Greetings from Dystopia City!

(As scrawled in a newly-exposed piece of street art we encountered on our walk yesterday.)

Re: the walk–
We took advantage of the wonderful weather and lack of other plans to join roughly half a million (at least? I feel like that’s not a bad estimate?) others at the Tidal Basin yesterday to witness the practically-peaking cherry blossoms. Even though it’s soooooooooooooo HashtagTouristy, the trees Japan gifted to us 104 years ago are undeniably picturesque and are a quintessential symbol of Spring in the City. Google Maps tells me we took a 2.9 mile route (one way), so I was able to snap pictures of a number of other (generally Spring-y) things along the way and back, to include newly-exposed pieces of street art. Also there are some particularly ace shots of Ollie in the mix.

(Also pardon my bad-itude right now… I’m still coming to terms with our dear Hoos getting knocked out of the NCAA Tournament :(.)

21 dystopia city

^^^ The namesake piece of art of this post! I’ve been on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster regarding this! When we neared its intersection yesterday, I got excited, because I knew this piece was here and I’d always wanted to photograph it. Part of its aesthetic, however, was an awning extending from the building that read “WHAT IT IS,” which no longer seems to exist. When I peeped this yesterday, I was actually under the impression that it was a new mural with the same character and new commentary on all the destruction/construction around (which saw the demise of the “WHAT IT IS” awning).

However, the only photos I’ve been able to turn up of the missing awning show that the piece on the wall actually remained unchanged! And it was only in the adjacent building being torn down that the dystopian greetings were revealed. Also, said photos are from this anonymous blog on the website of one of the UVA a cappella groups, so basically everything’s just coming together in weird ways right now.

Update: When I zoomed in on my photo I noticed it was signed and so learned a bit more– Antarah Crawley painted it in 2011. He hasn’t tweeted in a year and a half, but when he did, sometimes it was in the form of pointed haiku. (And yes, while my basketball-fueled bad-itude has me being tongue-in-cheek and hyperbolic about the tragedies of missed photo opportunities, I do realize that there are far greater implications and consequences of the vast stretches of buildings that are being torn down in DC than the Instagram-That-Got-Away…)

Anyway. Back to all-cherry-blossom-everything…

Actually… not quite to the cherry blossoms yet. We got sidetracked by some food trucks, and while Marlon was back at his food truck of choice trying to figure out why his falafel burrito a) had no falafel and b) was so poorly wrapped that it barely qualified as a burrito, I entertained myself by taking photos of Ollie.

That last one is funny as a gif, but this still is probably my favorite picture I’ve ever taken so I’m making sure it gets the appropriate attention.

33 weirdo ollie

50 cherry blossom jefferson memorial

On this decidedly dystopian day, the worst part was not the crowds, or falafel mix-up, or the grossly overflowing trash cans, or the fact that Caps fans on every corner were trying to touch my dog; but rather how hard it was to find ice cream on our way home, and the fact that we ultimately had to stop in at a Walgreens to get some.

We wrapped up the day with gimmicky cherry blossom beer (AND BASKETBALL, BACK WHEN BASKETBALL STILL MATTERED TO ME) and also I took some polaroids. The end!

Renwick Gallery

Well, I’m in San Diego —


ooh, ahh

— but David’s got some schoolwork and I promised a post of the photos Marlon and I gleefully snapped together at the Renwick Gallery a few weeks ago, so here.

As I just learned, the Renwick Gallery is the first building in the United States designed expressly as an art museum, and it had been closed for two years of renovations leading up to the opening of the WONDER exhibition. <- That link explains:

While the nine artists featured in WONDER create strikingly different works, they are connected by their interest in creating large-scale installations from unexpected materials. Index cards, marbles, strips of wood—all objects so commonplace and ordinary we often overlook them—are assembled, massed, and juxtaposed to utterly transform spaces and engage us in the most surprising ways. The works are expressions of process, labor, and materials that are grounded in our everyday world, but that combine to produce awe-inspiring results.

Photography was encouraged, so our experience went well-documented (to say the least).

