The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review


What a perfectly gorgeous day for being at the Folklife Festival -- last year we had to miss it, as we were out of town, and the year before when it was a hundred degrees with smoke from Quebec forest fires blowing over the region, I wound up in the hospital with a migraine (I'd never had a full-blown one before, didn't realize that dizziness, throwing up and the belief that violent death could not be more painful than such a headache were all normal symptoms). Today it was in the low 80s and breezy, not too mobbed to get drinks whenever we felt like it, and my father decided to come with us after dropping my mother off at the airport to visit my sister so we took a leisurely pace through.

In addition to exhibits on Haiti and on Latino music (which could be heard all across the National Mall), one of the themes of this year's festival is Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities. There was a Chesapeake Bay skipjack -- an oyster boat -- on display along with boat-building tents where people were actually building little rowboats and sailboats, exhibits on commercial fishing and crab traps (Phillips Seafood was there, selling crab cakes and making the entire Mall smell like a fried seafood restaurant which is all to the good as far as I'm concerned), artists carving decoys, water safety and rescue information, and many models of ships. We wandered through those tents, then briefly through the Haitian cooking exhibits.

Then we walked through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden into the museum to see a collection of landscape paintings by Sanford Gifford, one of the Hudson River School artists; we used to go to the Wadsworth Atheneum and the New Britain Museum of American Art when my in-laws lived in Hartford, where the influence of Church, Cole and Bierstadt is much in evidence, and where I discovered Gifford. Autumn was apparently his favorite season, and sunset his favorite time of day, and he loved mountains and shores, so the paintings are suffused with red and violet light and there's a great deal of greenery and waterside scenery -- as with most of the Hudson River School artists, with the people and animals greatly diminished by the landscapes. He lost a brother in the Civil War, which is a big theme in his work, and you can see where Thomas Kinkade swiped some of his mountain lake imagery and use of light.

I'll take a break from nature photography for some pictures from downtown...

The festival looking toward the Washington Monument...

...and toward the Capitol Building.

A Chesapeake Bay skipjack, once seen gathering oysters all over the Bay, now quite rare.

A ship-building demonstration, with the dome of the National Museum of Natural History in the background.

A lesson on rigging for kids.

The National Gallery Sculpture Garden fountain...

...and the fountains and glass pyramids overlooking the concourse level of the East Building.

We came home for dinner as the boys start camp tomorrow and wanted time to chill out. I had to fold laundry and put on Jesus Christ Superstar while they were playing down the basement; to my surprise they both came up to watch, having heard the music, and we ended up talking them through the Gospels while watching. I should perhaps add that, being Jewish, some of my earliest exposures to the Gospels were via JCS and Godspell, long before I actually read the New Testament, so my Jesus has always been a hippie Jesus who fights corrupt authority, preaches love and doesn't put up with infighting among his followers regarding things they don't approve of concerning one another's lifestyles. How come the Fundamentalists have never heard of that Jesus? I can see him in the Gospels just fine.

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