As a former English major, you can say I'm a bit of a Shakespeare nerd. So I couldn't wait to head down to the Folger Shakespeare Library
to check out some of their rare and bizarre collections for Ben and I's Closer Inspection
. Bracelets made of hair? Centuries-old books filled with instructions for spells? Sign this girl up!
The best part was undoutedly when Folger director Michael Witmore handed me a small leather-bound book.
"This is a copy of Shakespeare’s poems and you can see from the size -- you should hold this in your hand for a second -- This is the copy that Walt Whitman
carried in his pocket. It’s nuts. He signed it."
"Here is this man essentially writing out the blue print for American poetry carrying this book in his pocket," Witmore continued. "It is the direct connection of the English literary Renaissance tradition with American vernacular lyric poetry."
I could tell a nearby curator was about to have a heart attack when Witmore did this (I wasn't wearing gloves and this is a priceless artifact). But how could I not? I got to hold a book that was in Whitman's pocket every day in my palm. Surreal doesn't even begin to describe it.
It's moments like these that remind how lucky I am to do what I do. As a reporter for over half my life, I've gotten to dive into so many different worlds. It's a role I relish and don't think I'll tire of any time soon. Now if there was a way to teach my pup how to transcribe
, I'd really be in heaven!
As always, here are some extra tid-bits that couldn't fit in the one pager. Enjoy!
This dagger belonged to Victorian actor Sir Henry Irving and was used during his performances of “Hamlet.”
It wasn’t long before figurines of Shakespearean actors -- such as this 1852 Staffordshire pottery piece of John Philip Kemble -- began to be collected by fans. “Not that this is the Tom Cruise of the 18th century,” says Witmore, “but you can see the media machine developing.”
This 1900 woven gold jeweled belt was worn by actress Helena Modjeska in Paris as she played Cleopatra in “Antony & Cleopatra.”
An 1886 French edition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was hand-painted in 1908 by American artist Pinckney Marcius-Simons. “The imagery is so lucid and extravagant,” says Witmore.
Similarly, contemporary artist Sue Doggett created a one-of-a-kind sketchbook in 1995 of “The Tempest.”
I wanted Ben to get a picture of me holding Whitman's poetry book, but when Witmore left the room, I didn't want to ask the curator to grasp it again, knowing what the answer would be this time. So here I am posing next to it like an idiot. Good times!
To eat at Filomena
in Georgetown is quite the experience (prepare for leftovers!). To eat in the "Filomena Kitchen
," a small dining room in the restaurant used by VIPS and for special occasions, is quite another. The room, dedicated to owner JoAnna Chiacchieri's mother Filomena for whom the Italian eatery is named, is resplendent with charming family lore. Here's Ben
and I's Closer Inspection
and accompanying photo gallery
. Below, are more knicknack facts
Chiacchieri told me that didn't make print, but are still quite interesting.
A tricycle Chiacchieri rode as a child sits next to a pair of skates she and her four siblings shared. They’d be strapped on to the wearer’s shoes and adjusted to the appropriate size by a skate key.
This teddy bear isn’t just any stuffed animal to Chiacchieri. “That was the first gift I got from a boy,” she says. “Back in my day that was a big deal.”
Filomena was not only an excellent cook, but she had a knack for crotchet. She stitched these shoes for all of her children and made delicate hats for the girls.
While these aren’t usually on display, Chiacchieri has hung onto her mom’s pasta cutters. They’d be hand-rolled to seal and crimp the edges of pasta (like ravioli).
This Murano glass chandelier hung in Filomena’s kitchen. “There were many family dinners under this lamp. It looks so much like my mom,” says Chiacchieri.
This old weather vane was kept inside near a window. “The children came out when it was good weather,“ explains Chiacchieri. “When it rained, the witch came out.”
She's not very good at transcribing or typing. She also barks at the printer. Nevertheless, Page is an extremely welcome addition to the Kris Coronado writing team.
For those who know me, I've been wanting to have a dog for a while. I grew up with a black lab (Cole) and want my kids (whenever I have those!) to do the same. Finally, Sean agreed it was time. Within a week of deciding we wanted to get a dog, we noticed Page (previously named Pageant, but yeah you can see why we changed it!) on the Washington Humane Society Web site
. We were smitten. A day later, we got to meet her in person by paying a visit to her foster home
. We took her on a walk and there was no question. Three days later, we brought her home and she's been doing great.