Tara Donovan had the index-card sculptures:

Gabriel Dawe perhaps won the day with his threads that created the illusion of light scattering:www.GIFCreator.me_81ZXj8


Patrick Dougherty created a sapling-hut village:

Janet Echelman created a mesmerizing display by splashing a net affixed to the ceiling with color-changing neon lights.www.GIFCreator.me_ilWLsX

John Grade transformed an old-growth cedar into a hollow hemlock:

Maya Lin did this marble room:

Chakaia Booker did some crazy stuff with tires:

Jennifer Angus made the fantastic insect-mosaic room:

And Leo Villareal was responsible for the very shimmery ceiling:

And here’s the rest of our gallery:

So yeah, in short, it was really awesome; and it looks like it’s running through the Spring/Summer of 2016, so be sure to get in a visit before it closes!


Nepali Protest at the White House

On Sunday Mar and I decided to put off other obligations by indulging in a bit of the culture DC has on offer with a visit to the Renwick Gallery. But, as the title may suggest, that’s not the subject of this post. (OH DON’T WORRY THOUGH, WE TOOK HUNDREDS OF PHOTOS AT THE GALLERY BETWEEN THE TWO OF US AND THERE’LL HOPEFULLY BE A REALLY FANTASTIC POST DEDICATED TO THAT AS WELL. BECAUSE THE WONDER EXHIBITION WAS OFF THE CHAIN.)

No– for before we made it to the gallery, we were distracted by a bit of brouhaha at the Renwick’s humble neighbor: the White House. We followed some people brandishing Nepali flags (recognizable in that Nepal joins Ohio in flipping the proverbial middle finger to conventions such as rectangles. For a more educated run-down on the flag and its history, click here!) to what turned out to be a pretty impressive gathering of Nepalis protesting a blockade we’d never heard of before.



There was essentially a parade of people circling Lafayette Park waving signs and shouting, “Back off, India!” A few men manned microphones at huge speakers chanting, “What we want?! Lift blockade! When we want?! Right now! Nepal is landlocked! Transit is blocked!” They also, from time to time, warned the marching protesters to continue moving and to stay off the White House sidewalk with their signs. Indeed, it was a very well-organized protest, and one that seemed to be fairly effective in its outreach– we noticed a number of people pulling out their phones and looking into this mysterious global event as they passed by. (And it captured at least one local blogger’s heart enough to post about it :).)


But of course, my heart had been captured by Nepal some years ago. I cite Kathmandu as my favorite city, and though I stayed fairly silent on the issue, when I allowed myself to really think about the terrible earthquake that devastated the country earlier this year (in the midst of distractions like my move to DC, and neighboring Baltimore being embroiled in its own turmoil) it struck me very deeply. I felt sort of ashamed to be so ignorant to the blockade that seemed to be putting the little country in its second state of emergency of the year.

Turns out, it just hasn’t been very widely reported in these parts, and while some of the protesters would like India’s backing off to be the simple solution, the story’s actually a little more complicated than that (as you might imagine).


The nutshell version, as I understand it following a bit of brief research, is as follows: A new Nepali constitution was drafted in September. It disenfranchised one of Nepal’s ethnic minorities (the Madhesi), and so the Madhesi began to strike and block the main thoroughfares along the Indian border. As the men-with-microphones noted, Nepal is landlocked and the Indian border is paramount: the vast majority of Nepal’s resources, to include fuel and medicine, are brought in by that route. Oh, and the blockade has been going on for three months.

India’s true involvement with the blockade seems to be up for debate, and I won’t pretend to grasp all of the complexities in the countries’ relationship and history. The Madhesi have close cultural ties with northern Indians, and some are saying India has merely supported what is an otherwise Madhesi-run blockade. Others have alleged that the Indian government demanded that changes be made to the new constitution, and then acted on its own to intercept fuel trucks. Whatever the back-story, on Saturday, things escalated during the border protests and four Madhesi protesters were killed by Nepali police.


“no humanity in nepal,” the sign reads.

For non-nutshell versions, I refer you to the following:

From the Guardian: “Nepal border blockade ‘threatens the future of the country itself,’ says UN
From Al Jazeera: India’s ‘blockade’ snuff’s out Nepal’s medical lifeline
From the Daily Signal: “Anti-India Protests in Kathmandu Reflect Frustration With Blockade of Nepal
Wikipedia’s article on the 2015 Nepal fuel crisis
And this DNA India article on the White House protests: “Madhesi issue: Nepali-Americans stage rival protests outside White House” (Yeah, it was a little hard to differentiate in the moment, but critics of the Nepali government were definitely present as well. I think that’s what you see in the above photo.)

