What an interesting museum outing John O and I experienced today! John suggested that we go to the Smithsonian American Portrait Gallery-American Art Museum to see two specific exhibits.
"Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now"
We were informed that "silhouettes—cut paper profiles—were a hugely popular and democratic form of portraiture in the 19th century, offering virtually instantaneous likenesses of everyone from presidents to those who were enslaved." The purpose of this exhibition is to explore "this relatively unstudied art form by examining its rich historical roots and considering its forceful contemporary presence. The show features works from the Portrait Gallery’s extensive collection of silhouettes, such as those by Auguste Edouart, who captured the likenesses of such notable figures as John Quincy Adams and Lydia Maria Child, and at the same time, the exhibition reveals how contemporary artists are reimagining silhouettes in bold and unforgettable ways." My favorite work was the children dancing around a maypole. This installation occupied the entire room. The figures did not look like one-dimensional silhouette figures but were full of life and having lots of fun.
a detail of the maypole installation
Here are two other examples of silhouettes.
There were also several amazing adaptations of the silhouette technique. (Explanations soon)
"Diane Arbus: A Box of Ten Photographs"
We also quickly walked through "The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers," an exhibit that displayed a variety of types of American workers in various media including sculpture and painting.
We met again for the Virginia Richards Birthday Celebration.
Those present were Pam, Indra, Virginia's daughter Eleanor, and Christine. This tradition started many years ago when Christine and Virginia discovered that they had the same birthdays, June 28, and so they decided to celebrate together every year by going out to lunch.
For a few years they were joined by Susan F whose birthday was close to theirs. Then Indra joined Christine and Virginia. After Virginia died, Eleanor took her mother's place and Pam joined our group after we discovered that she was also a June baby.
It is a wonderful tradition. We remember our dear friend Virginia and are very happy that Eleanor joins us. The four of us are a great group!
My Italian friend Antonella and I met for lunch at Ichiban Sushi & Ramen in Shirlington Village. We enjoyed our food and especially our conversation, in Italian, of course!
I forgot to take photos. This is unfortunately becoming a bad habit. I did bring home a doggie bag for dinner and photographed it. My lunch and dinner consisted of delicious avocado sushi and a seaweed salad.
The 2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction, Andrew Sean Greer, drew a huge and very enthusiastic crowd at Washington's premier bookstore, Politics and Prose, last night. (It was standing room only and a lot of people were standing!) He was interviewed by Ron Charles, Editor of the Washington Post's Book World. Andy's responses to Charles and the many members of the audience were brilliant and usually hilarious. It was an extremely joyous event The place rocked.
Ron Charles (left) and Andrew Sean Greer (right)
Andy's proud father snapped a photo of me greeting his illustrious son.
He very kindly gave me a copy of the Italian translation of Less, which I am extremely eager to read. I hope it does justice to the original. Then I will read the French translation. The French, however, have dropped the ball. They haven't even translated Less yet! I will leave it up to Bill to read the German and the Norwegian versions and report back to me.
I am very interested in the art of translation. One of the very best books I have ever read is Umberto Eco's fascinating book on the subject, Dire quasi la stessa cosa. Esperienze di traduzione. I enjoyed meeting up with Norbert, Richard, and Yuki at the event. Unfortunately, I missed my dear friend Ginny.
Marie, Barbara, and I met for lunch at Proof, one of my favorite restaurants in DC. We had a lovely time. The highlight was Marie's account of her wonderful trip to Scotland with Henry. I came away with two memorable images - droves of baby lambs and the wall of the great Roman emperor Hadrian (Adriano in italiano). And their adventure driving on the wrong side of the road - bing, ding!
I ordered the grilled gnocchi with vegetables (corn, peas, and asparagus) and parmesan frico (in the photo on the right). Very nice! Marie was not happy with her initial order (in the photo on the left) and was given the opportunity for a second chance.
Much to our surprise, Marie noted a traditional Scottish dessert on the menu, Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake, so we ordered one and shared it. It was delicious!!
