Poetry, Presidents and Plays
04.01.2013 - 23.01.2013 40 °F
January 4th 2013-moving day! Having spent three weeks in the Marriott Hotel in Navy Yard (overlooking the Washington Capitols baseball park), we move into an apartment building, the Loree Grand, in the NoMa district of DC. The apartment is a very -well appointed new construction, very close to 1007F Street and so still in "my neighborhood". From the 10th floor, we look west, overlooking the railway tracks that carry passenger and freight traffic all hours day and night. From Washington DC travellers can travel north to New York and Montreal and south to Savannah and New Orleans - a continent lies on my doorstep!
So much has been happening in the month of January that I've only just realised that it's now February, hence this will be a "Poe Pourri" of all I can recall having done!
The Holocaust Museum lies adjacent to the National Mall in Washington DC. I was privileged to accompany a group of students on a field trip (Sat. 12th) to the museum especially as the tour of the exhibits were conducted by trained student guides from Annandale High School. These students participate in a program aimed at sharing with their peers the events which led up to the Holocaust and the experiences of those who endured it. In doing so, the message of "Never Again" is brought home to young people and provides hope that such intolerance and suffering will never be practised or condoned.
On January 19th, I was whisked away by Joyann, Jim and Fiona to celebrate Edgar Allen Poe's 204th Birthday Bash in Baltimore! (Baltimore has some VERY LARGE PEOPLE taking up a lot of space on the sidewalks!). After a pleasant stroll around the Inner Harbor area, we made our way to Westminster Hall to pay our respects at the grave of one of "America's master artists", Edgar Allan Poe, a son of Baltimore. Amid much wailing from period costume attired Poe afficianados, some of whom were moved to take a swig of brandy, (the bottle deposited in homage at the graveside), we made our way into the former church building. A carnival atmosphere greeted us on entry and mysteriously, as though I were a character stepping out from one of Poe's short stories, I found myself inspecting the merchandise of the local "Raven Brewery", ("The Raven" being one of Poe's best known works)! In addition to the silent auction Poe memorabilia stand and the obligatory literary selection stall, I was intrigued to view Poe artefacts from the collection of an enthusiast who claims to house the smallest Poe Museum in the world! It's amazing how people spend their time (and money) don't you think...?! The event was full of ceremony as we toasted the great man with a swig of apple juice then sat back to enjoy some very chilling yet entertaining dramatic performances. Sadly, I didn't win a raffle prize (although Fiona did-a voucher for a Baltimore Eatery with links to Poe). However. my misfortune did not weigh heavy on me as I struggle to think how I could possibly have got through customs with a wax image head of Poe stuffed into a box! These heads, of which there were many, being a donation to the evening's festivities from the production company of "The Following" a new TV series (Fox) starring Kevin Bacon as an evil-doer obsessed by Poe.
Monday 21st January - Inauguration Day! What an event! Almost by magic overnight, DC was tranformed into a high security, restricted zone area with security personnel and their canine chums in very high profile. There was no mistaking that this was a big event and a memorable one at that! Out on the streets by 8a.m. I met up with Melissa, a friend and colleague from school and Javier, a friend and running mate of Melissa's. The atmosphere was electric and it wasn't long before I had made my Inauguration purchase from a street vendor of a commorative baseball hat! That together with a colorful collection of Inauguaration badges (buttons) and I was set to soak up the atmosphere of a Presidential Inauguration! Ducking and diving along our route and via the Metro for part of the way, we emerged on the National Mall and took up position along with thousands of others in telescopic lens view of the Capitol! An area immediately to the front of us was sectioned off for Press and TV companies, mainly cable and so we tried to put on our best smiles at every photo opportunity just incase we were beamed into someone's living room or trailer!
Huge TV screens enabled us to watch proceedings as they unfolded and once I had managed to grapple with a small child for an "Old Glory" flag, I was screaming and hollering with the best of them!
Inauguration ceremony over we found ourselves approximately three hours later on Pennsylvania Avenue stretching our necks for a glimpse of the President himself as he and Michelle did their walkabout. ( I actually saw a bit of him!) Then the Parade really began-marching band, military, horses, marching band, military, horses, marching band, military, horses etc...you get the idea?! Great fun and uniquely American! After ten hours on the streets however, I decided to call it a day and retired to the apartment for a soak in a warm bath and a review of some very memorable photos!
Henry V at the Folger - Melissa, Bill. Pete and I took advantage of preview night rates to attend this performance (Tues. 22nd) and very good it was too. The Folger is a unique theatre in DC in that it is a replica of a Shakespearian theatre but without the stench and rotten tomatoes!
If all the excitement of the previous 4 days wasn't enough, I took myself off on the following evening to a performance of "Alice in Wonderland" at the Kennedy Center, performed by the National Ballet of Canada. This has to be one of the best if not thee best ballet I have ever seen: amazing sets, costumes and dazzling choreography and performances from the dancers themselves-a real treat!
Whew-no wonder I didn't have a chance to write about all these events before now-I've been out too much and oh yes, there's work too!
Hang on, the best is yet to come-a Burns Bash at Annandale! That will require a full installment of its own!
Until next time...