Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Fringe Benefit.

One of the greatest fringe benefits about being self employed is I am allowed to work the hours I want to, however, there are a few other fringe benefits also. When clients come into town, I am often honored with hosting them at my house. Them, "not being from around here" gives me an excuse to show off my town and often even the town next door, Washington, DC. I had just such a visitor last week when Chris came in from Canada to drop off a trailer and to take one away. You can read all about that story in a few days on my other blog.

I asked Chris what he most wanted to see and his response was "the Smithsonian." He did not realize that "the Smithsonian" is many buildings, each dedicated to a different discipline. He also did not realize that each building is massive, requiring almost a full day to see everything. We took him to my favorite building on the Mall: the Museum of the American Indian.

I absolutely love this building. It opened not too many years ago and we have come to it many times now. Before I go further, I feel obliged to make something clear so as to not offend, but it is the building that brings us back. The exhibits are often good, but somewhat sparse within an incredible structure. I think the building upstages what it is supposed to show off.

My mouth is often ajar as I walk around the building. Somehow, aesthetically, it just pushes the right buttons within me.

This space moves me in a way that very few do. As a kid we visited many grand churches and cathedrals through out Europe. I have toured many great building all across this country, but none make me feel as though the Great Spirit dwells within, like in this house.

I watched countless parents take a very similar photo as this. Watching the spectrum move across the walls is an experience all in itself.

With the different cloud patterns and ever changing length of the Sun's rays, this pattern will never be duplicated. The Sun is doing a dance within the building that never will be repeated.

Everywhere we go, something appeals to me.

It continues right into the landscaping that surrounds the building.

I think this is a Native American, koala, family crossing. Everyone has their special interests in DC.

We went on over to the National Museum of Art for a meal. Avoid this restaurant if you come for a visit. Very expensive and the food is nowhere near mediocre. The waterfall dividing the East Wing from the West Wing is worth a visit, as is the book store. If you love the arts, architecture, or any aspect of culture, you are going to find some awesome books here.

After lunch Chris and I were able to ditch the girls for an hour and a half. We made a bee line for the boy museum, the Air and Space. The Spirit of Saint Louis is hanging there in the center. She sure is looking dingy these days. Her brushed skin looks streaked with oil and her skin is sports dark patina. Maybe they would consider using Frank's Trailer Works to polish her back up.

There are millions of rivets and miles and miles of aluminum hanging from the rafters. Just about every first in aviation is present at this wing of the Smithsonian. The real big stuff is out at Dulles Airport where the Air and Space Museum has another building. Ever want to see a Saturn V rocket? You will need to go there.

Of course we made our way into the room dedicated to Wright Brothers Flyer. I am always astounded to see what a primitive plane this is. It didn't go far, but we sure have since then.

We also strolled into the Hirshhorn. This museum is dedicated to postmodern art. They were having an Andy Warhol show. No photos allowed in there. It's just as well, because the Hirshhorn has decided to show what has to be his lamest work ever. 108 panels, 450 feet long, all the same, with just color variations. As someone with an MFA, I think I am entitled to hold this opinion. I wish it was not my opinion, for Andy has always been high on the list of artists I like.

Dan Flavin's light sculpture drew me in like a moth. It was electrifying. The guard in this gallery had to wear sunglasses. He looked very cool standing there in the electric blue light. He looked like part of the installation.
After the Hirshhorn we drove around seeing the sights from the car - the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and the White House. It was an abbreviated tour, but Chris got a good taste of DC. When he comes back next time we will probably hone in on just one museum.