I haven't been at the computer for a couple of days and I really enjoyed having a pretty computer free weekend. From about Thursday to Saturday was kinda art intensive for me.
Thursday I attended the Tactile Dinner at the Big Bear Café with the Help. We were seated separately, but he enjoyed himself and his tablemate. Having had experienced the Fringe Festival version and this, maybe not having any expectations helps. This second go around had me missing some things from the first, but couldn't be done with the space. Instead of a projection, as in the Fringe production, F.T. Marinetti, walked amongst us. We enjoyed ourselves; though the Help was a little sad he was not picked to perform an embarrassing task (arm flapping or hula hoop motions). Yes, audience participation was a part of it; the dinner is experienced with the eyes and the tongue, not so much the nose this time around. I was sitting next to the Washington Post reporter so, read her article for more on that.Friday I decided to walk home and I wanted to duck away from the main strip of 7th Street and wandered into a pop up art project at 625 E St NW, and was really struck by the work of artist Margaret Bowland.
Her piece "Another Thorny Crown" grabbed my attention I got me to thinking of cotton, and what my late grandmother (the mean one) said about picking cotton. Then it was off to 5th St Hardware for dirt & zip ties.
Saturday, when I was preparing to test out the new Metropolitan Branch Trail, my neighbors B & IT asked me if I wanted to join them for some Alliance Française event over in Anacostia. They said it would be about an hour. So I put off the bike riding and joined them. The event was based on a 500 short stories collection called Microfictions, and 5 actors in five different areas of the neighborhood would perform one of the stories in a monologue that we, the audience would observe. We gathered over at the Big Chair, where I noticed the 90 bus going by (so there is the Anacostia-Shaw connection) then our slow moving group moved over to an art gallery with a nice big window on to the street. From across the street we saw an actress who can best be described as a cat lady with a drawn on mustache, with a hidden microphone, give her monologue from the seat of a minivan. We watched from inside, hearing her and the passing cars, at a point she crossed the street and was talking at the window, then at the end walked out of frame. Other points had us walking along MLK Ave SE, to a darkroom, a green building learning center, the upstairs of the Big Chair Café, then several blocks over to the Frederick Douglass house where it ended. First, I really liked the structure of it. It was a great way of exposing me to the neighborhood that is in the here and now. That is present day Anacostia as opposed to historically past tense Anacostia. We saw an active Big Chair Café. I saw the salads served and they looked good. I saw (comparing my own neighborhood) no one hanging out on corners. I enjoyed the reception at the Douglass house, particularly the views of DC and the orange juice and peanuts. Now with that said, I hated the monologues themselves. I would have enjoyed it more if it were in French. Loved the structure of the event. Loved the idea of different vignettes being acted out in different parts of the neighborhood. And I understand that they were a translation from French to English, but even with the best translation, I don't think I would have liked the material even more. Without any sarcasm, it was a great event.
Afterwards we decided to go on a house tour at the Frederick Douglass house, which was fine. I like looking at people's houses from the inside.