art.

Body Art

Body Art

WPA Gala

WPA Gala

WPA Director, Peter Nesbett, Right

WPA Director, Peter Nesbett, Right

Identical Twins

Identical Twins

Twins

Fraternal Twins

Earth Gold by Georgia Nassikas

Earth Gold by Georgia Nassikas

The event was held in a downtown DC office building still under construction, with two floors full of art for sale by auction.

We were taking in the scene when we came upon a familiar work of art, which we knew to be that of Dalya Luttwak (see previous Halloween post). And there she was!

Dalya and Me

Dalya and Me

Dalya has now popped into our lives various times from various sources, so we are destined to be bound together.

We also found our creative pals, Anna and Augie, who attend every year. Anna has just published her first novel on Amazon, The True Self Will Shine Black Diamonds and Augie recently founded a non-profit devoted to sustainable communities, Arlington Green. 

Cute Couple

Creative Couple

All in all, another artful evening in DC, reminding us that Art really does matter.

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Fluting with the Smithsonian

Back in October Yolanda and I attended a concert at the National Museum of American History to hear the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (see previous post). To our amazement, the band featured Dr. David Skorton, the brand new Secretary of THE Smithsonian, playing flute. The man has some chops!

Dr. David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian Photo courtesy of AP

Dr. David Skorton, Secretary of the Smithsonian
Photo courtesy of AP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the break we chatted with him, and in a feat of shameless self-promotion, I gave him my card. Just last week he showed up at my shop!

Before joining the Smithsonian, Skorton was the President of Cornell University, and before that, the University of Iowa. AND he’s an MD cardiologist. That’s a lot of talent and brainpower packed into one really nice guy.

David plays a Pearl flute. I replaced a couple of pads, did some shimming and re-seating, along with some general adjustments. He is looking forward to being a guinea pig for my experiment with synthetic flute pads. I believe this will help alleviate problems with temperature, humidity and finger pressure – all of which mess with the pads in various ways. Stay tuned!

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Different Drummers

Last weekend we went to a concert at the Church of the Epiphany to hear DC’s Different Drummers, of the Capitol Pride Symphonic Band. They sponsor a concert band, jazz swing band, and get this – a marching band! Several of the band members bring their horns to my shop, so I placed my very first ad in their concert program to show my support. There was another artful ad that I dare not show you here, featuring a seriously buff dude wearing…well, almost nothing, for a store called “bite the fruit.” Use your own imagination…or not.

My First Ad!

My First Ad!

The theme for the concert was a celebration of women, featuring compositions by women or inspired by women. Selections included the contemporary compositions, Fascinating Ribbons by Joan Tower, Zephyrus by Mary Ellen Childs and Carnivali by Julie Giroux.

Different Drummers

Not so Different Drummers

They also played a few crowd-pleasers like March of the Women Marines, and Shenandoah, then ended the program with John Philip Sousa’s, The Thunder, reportedly his wife’s favorite march.

It was great fun, reminding us of our long-ago days in the band. Yolanda recalled marching on the high school football field in a guitar formation for a rockin’ rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze. I was on the football team (mostly on the bench) AND I played in the marching band, so at half-time I had to do a quick change, then back again to accomplish both. I was much more accomplished at band.

These drummers may march to their own beat, but they’re not all that different when sharing the sound of music. Bravo! Brava!

Celebrating Women in Music

Celebrating Women in Music

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Foolishness at Studio Theater

Studio Theater is right across the street from where we live on 14th Street. It is DC’s premier venue for contemporary and classic theater, performed in three intimate venues. We don’t know much about theater, but we have gone to a number of shows over the years and always enjoy it. Last night we attended their “Fools Paradise” gala fundraiser, joining all the other fools in a night of experiential wonder. I can tell you a lot of people were wondering what kind of fools we were just walking to the corner to cross the street!

Space Fools

Spaced-out Fools

We were greeted by spirited dancers donning animal heads, swinging to a jazzy beat in the vestibule, followed by full size butterflies and peacocks. As we passed through the butterfly garden, we were serenaded by a barbershop quartet of Presidents, who were wandering around later in suit jackets and colorful boxers. Sorry, I didn’t get a photo of that.