The #BackOffIndia hashtags on Twitter and Instagram may also be of interest.


It’s hard to know who’s really to blame in this issue, but if you’re inclined to blame India perhaps you’d like to sign this petition. (Personally, I’m wondering where the petition against drafting constitutions that disenfranchise your ethnic minorities is.)


i guess no one told them barry wasn’t home during this protest…


I found this picture on Instagram’s #BackOffIndia and thought it provided an interesting first-hand insight into this crisis. It was from six weeks ago, so keep that in mind for any time references.

Screen shot 2015-11-25 at 9.17.08 AM

The caption read:

Living in a country entrapped in political turmoil has been an eye-opening experience. Western media has failed at reporting on the current crisis in Nepal, so I will give a quick summary. In result of India’s disproval of Nepal’s new constitution, they have created an unofficial blockade on all imports coming into Nepal along the 1850km border separating the two countries. Because Nepal is a landlocked and developing country, it depends on India for almost 100 percent of their fuel- cooking gas, petroleum, and aviation fuel. Along with fuel, food and consumer items also come through the border multiple times a day. A country that was just getting back on its feet after the April earthquakes that killed thousands and displaced millions, is now finding itself close to another humanitarian crisis. Children are not able to get to school, as there is no gas for their school buses. Restaurants and tea shops are closing down due to the lack of cooking gas to make their food. And most importantly people aren’t able to make a living and get to work, since the lines to get petroleum for their vehicles take at least 7 hours, and the result is only a rationed 2.5 liters. This has been occurring for three weeks now. I am nervous about the food shortage, especially in rural areas and Himalayan villages. The streets were almost completely empty this evening. However, since this is Nepal, the country is persevering through this political issue with such strength and positive spirits. Today a new Prime Minister was voted into office, with future plans of making Nepal more of a self-sufficient country, decreasing the amount of debilitating dependency on neighboring countries of India and China. There are Facebook “carpool” groups being created left and right- where the few individuals with little fuel left post their starting locations and destinations, offering others *free* rides. And peaceful “Walk Kathmandu” protests have taken place. I am constantly in awe at the way everyone around me is looking out for each other, at every moment. Nepalis have hearts about 12 times bigger than the average human, and I have no doubt that we will come out stronger than before.

Pope Francis Comes to DC

pope capitolSticking with my eight-days-late tradition, here are the photos I got from the gathering on the National Mall last Thursday when Pope Francis delivered his appeal on climate change to Congress. I biked down in time to catch the last half of the speech and take in the surroundings. There were actually fewer people than I was expecting– I was, admittedly, not on the West Lawn of the Capitol, which was packed with ticket holders. Rather, from 3rd-7th Streets there were big screens and speakers set up on the Mall at each cross street, and all were welcome.

This of course drew a diverse and interesting crowd representing all sorts of special interests. The environmental and anti-Catholic groups were the most attention-grabbing, but there were many there out of respect for and intrigue of Pope Francis, as well as those who were there in a more capitalistic spirit.

protesters pope francis capitol

The signs read:
There Is One Mediator Between God and Men, the Man Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 2:5.

Following Traditions Of Men Leads To Second Death. God’s Word Leads To Eternal Life.

The POPE is the HEAD of A CULT (Roman Catholicism)
“COME OUT OF HER,” My people, that you be not partakers of her sins…” (Revelation 18:4)

protesters pope francis capitol2

pope francis t-shirts buttonsprotesters pope francis capitol 3


I think they got some word order wrong there at the end, but you get so caught up in the all-caps you can hardly notice. And just for good measure they even managed to slip an anti-Islam barb in there, too.

habit joke, drink!

habit joke, drink!

peta nuns pope francis2

these guys have both your redskins AND your commemorative pope paraphernalia needs covered.

these guys have both your redskins AND your commemorative pope paraphernalia needs covered.

a fan of pope francis

a fan of pope francis

pope francis capitol crowdpope francis capitol crowd 2

appealing to the federal energy regulatory commission:

appealing to the federal energy regulatory commission:

pope francis capitol crowd 3P1020955

Wild beasts and birds are by right not the property of merely the people alive today, but the property of unknown generations whose belongings we have no right to squander.
-Theodore Roosevelt

(Although I seem to recall ol’ Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t always that cool to wild beasts…)

pope francis capitol crowd pope francis kid flags

These were so cute:

