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Monday, September 29, 2014

Free 'First Wednesday' noon concerts debut Oct. 1 at St. John's, Lafayette Square



The U.S. Army Chorus
 
On October 1 the United States Army Chorus will inaugurate this season's First Wednesday Concert Series at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, accompanied by Benjamin Hutto, organist and director of music ministry at the church.
 
Formed in 1956 to join the U.S. Army Band, the U.S. Army Chorus regularly sings with the National Symphony Orchestra on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and at other patriotic events, and performs for visiting heads of state.  Choristers speak more than 26 languages and dialects, and most hold advanced music degrees.

Their repertoire includes traditional military music, pop, Broadway, folk, and classical tunes. 

Also known as "Pershing's Own," the U.S. Army Chorus is one of the few professional male choruses in the nation, and it sings with symphonies and in concert halls across the U.S.

This year's concert series includes several firsts:  the first jazz concert (Feb. 4, 2015), first concert with bagpipes and organ (Mar. 4, 2015), and the first "complete works" (Jan. 7, 2015).
St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
St. John's, known to many Washington residents as the yellow church at Lafayette Square, is often called the “Church of the Presidents.” Beginning with President James Madison, who served from 1809 to 1817, every president has either been a member or has attended services at St. John's. A plaque at the rear of the church designates the pew where President Abraham Lincoln often sat when he stopped by St. John's during the Civil War.

All concerts will start at 12:10 p.m. (with an exception in April), and last about 35 minutes. Food trucks are located at Farragut Square, two blocks away, for those on lunch break.

Who: The U.S. Army Chorus

What: The First Wednesday Concerts

When: 12:10 p.m., October 1, 2014


Where: St. John’s, Lafayette Square, 1525 H Street, NW, at the corner of 16th, Washington, D.C. 20005

How much: No charge

Duration: About 35 minutes

Wheelchair accessible

Metro stations: McPherson Square (White House exit), Farragut North, or Farragut West

Food trucks: Located two blocks away at Farragut Square


For more information: Contact Michael Lodico, St. John's associate organist and choir director, at 202-270-6265

Future dates and artists of the First Wednesday Concerts are:

November 5: Greg Morris, associate organist at London's Temple Church, plays A London Portrait

December 3: Madrigal Singers from St. Albans & National Cathedral schools directed by organist Benjamin Hutto, sing seasonal music

January 7, 2015: Iris Lan plays the Complete Sonatas of Paul Hindemith on the organ


February 4: Lena Seikaly, jazz vocalist, with the Dan Dufford Trio performing works by Duke Ellington and friends


March 4: Jared Denhard, bagpiper, assisted by Michael Lodico, St. John's organist and choirmaster, performing Pipes and More Pipes

April 19 (Sunday), 4 p.m.: Spring Concert by St. John's Choir

May 6: The U.S. Air Force Strings accompanied by Benjamin Hutto performing a Handel organ concerto and other pieces