Apparently, she's already a local celeb of sorts due to her cuteness.
She already loves her doggy bed and likes to sit at my feet while I'm writing. Unfortunately she hasn't been able to help with writer's block.
Page is also a rockstar at running up and down her doggy ramp from the porch to the yard. She got it on the first day. Was hoping to get a video of her doing it, but she does it so quickly, by the time I hit record she's already up there! A good problem to have.
Have a rubber chicken lying around the house? It's a perfect puppy toy!
I also took Page to meet her vet yesterday, the lovely Miss Katie, and she did wonderfully. So proud of her already. Woot woot!
Stump! I have no idea when this game started, but every time I go to a BBQ with these guys this usually ends up happening. What is it? Throwing a hammer in the air and catching it. The more rotations you get, the more swings you get to hit an opponents nail with said hammer. Pretty hilarious. It's always great when someone sees this for the first time. You see a huddle of guys standing around a block of wood shouting excitedly. What the?
I firs tried snapping pictures of Stump, but that didn't do it justice. So I took a video and had the fellas explain the rules. Enjoy and try at your next BBQ (just don't blame me if you end up in the ER!)
Ah power outage fun. I'm going to use that as my excuse for being a little slack on throwing up tid-bits on my latest Closer Inspection
on Convoy Skateboards
(I've been couch-surfing at the sis' since Saturday, she is THRILLED.)
Aside from the print version
and online photo gallery
, here's a few more gems that didn't make the cut -- but definitely are worth a mention.
After a board is designed, Convoy orders 50-100 of each series. If the board sells well, they’ll order another run. Convoy co-owner Eamonn Bourke estimates they’ve sold 5,000 boards to date.
Convoy sells standard short-boards made of Canadian maple. They’re typically between 31 and 32 inches long and 7 ¼ inch wide (for kids boards to 9 inches and cost $40-50.
The Blastoid Series (below, released in June 2006) is a reinterpretation of the font used in the 1980s arcade game Space Invaders
Convoy started making their own wheels ($30 a set) in 2008. “They’re actually pretty popular because we can charge less then the big wheel company,” Bourke says.
At the end of 2011, Convoy did a limited run of snow boards, a collaboration with Monument Snowboards
. They did so well that they’re going to make another limited edition run at this year’s end.
Some reporters have all-encompassing beats like 'crime' or may cover the happenings of a particular neighborhood. In my case? I've got 'Jay Bulger
.' Ever since my story on him in March, I've steadily covered what the self-made director has been up to since
Last night, some pals and I headed to Silver Docs
to catch the D.C. premiere of 'Beware of Mr. Baker
.' Here's a quick clip I filmed of Jay answering questions following the screening. Yet another update on what this creative chameleon is doing. I'm sure it won't be the last.
Maybe it's because psychic Sari Calvert
told me I was great riding side saddle in a previous life ... Or maybe it's because I grew up playing My Little Pony
... Whatever the reason, this girl loves four-legged animals of the neigh-making, hay-eating variety.
As such, I had to check out the National Museum of the American Indian's current exhibit, "A Song for the Horse Natio
n," which shows how native cultures interacted with the animal. Some highlights are included in my latest Closer Inspection
. Additional photos are featured in an online photo gallery
. Of course not everything makes the cut, so here are some additional snippets that are worth your perusal.
***This 1920 horseshoe
was not made for use on a horse, but for sale as a novelty item by a basket maker belonging to the Karuk tribe based in California. An iron horseshoe is wrapped in plant fiber -- an intricate process that was done by hand. “To create this over the metal piece was certainly a challenge,” says museum curator Emil Her Many Horses.
The decorative aspects of this 1875 Menominee saddle
(below) may seem familiar. “Native people did not own metalwork, these brass tacks were introduced that were brought in by traders,” says Her Many Horses. ““These what we would say today are ordinary brass tacks were something really of value and unique and something used to ornament.”
This plateau men’s horse mask
was made in 2011 by esteemed Cayuse Oregon bead artist Maynard White Owl-Lavadour
specifically for this exhibit. “This is a culmination of work from him and his daughter Suzette [Owl-Lavadour]. They both worked on this mask. There’s a very distinctive style of floral among the plateau. It arrived here just a week before the opening.”
