You may recall in one of my last blogs I lamented that all these cool Smithsonian Associates events are peopled almost exclusively by pensioners. Well, in the last couple of weeks, Smithsonian at 8, the people behind the cool after hours drinks parties in museums, have started using their Facebook page to promote all the cool stuff the Smithsonian Associates is doing. They're posting a little too vigorously right now, but on the other hand, they'll figure it out, and it's a great way to keep up to date with all the great stuff they're doing. Worth a 'like' if you're that way inclined...
I anticipated last week would be film festival week and indeed I got to two of the events. The animated shorts as part of DC Indy Film Festival were largely very entertaining and often charming. I liked the one called Sausage best, I think. I always think the Naval Memorial is an odd place for film festivals. But it's more convenient than the Atlas, which would possibly be my favorite DC arts venue if it wasn't peskily located far far away in the hip part of H Street. Amidst their Intersections Festival, which is on til March 8th, they screened Rewind, a retrospective of the best films from 10 years of the DC Shorts film festival. It was an inspired, beautifully curated choice of films and I had a delightful 100 minutes - and even happened to run into one of our most dedicated Perfect Liars Club audience members! Not only that, but Atlas have all sorts of cool free performances in their foyer as part of the festival. You can see them again on March 7th. But if you're not going, you can watch my favorite, Pigeon Impossible, here.
Since we were in H Street anyway (having cycled all the way there from Georgetown, and noting the new tram lines which are quite the bike wheel hazard!), we decided to take advantage of some other H Street delights. We joined the line at &Pizza and were delighted to conclude it was just as delicious as its reputation. And we did something that has been my dream since first coming to DC: minigolf at H Street Country Club! Sure enough, it lived up to my hopes. They have 9 cool, fun DC-themed holes, and if anyone should ever be trying to date someone very like me, I'm just saying this would be a brilliant choice of date (perhaps combined with an Uber...). I am already looking forward to going again (having had withdrawal symptoms since the Building Museum ended their summer minigolf), and hoping Pinstripes or suchlike further west DC establishments might be inspired to add a minigolf course closer to my house... Did I mention - I think minigolf is fun.
But if you're in a more arty frame of mind, I also had a fun time at the Corcoran museum on Wednesday night, at a Hitchcock-themed Corcoran Uncorked event. While disappointed that they hadn't advertised the time they were screening films so I missed them, I very much enjoyed constructing a finger puppet bird from The Birds, and screen printing a silhouette of Hitchcock himself, and stealing some of my lovely wife's wine and popcorn after foolishly claiming I didn't want any. I also had fun at American Cool, the latest big popular exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. But my advice to you: leave it a few weeks before going. It's on til September and currently (well, at the weekend), it is absolutely mobbed. You have to stand in line just to see the pictures. You're trampled as you try to read the information. And if you're anything like me, you'll flee, feeling harassed. Which is a shame as the concept of 'what is 'cool'?' is an intriguing one. My conclusion from the exhibition: if you want to be designated 'cool' by the Smithsonian, you had better be a musician (ideally jazz), or at a pinch, a film star. I'm concerned this may foil my inclusion when they're curating the 21st century version... amongst other things.
My literary event of the week was Literary Death Match - this group's sixth visit to DC. I caught them twice before, at DC9 and the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. The ambience of Sixth and I wasn't quite right - it lost some of the irreverent energy and fun this show usually has. But I still love the concept of pitting authors against each other, judging them on silly criteria, and having a finale based on, in this case, Jewish literary Pictionary. Inspired. And a great way to showcase local authors. (I also enjoyed drinks in Hogo, the tiki/rum conjoined twin of The Passenger (which was full that night). Odd ambience due to the bright lighting, I think, but delicious cocktails (and, ahem, fries...).
And finally, of course we had to enjoy Sunday's spring preview. In the beautiful sunshine, my lovely wife and I cycled to Dupont Circle and strolled around the farmers' market munching crisp, farm-fresh apples, and onward to Blind Dog Cafe for lunch (and the city's best chocolate chip cookies) on their sunny patio, before strolling through Meridian Hill Park, and cycling back to Georgetown through Rock Creek Park. Sometimes Washington can be truly idyllic.
Some cool things coming up in the next week
Tue 25th - I'm going to DoubleX Love Fest at Sixth and I which was postponed due to snow on Feb 13th (hope it doesn't happen again!). It's at 7pm. If you like female-themed talkshow podcast things (okay I really don't know what it is but it sounds quite cool) I imagine they'll have spare tickets due to the rescheduling. $15. If I wasn't going to that, I'd be tempted to check out the new comedy night at The Brixton, Tuesdays with Funnie or go to General Assembly to learn about how Brightest Young Things became 'the locus of Washington's new cool art and music scene.
Thu 27th - The Science Club has a new 'educational comedy' night at 8:30 called After Class. Actually, it's not that new now, but I still haven't checked it out. Maybe this will be the week. Oh, also the Washington Jewish Film Festival starts tonight, and goes on til 9th March.
Friday 28th - It's mid-afternoon, sure, but I'm looking forward to sneaking out for a talk by one of the inventors of the cellphone at the American Museum of History at 2:30.
Monday 3rd March - It's Perfect Liars Club! If you have tickets, see you there! Doors from about 6pm. If you don't have tickets, come put your name on the waitlist from 6pm, tickets will be sold from 6:45pm til we're full! It's going to be great!