June 3: Benjamin Straley, organist at the Washington National Cathedral


patricialesli@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

People's Climate March photos and a nomination

Marchers from Virginia were well represented in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014 in New York City.  Under the stellar direction of Susan Bonney, the Sierra Club chartered 12 buses for 700 Virginia members and friends.  This was a scene on Central Park West /Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign says: "Dear Big Oil, Our love affair is over.  You make me sick."  Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
From the steps of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at the corner of W. 65th St. and Central Park W. The church generously opened its doors to marchers who needed bathroom facilities and maybe, a place to worship/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014.  Instead of metal and plastic posts for signs, the city approved cardboard signs and posts which the Earth liked better, too/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014. The police were well-behaved all day; some even smiled.  The People's Climate March had plenty of staff on hand to guide participants and answer questions.  Talk about organization!  The U.S. Congress would do well to take lessons from the People's Climate March. Think about it:  Who/what else could bring 400,000 together to march in an orderly fashion and deliver the most important message on Earth? More than kudos to the People's Climate March organizers! I nominate People's Climate March for the Nobel Peace Prize/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Looking up Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014.  Everywhere, all day long were people.  People up Central Park West, people down Central Park West.  We never saw the beginning nor the end of the People's Climate March. The people spoke.  And chanted. And sang and shouted, and chatted amongst ourselves.  And after two minutes of pre-planned "silence" at 12:58 p.m., 400,000 musicians blew horns, whistles, trumpets, and made merry with cymbals, strings, shouts, clapping, and bells at 1 p.m., in an explosion of sound which rolled up and down the streets, a wave of cacophonous medley unlike anything I have ever heard/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. stopped to shake hands at W. 65th St. and Central Park West at the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
There they go, the new Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., up W. 65th St., at the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
A moving statue on Central Park West in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The Earth rolls along Central Park West in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Students from Drew University attended the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014.  Topless women with chests decorated a la Miley Cyrus came, too/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along Central Park West with Green Mountain College in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Vegans were numerous in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014 in New York City.  About two trillion pounds of animal waste are deposited annually in the U.S., polluting drinking water, the environment, and people. My "bus buddy" was a vegan who educated me about the practice. What's life without cheese, butter, beer, and ice cream, I pondered.  He said some vegans shun honey because it comes from bees.  So, that's where they are. Bee waste.  I tell you, it's a problem. (He ate some of my honey-roasted nuts, and the chocolate cookies and breakfast bars Susan passed around, hidden that he was by the tall bus seats which provided cover from vegan scorn.  (Google that.) There was more than one vegan on the bus. Are you kidding?  This was the Sierra Club.)
To solve the problem and discontinue harmful consumption, why don't we just all starve and save the Planet?Photo by Patricia Leslie
The signs say (left) "All we are saying is GIVE EARTH a CHANCE" and (right) "A Fried Earth is No Yolk." The best sign of the day:  "There is no PLANet B."  Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
"Where's my daddy?  Where'd my daddy go?"  Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
"There's my daddy! And my mommy."  Along Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The Donald did not come out of his hotel to greet us on Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Hold it!  Hold it right this minute for a ritual mid-street on Central Park West with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
This couple played their guitars on Avenue of the Americas, and marchers joined them to sing "This land is your land" in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014.  Not far from here was the Bank of America building, protected by barriers, where marchers directed a loud, constant chant: "Bank of America!  BAD for America!" /Photo by Patricia Leslie
The sign says:  "Say No! Fracking, Keystone.  Say Yes! Wind, Solar" with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014 on Avenue of the Americas/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along Avenue of the Americas with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014, and the Earth rolls along on top/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Along W. 42nd St. with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On W. 42nd St., he said he had accidentally rubbed his horns into a woman who was not injured, in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
"Concerned Families of Westchester" with the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On 11th Avenue, maybe it's a big tree root with nest on top, powered by men on four sides riding parts of two bicycles, front and back, in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014.  Following them not far behind, an elderly couple stopped and asked us if we had seen an "ark" going by.  Maybe this was an ark?  It was easy to get separated from your party since just about 400,000 showed up to make a big statement/Photo by Patricia Leslie
A large tent lady on 11th Avenue in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
The smartest people of the day, two women, natch, rode in style in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On 11th Street in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Alas, all good things must come to an end.  For Asheville, N.C. participants, the final leg of the trip was just another 12 hours on the bus, but what's 24 hours inside a tube when the Earth is at stake?.Besides, 12 hours was probably enough time to sing"1000 bottles of beer on the wall." Along 11th Street in the People's Climate March, Sept. 21, 2014/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 
 
 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Movie review: 'Herb & Dorothy 50 x 50' is worth a look

 
Dorothy and Herb Vogel at home with art/photo from herbanddorothy.com
 
You may have read about Herb Vogel (1922-2012)and his wife, Dorothy Vogel (b. 1935), contemporary art enthusiasts who bought over decades almost 5,000 works of art with their public service salaries, and stored the pieces in their New York one-bedroom apartment.

And you may have seen the documentary by Megumi Sasaki about them and their collection, Herb & Dorothy, which won several awards at five film festivals after its release in 2008.

A sequel, Herb & Dorothy 50 x 50, opened last year, produced and directed again by Ms. Sasaki, who gathered about $220,000 from crowd sourcing to make it.

The Vogels started their collection after they got married in the 1960s, and rather than choosing works based on income potential, they bought what they liked, what they could afford, and what they could take home on the subway or in a taxi.
The Vogels in earlier years/photo from herbanddorothy.com
 
Herb was a postal worker and Dorothy, a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library.

They acquired mostly conceptual and minimalist art, and some post-minimalist pieces. Some of the artists represented in the collection were Chuck Close, Barbara Schwartz, Picasso, Judith Shea, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Spencer, and Bettina Werner to name a few.  (Wikipedia lists many more.)

In 1992 the couple chose the National Gallery of Art as a repository for their assembly since it does not charge admission, does not sell art, and is accessible. 

The Vogels wanted the public to own their collection, and because of its size, they began a collaboration in 2008 with the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, on their "50 x 50" project to distribute 50 works each to a museum in all 50 states (totaling 2,500).  

It is publicly unknown how the choices of the museums which received the Vogels' art were made, however, it is perplexing that about 65% of them (32) charge admission which violates one of the Vogels' tenets.  (One, Kentucky's Speed Museum is closed for renovation until 2017.)  

The museums which do not charge admission (17) are  the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama, Arkansas Arts Center, Yale University Art Gallery in Connecticut, Southern Illinois University Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Spencer Museum of Art in Kansas, University of Michigan Museum of Art, and Weisman Art Museum in Minnesota.