I want the birds to be happy and have a good home and I want the Earth to be healthy, too. / The frog does not drink up the pond in which it lives. -Chinese Proverb / think about others. be thoughtful to all. / Words of life: Live earth; Live light; Live space. Eco-Earth / Live it. Love it. Conserve it. May all be MINDFUL. / My cat and my dog. / We are all a part of the tree of life. Honor your place, care for all. Mom & baby born on Earth Day!

pope francis capitol crowd pope francis birth control

gotta get your selfie with the pope

gotta get your selfie with the pope

pope francis nelson county pipeline

monk reppin'

monk reppin’

pope francis monk

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

i will seriously support any decision this dog supports.

i will seriously support any decision this dog supports.

after allowing me to take this picture this man informed me he could tell i was in the CIA. BUSTED.

after allowing me to take this picture this man informed me he could tell i was in the CIA… BUSTED.

pope francis capitol vatican flag

these guys came all the way from st. louis

these guys came all the way from st. louis

this guy was also slangin' his bean pies at H street festival. he gave me a little sample and it was quite tasty.

this guy was also slangin’ his bean pies at H street festival. he gave me a little sample and it was quite tasty.

pope francis magazine

waiting for him to emerge from the capitol

waiting for the pope to emerge from the capitol

pope francis capitolpope capitolAfter addressing Congress (in English) and touching on a wide variety of topics, Pope Francis came out to speak to the crowd in Spanish (with an interpreter). He spent most of the time blessing the children, and then asked everyone to pray for him. “And if you’re not religious, or you can’t pray, then please send me good wishes.”

As I headed out I unexpectedly found the street blocked off for the Pope’s motorcade, which I was alright with as it gave me a chance to catch a rare glimpse of the Papal Fiat.

(And this Owner of the World Vineyard.)

pope francis four horsemen world vineyard

THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPE . WHITE HORSE: SIR RONALD W. REAGAN, THE BEAST, MR. 666; PALE HORSE: GEORGE W. BUSH, JR; MR. AXES OF EVIL; BLACK HORSE: BARRACK H. OBAMA; MR. MONEY PENNY; RED HORSE: POPE FRANCIS; THE ANTICHRIST. The Secret to the Skull and Bone is if Two Men Have a Secret then there is NO Secret if one Man is Dead. Only to  Rewrite History. This Act of Act Remain Anti Recommendations (????) I Know You Act for Justice. Your Judgment Stand YOU ARE THE SYNAGOGUE FOR SATAN. I AM THE Prophecy of 2012: B.K.A. Samuel {ISHMYWIL} The Seventh Angel… READ The Book of Revelation: Rev. 10, Rev. 12, Rev. 10… Rev. 3:12. I AM ALLAH OWNER of the World VINEYARD
pope francis climate changing shirt pope fiat dc gif

H Street Festival

[Welp… a week+ late at this point and now I have both the Pope’s visit and Landmark Festival to catch up on too! Never mind that I’ve got two years’ worth of Michigan trips that I still haven’t mentioned…]

Last year, when Marlon lived in the H Street district, he helped put up posters advertising H Street Festival and landed us coveted Block Captain spots for the Fest’s set-up. We had to be up on the early side, but we got walkie-talkies and had to solve all sorts of problems like when the cops wouldn’t let the RedBull MiniCoopers in because the streets had been closed off already. Talk about a barely-averted crisis! Thank Jebus we were there to tell the cops what’s what (read: get one of the coordinators on the walkie-talkie to tell the cops what’s what) and save the entire festival.

sole surviving evidence of last year's festival: wearing mustaches as part of some gimmicky tequila shooting ritual. but hey, they were free! (and i guess it doesn't take much to get me to don a fake mustache.)

sole surviving evidence of last year’s festival: wearing mustaches as part of some gimmicky tequila shooting ritual. but hey, they were free! (and i guess it doesn’t take much to get me to don a fake mustache.) (also let it be known that the tequila-shooting took place post-volunteering.)

Even though we live all the way over in Shaw now, we had to get in on the H Street Festival action again this year. It was another morning full of strategic problem solving and walkie-talkie brandishing, and by the time noon rolled around and the Festival officially kicked off (ready to welcome the 100,000-or-so people expected to pass through at one point or another) everything was pretty much in place and ready to go.