Barbershop Presdients George W, Nixon, and Obama

Barbershop Presdients
Ronald Regan, George W, Nixon, and Obama

We explored further to find ourselves in the Safari lounge, where I met the Director of Development, Rodney Trapp and talked with a a few foolish folks with crazy jackets, hats and fanciful headgear.

Randy and Rodney in the Jungle

Randy and Rodney in the Jungle

Safari Lounge

Safari Lounge

Afterwards, we were shuttled into one of the theaters for an introduction by the Executive Director, Meredith Burkus. This was  followed by a short Cabernet, starring Christine Dwyer, who played Elphaba on Broadway in Wicked.

Executive Director, Meredith Burkus

Executive Director, Meridith Burkus, with Peacocks

Christine Dewey

Christine Dwyer

The next experience of the evening was dinner in the Aquarium, along with sharks, undersea divers, and the ever-present peacock girls.

DInner in the Aquarium

Dinner in the Aquarium

Meredith and Masked Friend

Meridith and her Half-masked Friend

All in all, it was a fun and foolish evening. And I’m sure it will not be the last!

Being Foolish

Forever Foolish!

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The Bohemians’ Last Stand

Bohemian Cavern, the historic jazz club that has been the site of many of the greats since 1926, is closing this weekend. This is a tragedy of a kind that is hard to fathom. Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and many others have shared their genius in the basement caverns of this historic place.

Bohemian Caverns

Bohemian Cavern

The club has struggled off and on over the years, opening and closing under different names, yet emerging again to carry on the tradition of America’s original musical form. It was a victim of the riots of 1968, which left U Street, and 14th Street, where we now live, in flames after the assignation of Martin Luther King. Our good friend, Diana, was in the midst of history that night.

Pearl Bailey at Bohemian Caverns (Club Crystal). Photo from The House HIstory of Man by Paul K Williams

Pearl Bailey at Bohemian Caverns (Club Crystal Caverns)                                          Courtesy of the House History Man, Paul K Williams

We have gone to many concerts there since I moved to DC, mostly to hear the house big band, The Bohemian Cavern Jazz Orchestra. It’s where I met my former partner and trombonist, Jeff Bonk. I’ve since met many musicians there, a number who have become my clients.

Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra

Bohemian Cavern Jazz Orchestra

We went to the last show of the Jazz Orchestra on Monday night to say farewell. They played selections by Thad Jones/Mel Lewis and arrangements by band members. They ended with a round-robin of solos from each band member based on a rockin’ blues vibe.

Last night for the Big Band

Last night for the Big Band

 

Joe Herrera, Co-Band Leader, on Trumpet (left)

Joe Herrera, Co-Band Leader, on Trumpet (left)

After so many gigs, we even got to know Fred, the security dude, ticket-taker and all around nice guy. After the show we had a group hug, vowing to look them up, wherever they may land.

Joe, Randy, Yo and Fred

Joe, Randy, Yo and Fred

The band played their hearts out that night, making us believe that jazz may yet fill the Caverns again!

 

 

 

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Movin’ with Joe

Last weekend we attended the “Feel the Rhythm of the Night” Gala at Joe’s Movement Emporium to enjoy some Latin dancing with our friends Mary Jane and Ed and celebrate their significant contributions to the organization. Joe’s provides dance and movement classes and programs for kids and adults from cultures around the world, so there’s always some fancy dancin’ going on.

Club Joe's dancers

Club Joe’s dancers

The Peruvian-inspired food was dynamite, the performances were great fun and the Orquesta La Leyenda was energetic – requiring us to shake it up – Latin style.

Peruvian dance by Joe's staff

Peruvian dance by Joe’s staff

Topping off the evening was the Mighty Joe Impact Award, presented to MJ and Ed for their many years of support. As great lovers of music, they continue to share that love with all the extra-ordinary Joes.

Awardees Ed and Maru Jane (left)

Mighty Ed and Mary Jane (left)

Congratulations!

Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball

 

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Something’s Fishy Outside the Beltway

It’s a good idea to take a trip outside the beltway to  get a glimpse of an understanding of just who might vote for the likes of The Donald. We set out for a long weekend to visit Yo’s family who converged on Pine Island on the Gulf coast of Florida. Upon arrival, we were informed by Yo’s uncle Greg, our weekend cruise director, that we were headed to The Lobster Lady for dinner.  YESSSSSSSS!!!

But before we were to indulge in crustaceans, we had to stop in to visit the manatees. Unfortunately, they weren’t as interested in us as we were in them, so we moved on to meet our dinner.

Manatee Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Manatee Park, Fort Myers, Florida

The Lobster Lady didn’t disappoint.

The Lobster Lady

The Lobster Lady Menu

This Lady wasn’t there that night, but we were nonetheless entertained by a jolly fellow singing Karaoke to tunes by Pasty Cline, Adele, Nat King Cole, and Prince, ending the set with a rousing version of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, with the “Oh, Oh Oh’s” gleefully sung by the crowd.

Kareoke Dude

Karaoke Dude

The dudes in the tank didn’t seem to mind as their last moments on Earth were numbered.

Lobster!

Tanked

Dinner is served!

Plated

On TV there are endless commercials of The Donald vs. Rubio. “Trump steals property from little old ladies!” “Marco is mortally wounded – in fact, he’s already dead!” Despite these claims it looks like Rubio could maybe possibly close the gap…if he could only grow a mustache by next Tuesday. Cruz is M.I.A. Clinton? Sanders? Who are they? Oh, and Kaisch. Is he still in the race?

Greg says there are a lot of people on the island who will vote for Trump. There are wild boars who terrorize retirees in golf carts, wild pigs that run lose, making a mess of the ladies’ gardens, and Burmese pythons that stop traffic. They need a President who can make Pine Island great again!

Talking a break from politics, we took an island tour and discovered some interesting stuff. There is a little strip of shops and old fishing huts in the town of Matlacha (Mat-lah-shay) that sport all the colors of the rainbow. Here we are at the Leoma  Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens.

Love Grove Gallerly

Lovegrove Gallery

A trip back in time

In the Garden of Lovegrove

But the fun didn’t stop there! We had dinner at The Lazy Flamingo, a place where you can BYOF. That would be Bring Your Own FISH! “You catch-’em, you clean-’em and we cook-’em!” We brought a lot of fish. Pompano, Mangrove Snapper and Sheepshead, prepared grilled, blackened and fried. It was awesome!

The next day Captain Greg took us out on a cruise of the canal system to Jug Creek. The water was too choppy to make it all the way to Cabbage Key, so we decided to do a little fishing. Emphasis on little.

Island Voyagers

Island Voyagers

The Canal

The Canal

For a few minutes I could entertain the fantasy of getting away from it all and just living on a canal with a boat and not much else.

The one that got away was bigger...

The one that got away was bigger…

Saturday morning we were up early to go sailing. Yard sailing, that is. Yo’s mom is an Olympic Gold Medalist in sailing; her brother, Greg, holds the Silver. I was there to troll for tools. I didn’t find any tools, but I did find something hard to find anywhere else.

Leoma Lovegrove

Leoma Lovegrove

It was none other than Leoma Lovegrove, of rainbow art gallery fame.

Trolling for tools

Trolling for tools

Yolanda, posing as as a photo journalist, was asked by a local to send her snapshots to The Pine Island Eagle newspaper for a story – which she did. It’s easy to be famous on Pine Island, so stay tuned…

After scouring many yards, we had breakfast at The Perfect Cup, where we saw this flyer. Too bad we won’t be here next weekend!

Mullet Tossing?

Mullet Tossing?

Maybe The Donald will be there trolling for votes. Obviously, he can toss Mullet farther than anyone. In fact, he could toss every last Mullet out of the country! Nobody likes Mullet anyway – useless fish.