Also not charging are Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Missouri, Joslyn Art Museum in Nebraska, Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery in Nevada, Hood Museum of Art in New Hampshire, Weatherspoon Art Museum in North Carolina, South Dakota Art Museum, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art in Utah, and the University of Wyoming Art Museum.

Those museums which each house 50 of the Vogels' gifts of art for the public and charge admission (32) are:  the Brooks Museum of Art, Tennessee, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, California, Columbia (South Carolina) Museum of Art, Montclair (New Jersey) Art Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Delaware Art Museum, Plains Art Museum in North Dakota, Hawaii's Honolulu Museum of Art, Robert Hull Fleming Museum in Vermont, University of Alaska Museum of the North, Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Perez Art Museum in Florida, High Museum in Georgia, Boise Art Museum in Idaho, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Iowa, New Orleans Museum of Art in Louisiana, and Maryland's Academy of Art Museum.

Also charging are Harvard Art Museum in Massachusetts, Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin, Mississippi Museum of Art, Yellowstone Art Museum in Montana, New Mexico Museum of Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery in New York, Akron (Ohio) Art Museum, Oklahoma City Museum, Portland (Oregon) Art Museum, Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Blanton Museum of Art in Texas, West Virginia's Huntington Museum of Art, and the Seattle Art Museum in Washington. (For more information go to Wikipedia or the Vogels' 50x50 website.)

After Herb died, Dorothy announced that she was closing the collection.  The 2013 film shows their apartment where the Vogels kept their purchases stored in boxes, under their bed, in closets, and wherever they could find space. 

Once the art was removed for transfer, the film's before and after scenes show what a grand difference art can make to sad and barren walls and surroundings.

A comment about the music in 50 x 50 by David Majzlin: It is magnificent, floats, and never obscures the message, capturing by instrument and note, the mood and style of the Vogels whose gifts are enthusiastically welcomed by the people of the United States, especially those who have accessibility. 

patricialesli@gmail.com

 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, do we have to?

The sad and lifeless Pentagon Memorial/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Every year it's the same.

Every year we relive the horrible memories of that terrible day.

We recall the fires, the planes crashing into the buildings, the smoke and ruin, the unbelief and helplessness we experienced then and which we experience every September 11.

You think we've forgotten?  That anyone can forget September 11?

Do you think the terrorists would be pleased we recognize their vicious attack all day every September 11 with pictures, video, and words?  That we memorialize their actions with our constant reinforcement of what happened? That this might have been on their agendas?  That the reminders serve to strengthen our enemies and offer incentives to do it again?

Why don't we recall the deaths of our 4,489 soldiers and the 32,021 wounded in Iraq after Bush and Cheney struck that nation on March 19, 2003?  Why don't we honor those brave men and women, their families, and  their sacrifices with memories?  We forget them, but we don't need pictures and words to instantly recall the goals of the terrorists on that beautiful September morning that is always the same.

patricialesli@gmail.com

 

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Down on Mark Warner's farm

"This big piggy went to market, that little piggy stayed home, this big piggy ate roast beef, that little piggy had none, and this big piggy cried:  'I'm getting all et up!'"/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Somewhere in Northern Virginia a few folks turned up for Lisa Collis and Mark Warner's pig roast on their farm/Photo by Patricia Leslie
They are lined up for.../Photo by Patricia Leslie

Uummmm, uuummmmm, delish and oh, so tender. Sunglasses, not roasted/Photo by Patricia Leslie
In addition to the big roasted piggy, dinner on the grounds included burgers, dogs, the fix'uns, coleslaw, marinated tomatoes with cucumber and onions, sodas, beer, homemade lemonade, and, on the table above, watermelon and brownies/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Not everyone wore blue at the picnic, just those surrounding Virginia District Attorney Mark Herring (center) who wanted to talk some commonwealth politics. Among other notables, whom Senator Mark Warner welcomed to the roast, were Sue Langley, Jennifer Boysko, Stephen Spitz, Bruce and Kathy Neilson, Linda Burchfiel, and Paul Jameson/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Darn it all, I forgot my suit/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Ahoy, matey! A bath house!/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Always popular popcorn/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Inside this vat are all the chemicals heated up to douse the popcorn which makes it so distasteful to eat and so delish to consume/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Face paints, anyone?/Photo by Patricia Leslie

Asked the lad:  "Why do people complain about walking up the steps?" which descended to the dock. Answered a senior citizen: "Because they are old." (Not the steps!)/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Guests could canoe, kayak, and ride a paddle boat on the Rappahannock River/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On the Rappahannock/Photo by Patricia Leslie  
The beautiful and lovely pines provided welcome shade on a hot day/Photo by Patricia Leslie 
All good things must come to an end/Photo by Patricia Leslie
On the Rappahannock/Photo by Patricia Leslie