(And of course I kid about Mar’s and my single[double?]-handedly saving/running everything– there’s a huge volunteer presence at the Festival and everyone cooperates really impressively to make H Street Festival come together. #WHERESTHEICETRUCK?!)

Of course, after rushing home to shower and take the dog out, we went back to enjoy the fruits of our labor. And who decided to join us for the day but Dear Old Mom and Dad! We met up with a bunch of Mar’s friends (and even one of my middle school friends from the Netherlands now living in the area!) and everyone had a grand ol’ time. I took a lot of pics and from those pics I made a number of gifs (naturally). Et voilà.

dyvine bbqOne of the first problems we solved was when an unidentified truck was parked in Dyvine BBQ in Motion‘s spot (turns out it was one of the H Street Festival supply trucks! Whoops!). After making a few exchanges on the walkie-talkie to sort it out, we had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Derrick, who was more than happy to let us take a look inside the smoker; and his associate, who assured us that if we wanted one of the Flintstone-sized turkey legs, we were going to need to act quick cuz they were going to go fast.

dyvine bbq smoker gif dyvine bbq turkey legs

This was our block, as it came together throughout the day:block 10 h st festival

Here are some balloons that were set loose (for shame!!!) :runaway balloons H st festival

A stroll down H Street during set-up:h street festival street

h street festival yummyh street festival sausages h street festival vanadu h street festival volkswagen

After foolishly carrying/rolling some large tables for a silly distance early in the day and determining it to be a taxing experience, we decided that finding a better way was a problem worth solving. For Round Two of Table Transport we solicited a ride on a Gator, which made both moving the tables and getting street time lapses a lot easier.
h street festival gator gif h street festival gator gif2

Another problem we had to solve was when the Grindstone booth was missing its tent. We found a spare (thanks to some walkie-talkie coordination, of course), but it was tied to a giant cinder block. Luckily Kathleen-from-Grindstone had brought her trusty skateboard, and she got in on the problem-solving too! We are so smrt!

kathleen grindstone h st festival

h street festival mar seinfeld

marlon meeting his heroes from ‘seinfeld’ was the _opposite_ of a problem-to-be-solved.

h street festival &pizza kids h street festival &pizza roof h street festival art h street festival art 2 h street festival art 3 h street festival art 4 h street festival art 5

Like any good festival, H Street Festival had live music. Marlee in the Mixx kicked off the day on the west end of the fest and they were  a w e s o m e. Check out their tunes here.

h street festival marlee in the mix h street festival

before heading home we got the taco+tecate for $5 deal at chupacabra

before heading home we got the taco+tecate for $5 deal at chupacabra



my dad not embarrassing marlon at ALL by shaking his polaroid picture while singing (you guessed it) 'shake it like a polaroid pict-cha!'

my dad not embarrassing marlon at ALL by shaking his polaroid picture while singing (you guessed it) ‘shake it like a polaroid pict-cha!’

the really fantastic and well-lit polaroid mentioned above.

the really fantastic and well-lit polaroid being shaken above.

And to top off the evening we got to see the guy who made a reckless U-turn across the crosswalk we were attempting to cross get pulled over for a DUI! What a day!

[Bonus features: Turns out I totally lied and there is more surviving evidence of last year’s Fest!]

h street festival the pug h street festival dog h st festival peligroso girls h st festival smith commons rooster h street festival mar and friends

To Dream the Impossible Dream (NOW WITH GIFS!)

I have to admit that, while I like to consider myself at least somewhat in touch with the gay community (and savvy to issues of general import), Friday’s historic Supreme Court decision went strangely under my radar until Marlon’s text message announcement to me that it had happened. And what a pleasant surprise with which to begin my day– learning that marriage equality had been granted in each of our fifty states!

states where marriage equality is law

I have to also credit Marlon with the idea to head down to the place where it all happened (the place we heard that everything would be, as it were): the Supreme Court itself. He wasn’t able to get away from the office but as I’m a glamorous work-from-home-mom (to Ollie.), I was able to sneak off for a little bit to catch some of the goings-on, courtesy of the Capital BikeShare! (Wouldn’t it be cool if I were being paid to name drop them? It was actually just fun for me to do– first time since I moved up!)