After lunch we went our separate ways. I went across the street to the Portrait Gallery to see the portraits of my two heroes, Barack and Michelle. I also saw the portraits of more of my heroes, Toni Morrison and Bill and Melinda Gates.
Toni Morrison, author of Beloved, one of the greatest books ever written.
Two great philanthropists making this world a better place
I also saw this Japanese take on George Washington crossing the Delaware. Quite lovely!
Nancy, Kim, and I met for lunch at Matchbox in Pentagon City. We discussed many interesting topics but the most interesting was the Seventeenth Street Band, the group Kim and her husband organized for the children in their neighborhood.
Nancy and I plan to go to their summer concert on July 15 in Potomac Overlook Park! We can't wait!
May and I went to lunch at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, House of Dynasty. It was hard saying good-bye because I am certainly going to miss her. However, we plan to meet again in her new locale in the not too-distant future. And there is always texting to keep au courant!
I met my Italian friend Marisa at the Swiss Bakery in Annandale (or is it Springfield?).
We enjoyed a wonderful chat while we sipped our cappuccini and munched on delicious pastries (apple strudel for her and a cornetto for me). I hope we can do this often since we are now close neighbors!
I met my friend Mary at the Hirshhorn this morning. We wanted to check out the remodeled first floor of the museum. We were impressed with the new cafe and the comfortable places to sit. A very warm, inviting environment has been created.
The cafe is called Dolcezza at the Hirshhorn. You can find coffee and the popular Dolcezza gelato here.
You can listen to a video in which Hiroshi Sugimoto, the designer of the new environment, explains his plan. His tables and chairs are circular and therefore fit in nicely with the building's cylindrical shape.
(not included in the photo two friends of Christine, Marie and the photographer Linda)
Our May selection was Andrew Sean Greer's Less, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. We met at Judy's home, our usual summer location, with many bringing delicious goodies to eat.
Andrew's father, Bill, was our special guest. We had a very enthusiastic discussion, interspersed throughout with questions directed at Bill about his son. The opinion of the book was favorable with high praise in particular for Andrew's impressive use of language. Many clever descriptions were noted as well as clever allusions to works of literature and of art. His attention to detail was considered masterful.
Marcello, Christian, and Colin took me to the House of Dynasty, a very nice Chinese restaurant in Springfield, for a special Mother's Day lunch celebration.
The day before a lovely surprise arrived at my house - a gorgeous gardenia plant with a special pin.
One flower bloomed the next day and three more have bloomed since. And what a heavenly fragrance!
A very special pin came with the plant.
Here was the accompanying message:
Bloom. Grow. Blossom.
is a line of thoughtfully designed gifts that celebrate those who have made a difference in someone's life. Whether you're a mom, mentor, teacher, sister, or friend, you have helped to make someone who they are today.. and they thank YOU. Wear this pin as a reminder that you've made an impact.
Our dear friend May will be leaving soon to begin a new and exciting chapter in her life in Tennessee. We had a party for her tonight.
The charming host was John O and we enjoyed his gracious hospitality in his lovely home. He served tasty Dubliner cheddar cheese and pretzel crackers and various drinks. Janet provided the main dish, delicious manicotti. May supplied a wide variety of Mideastern delicacies including birds' nests. Christine made a party jello salad (lime jello with cottage cheese, cool whip, and pineapple juice). Rosemarie made a scrumptious flan for dessert.
John Q, May, Rosemarie
Christine and Janet
After dinner we repaired into the living room for "speeches," music, and scintillating and amusing conversation.
Rosemarie and Chas
John and May
John presented May with a going-away card signed by those present. He included a photo that served as the prelude for the Shutterfly photo book that she will receive in the near future.
Christine expressed her appreciation to our host with a set of six coasters, each with a reproduction of a Van Gogh painting (including "Starry Night"). John Q performed on his guitar an original song he had written for May, using the tune from the hit Broadway musical "Auntie Mame."