Baron Dave at the Hirschhorn
Washington DC, Nov. 29, 2008CE
We went primarily to see the conceptual art of The Panza Collection. As a Conceptual Artist, I feel I have earned the right to look askance at conceptual art that doesn't work for me. Which was most of it. Still, some of the pieces were interesting. We didn't get to all the museum (which is large), but I admired the above piece. As you approach, it looks like an "x"-shaped object. When you go around, you find that it's simply a "v", partially mirrored to reflect even as it's mostly translucent enough to see through. Still, my favorite, of the ones we saw, was not in the Panza Collection, but in the inner ring sculpture exhibits. Called "Singing Frog", it's a small bronze work that looks like a cacophony. At the very base of the sculpture is a bronze frog. I could imagine the sounds emanating from the small creature looking very much like that.
Baron Dave, Newsmania champion
Newseum, Washington DC, November 30, 2008CE
The Newseum bills itself as "The Worlds Most Interactive Museum". Whether that's true or not, I'd have to rate the place as a Must See. Apparently, it recently moved into this new space, which is much larger. We were only there for a few hours, and it wasn't nearly enough time. You could allot a floor a day for the six floors. Mom and I never made it to the orientation film, as the film in the 4-D Theater was about to start. The short film (about 20 min) tells three stories of freedom of the press. The animation is simply astonishing; the best use of 3-D I've ever seen. By a lot. The middle, "moving", seats are the place to be. Similar in conception but much better than Disneyland's 1986 Captain EO. Really, it's worth a trip to the Newseum just to see it.
Many of the exhibitions have to do with news, whether news through the ages, all the Pulitzer Prize photos, a special exhibit on 9/11 including a piece of the WTC or a hall with dozens of front pages from all over the world. Every place I turned, there was a small theater showing something interesting. The building has two working broadcast studios. George Stephanopolis does his weekly show from one. The other has seats for an audience. I was part of Newsmania (above), a game show formatted quiz on current events. My team won, of course, largely because of me. They cycled through five sets of contestants, and our team scored more than any of them. We won a Newseum pen.
The building itself is amazing. Open, airy, with exhibits and theaters tucked everywhere and huge screens with interesting images. Even the bathrooms are worth a look-see. You'll have to wait for the gallery to see more, I'm afraid.
I'll be back.
The Newseum is close to Union Station, one of the reasons we went on Sunday. Mom peeled off to take the train. As it turned out, the Newseum is also just a few blocks from the Yellow line, directly connecting to National. I left the Newseum just before closing. Walked about two blocks, elevator down. Metro. People mover. Elevator. Shuttle bus. (I may be missing some public transportation in here.) I was expecting a huge crowd, at the airport the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but the security line was almost non-existent. I got to my terminal waaaaay early. So early, that the previous flight to Mpls was boarding. I'd tried to get on that flight months ago, and again earlier in the day when printing out my boarding pass. But just then, the flight attendant was calling for a missing passenger or two. "Would _____ please report to the gate." She sounded desperate.
Without putting down my bag, I walked over to the gate, proffered my boarding pass, and said, "I'm on the next flight to Minneapolis. Can I get on this one?" She looked at the paper, checked on the computer, and said, "It's a middle seat in a back row. And it's a $25 charge to change flights." "I'll take it!" She pushed a few more buttons. "...And we'll make it a freebie." I didn't ask why, but simply smiled and took the new boarding pass. I was nearly the last person on the plane, but minute or so later another gentleman, who had driven 350 miles through the rain to get to the airport, joined us as we boarded. Everything went smoothly, and we took off roughly as scheduled.
A little more than an hour after leaving the Newseum (I told you to keep that time period in mind), I was in the air. A personal record, I think; certainly the quickest connection post-9/11.
I will leave you with one more Tua pic. Her father (my brother Joe) is reading from a book her grandmother (standing) got at the Hirschhorn.
Tua, father, grandmother
reading Lemons Are Not Red
Washington DC, November 30, 2008CE