For our last dinner we had the special treat of stone crab claws. The beauty of this beast is that the crabs grow new ones, creating an endless recycle of chow. In a feat of dexterity, Greg managed to flip a claw into the air while attempting to crack it, and it landed in Ava’s Ginger-rum cocktail. Then I dropped a claw into Yolanda’s wine, creating the new pass-time activity, “Claw Pong.” What are the odds?

Crab Claws

Crab Claws

Crab Pong

Crab Pong Cocktail

Our final adventure before heading home was to visit Fort Myers and the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Thomas Edison was a mentor a great friend of Henry Ford and they built vacation homes next to each other on the Caloosahatchee River. There is a nice museum there as well, along with Edison’s lab away from home, where he performed endless experiments while on vacation.

Edison & Ford Winter Estate

Edison & Ford Winter Estate

Edison's Lab

Edison’s Lab

The voters of Florida are about to perform their own experiment as they contemplate the Donald on Tuesday. It is hard to understand how it was come to this point and even harder to know how to get out of it. Last week Google reported that they had a record number of searches on “How to move to Canada.” That could be one answer, but perhaps they could consider voting for an alternative. In the interim, it’s time for me to return to my comfort zone inside the beltway!

The alternative?

The alternative?

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Snowzilla!

Not even Godzilla could have traveled very far in DC this weekend!

Snowzilla!

Snowzilla!

It started Friday afternoon and didn’t stop until the wee hours of Sunday morning. I worked a half day on Friday and returned to the comforting aroma of chicken and noodles with buttermilk biscuits! Not much else to do in the snow but catch up on Netflix….and cook.

Home-made egg noodles

Home-made egg noodles

We binged on a few episodes of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, an entertaining Australian series set in the 1920s, and then Yolanda’s daughter, Ava, urged us to get off our butts and get outta the house.

Bundled up

Me, Yo and Ava, bundled up for a Friday night stroll

Cafe talk at Le Diplomat

Cafe talk at Le Diplomat on 14th Street

We live on the 5th floor of a condo building on 14th Street with a terrace that keeps us busy and happy during the summer. Here is the sequence of snow from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning.

Friday morning

Friday afternoon

Saturday morning

Saturday morning

Saturday afternoon

Saturday afternoon

Sunday morning

Sunday morning at sunrise

Today we made lasagna. We needed a little more mozzarella cheese, so I took a stroll to Whole Foods to experience the great outdoors. It was closed, but I was able to pick up one lonesome cheese stick at CVS! We will make due.

Car in front of Whole Foods

Buried cars in front of CVS and Whole Foods on P Street

Back to food, with a side of music. Yesterday Yolanda made a delicious pork loin roast with Tuscan kale and left-over mac ‘n cheese (I forgot to take a photo). She also spent some time practicing her flute for Bizet’s L’Arlesienne No. 2, one of the pieces we are playing in the DC Concert Orchestra spring performance. I plugged away with long tones and lip-ups…in the car. Oh, don’t you just love playing brass?!

Making lasagna

Making lasagna

Meanwhile, some nit-wit with California plates tried to drive his Subaru out of our garage on Saturday evening, got stuck in front of the door and then left it there. He refused assistance from one of our kind residents at the time, so there was a condo investigation going on this morning to identify the perp and move the car out of the way.

Scene of the crime

Scene of the crime

This afternoon we ventured out for a walk and to visit Bob, our meticulous DC Concert Orchestra president. Yo is on the board, and with a few others, they formed a non-profit out of our musical tribe. Under the accomplished baton of Randall Stewart, we have improved tremendously and are looking for a new home that will be big enough for a full orchestra. On the way home, we made snow angels, sort of.

Snow Angel

Snow Angel

My family members in the wilds of Wisconsin are probably shaking their heads about now. Say this with your most convincing “sconie” accent with big, round vowels:  “Oh, shoot, those darn DC folks don’t know what ya do with the snow, ya know then. For cripes sake!”

But we do know something about lasagna.

Lasagna!

Lasagna!

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Merry Christmas!

To my family, friends and clients, I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  -Randy

Down to Earth and up to the Sky

Down to the Earth and up to the Sky

Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner

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