And I’m so glad I did. It was exciting and moving, everyone was in such a good mood (except that one lady…), people were singing, there were lots of flags and banners, most of the signs being waved seemed to be Christian messages of love supporting the decision (…except that one lady). Very good energy at this event :).

supreme court building

drive-by bike shot. “justice- the guardian of liberty.”

marriage equality sign girls

pride dog

i will seriously support any decision this dog supports.

this is why we're all here, right? pics of gay men's chorus members' butts and equality flags?

this is why we’re all here, right? pics of gay men’s chorus members’ butts and equality flags?

washington gay men's chorus capitol america is ready america is ready2

one of my favorite images from the day! we knew a different world from the one this little beeb will know.

one of my favorite images from the day! this little beeb will grow up in a country where everyone is free to marry the person they love.

constitution bible barrier

this is from the same shot as the preceding photo-- the 'one lady' i'd referenced earlier. her sign said something about a line being crossed and a quote from deuteronomy, and she was preaching:

if you’ll notice, this is from the same shot as the preceding photo. this is the ‘one lady’ i’d referenced earlier– her sign said something about a line being crossed, supported by a quote from deuteronomy. she was preaching: “i’ve been protesting here for nine days! the homosexuals have been kind to me! they’ve brought me water and hugged me. i love them as i love all god’s children! which is why my heart breaks for them, and my heart breaks for the nation today!” she was the only one of this ilk that i saw, though. “just let her talk…” i heard someone say.

supreme court marriage equality

marriage equality flags

this guy is PUMPED about marriage equality!

this guy is PUMPED about marriage equality!

arc of history supreme court crowd be true shoes washington gay men's chorus

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC were among the celebrants at the Supreme Court building that day, treating the crowd to moving a cappella renditions of “We Shall Overcome,” the National Anthem, and “The Impossible Dream.”


Then I had to skedaddle back (on the bike that had not been jacked from the tree on which I’d recklessly left it leaning!) and finish up the work day, but when I took Ollie walking later I snapped a few shots of some displays of Pride around the neighborhood.

nellie's sports bar-- you may recognize it as the sponsor on the men's chorus shirts.

nellie’s sports bar– you may recognize it as the sponsor on the men’s chorus shirts.

satellite bar pride satellite bar back bar prideOh and of course the Internet went a little nuts for the decision as well (in case you missed all the rainbows on your facebook feed…).

Some of my favorites include: The SCOTUS Marriage Decision in Haiku on McSweeney’s, BuzzFeed’s breaking-of-bad-news to intended Canada emigrants, this PopSugar piece on the “Running of the Interns” with an utterly hyperbolic title but lots of embedded gay rights fun, and Slate’s assortment of Obama meme’s/tweets/vines because seriously WTF has Obama done?


Marlon was in NYC this weekend and got stuck in to witness what sounded like a pretty impressive Pride parade on Christopher St. My favorite of his documentation of the event was this guy.

slo-mo feature ftw

slo-mo feature ftw

Which, in my figuring out how to convert into a gif, I managed to turn into a full-on gay brainwashing tool! (Basically if you’ve stared into that for longer than ten seconds you’re definitely gay now, but don’t worry– you can get married too!)

rainbow guy christopher st nyc pride parade gifxAlso, if you’re in the crowd that thinks same-sex marriage might destroy civilization, someone at the Guardian agrees with you. (That’s a joke… it’s good satire.)



Snowy Saturday Art Show

"countryside picnic"-dilip sheth

“countryside picnic”-dilip sheth

Some time ago Marlon and I came across the top piece of a desk laying discarded on the sidewalk in front of the neighbor’s stoop, ready to be picked up with the broken lamp at its side the next time the trash men came around. It was splattered with paint and indeed, Marlon identified it: “Dilip’s painting desk! You should take it!” (For as much as I love the Internet and making big to-dos of my “artistic” “endeavors,” the fact that I like to try my hand at painting every now and then seems to have gone strangely undocumented. But I do! With… varying levels of success, of course.)

I wasn’t sure if he was serious, and made the accurate point that, in any case, I didn’t have anywhere to put it. “I don’t know, Ang… Dilip’s a famous painter! [Still wasn’t sure if he was being serious.] What if he makes it big one day and you can say you’re using his old desk? There’s lots of space in our house. What if I just stored it for you?” I went along with it, and to this day it’s sitting nestled against a window in a largely unused room in his house.