The glass beads adorning the mask are called seed beads due to their seed-like appearance.
Masks such as these aren’t just for display, however. You can see them in action at Cayuse community celebrations in Oregon. “They actually still use these,” says Her Many Horses, at events such as the Pendleton Round-Up
in Pendleton, Oregon.
While it was a wee bummah that the Nats game was rained out Friday, Sean and I redeemed the weekend by hitting up some great local happenings on Saturday. Our first stop? The Taste of Georgetown
Oh my lord, kiddos. If you didn't go this past weekend, make sure you mark your calendars for next year. Such a good time. Definitely left completely stuffed thanks to yummy eats from the likes of Filomena
, Shut Your Pie Hole and Bodega
(which left Sean mesmerized due to their giant paella pans, see above.)
I also got to see some familar folks from past reporting gigs (such as the lovely Ching Ching Wong from Ching Ching Cha Tea Hous
e -- go get her hibiscus tea NOW!) and also ran into others I want to write about in the future such as one Katie Balloons
. (And I thought my espadrilles were high!)
My buddy and former WaPo Express colleague Katie Aberbach was also on the scene. The tiny chica was one of the event's four judges. Her task? Naming the best dish out of 60! Yeesh. Should have brought her Tums.
Want more insight on what the day was like? Well let's ask our fave non-reporter what he thinks!
After heading back to our casa to digest for a few hours -- totally felt like this
-- Sean and I were back out on the scene. Artomatic
here we come!
It should come as no surprise that I find Rush Limbaugh a douchebag. As such, I chuckled at this piece made from tapes of Limbaugh show recordings.
Mommy I want one! Seriously everyone should have a dino just like this in their living room.
Props to my buddy Critchy's friend Sarah Murphy
. I'd run into her a few weeks ago while reporting my Artomatic volunteering piece
, and she'd told me about the fabric mondella she planned on making. Very cool to see the finished product.
Sean, on the otherhand, got the most excited about his chance to eat Jupiter. Apocalypse indeed.
And once again, our intrepid man on the street offers up some artistic insight.
The shenanigans didn't stop there! After riding the Arlington Loop
yesterday (and quickly realizing that I have a long way to go when it comes to getting back in shape!) some peeps and I popped by the St. Katherine's Greek Festival
. The event happens twice a year and Sean has been an attendee for well over a decade now. I can see why, the gyros are out of this world. Washing it down with a Mythos beer? Even better.
And as usual, Mr. Man About Town Sean Quinn gave us the low-down on this biannual happening.
Thanks to an invite from the lovely Dusty Lockhart
, I stopped by Graffiato
last night to sample four tasty concotions created by D.C. area mixologists Dan Searing
, Adam Bernbach
, Todd Thrasher
and Greg Engert
. The quartet are competing for the title of mixology program of the year at the RAMMY Awards
Naturally my future brother-in-law snapped some silly pics of me with each libation. I'm including the recipe for each. Enjoy!
Dia de Descanso mixed by Adam Bernbach
- Two parts saffron & grapefruit syrup
- 1 part Beefeater 24 Gin
- 1 part lime juice
- 3 parts sparkling wine
Garnish with limes and mint. Ladle from a punch bowl with a five-lb. block of ice.
Chaos Theary mixed by Dan Searing
- 0.75 Citra hop-infused Sauza
- Hornitos plata
- 0.5 ounce ounce grapefruit juice
- 0.5 ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounce Belgian Tripel
Shake first three ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupe, top with Tripel Karmeliet and garnish with a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
Farmhouse Punch mixed by Gref Engert
- 0.75 ounces vodka
- 0.25 or less ounces of absinthe
- 0.5 ounces lemon juice
- 1 ounce grapefruit juice
- 0.5 ounce peppercorn syrup
Shake. Top with Rayon Vert. Ladle from a punch bowl with a five-lb. block of ice.
42 and Cloudy mixed by Todd Thrasher
- 6 ounces of Cruzan rum
- 6 ounces honey flavored vodka
- 6 ounces of passion vodka
- 6 ounces of rye whiskey
- 6 ounces of brandy
- 15 ounces sauvignon blanc
- 10 ounces green tea
- 5 ounces water
- 28 ounces passion fruit juie
- Juice of two lemons
- 1/3 cup of luxardo cherries
- Champagne to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve from a punch bowl with a five-lb. block of ice.