In the midst of last Saturday’s snow-turning-to-sleet at the witching hour, on our way back from a leisurely lunch at nearby Impala, we decided to pop in at Dilip’s Art Show, which Mar had been talking up for a few weeks. I was certainly excited to see the type of work the former owner of my pilfered desk churned out. The weather (and our late arrival) meant that other Art Show attendees were scarce, which meant we got some good face time with Dilip himself (and all the Crunkcakes we cared to have! Dilip owns the bottom level of another of the row houses on his and Marlon’s street, which functions both as guesthouse and gallery. His current tenant is none other than the founder of the boozy cupcake brand. Also let it be known that we weren’t looking to embarrass ourselves at a wholesome neighborhood art show and we only had one-and-a-half Crunkcakes each).

"perfect love," one of abeba wossen's pieces at the show

“perfect love,” one of abeba wossen’s pieces at the show

Dilip Sheth’s pieces were on display with those of a fellow Ethiopian artist, Abeba Wossen; and Ephrem Kouakou who, hailing from the Ivory Coast, is known as the “African Picasso” (according to Dilip). While Ms. Wossen’s works were under-stated and lovely, Dilip’s and Mr. Kouakou’s were the true attention-grabbers.

It was the eyes that commanded such attention in Kouakou’s paintings. In Dilip’s, it was the clouds and the trees. “I love those red trees!” I told him. “Ah, that’s my signature.” he replied. I asked what kind they were, wondering if they were some tie to home at a preferred time of year. “Just from my mind,” he explained.

"twins" by ephrem kouakou-- mar's favorite (of EK's) from the show

“twins” by ephrem kouakou– mar’s favorite (of EK’s) from the show

the herd dilip sheth

“the herd”-dilip sheth

Another that I thought was really fantastic was a portrait he’d done of his mother. He showed us the photo that had served as its inspiration, in black-and-white, of course, and shared that he’d only learned after the fact that he’d correctly painted her dress blue (OR POSSIBLY WHITE, IT’S ANYONE’S GUESS); that the items surrounding her were all from his imagination. The ladies in the below photo seem to agree, and I feel comfortable sharing this (all images shared without any sort of permission from the artists, but they all link back to their sources so please do check everything out) because it’s the photo for the rain date of last week’s event on the “Art of Dilip Sheth” facebook page. You can also see some of Wossen’s and Kouakou’s paintings.

dilip's mom

Oh, and imagine our surprise (and how cool we felt) strolling into Sidamo, the Ethiopian coffee shop on H Street the next day and noticing those recognizable clouds. “Well have they got Sheth on display here!?!!?” we mused to ourselves. Well yes, yes they did.

And in case you missed them in any of the embedded links:

Dilip Sheth on Facebook, ArtistWebsites, and Instagram.
Ephrem Kouakou on StilLifeGallery, Tumblr, and TrueAfricanArt.
Abeba Wossen on FineArtAmerica.

Guerillas do Gorillaz; Flume does U Street Music Hall

Last week was a good week for me, musically. Awhile ago my brother was excited to inform me he’d been asked to play trumpet with local act Guerilla Tactics when they, appropriately enough, covered the first Gorillaz album (“Gorillaz,” as it so happens) for an April Fool’s Day show. Guerilla Tactics is generally a two-man operation: Tucker Rogers and Rob Bedford (aka DJ XSV), two old friends of mine from my first stint in Charlottesville. For this undertaking they obviously were going to need a little more than an acoustic guitar and some turntables (and a trumpet), however. Another old friend, Travis Elliott, took lead vocals; another Tucker and another Rob (Titus and Richmond, respectively), joined them on drums and bass, respectively; and the Bowden sisters rounded out the mix with Kristen on keys and Amy on violin (and kazoo!).

To the best of my knowledge this spectacle came together with precious few rehearsals and limited time (as well as a couple last-minute changes in the lineup) and I thought the results were well impressive. And despite being moved back from my normal Monday-night bedtime of 10 pm to the unthinkable hour of 11:30 in order to avoid competing with another show at the Jefferson that night, turnout was massive and, suffice it to say, the House was most certainly Rocked.

And… even with all the fun I was having I managed to take over an hour of video? That I’ve trimmed down into four videos and made a playlist from? Enjoy! (Video quality, as always, is definitely lacking but the audio’s decent enough.)

Track listing: April Fool’s Day “treat”, “Re-Hash”, “New Genius (Brother)”, “Punk”, “Sound Check (Gravity)”, “Double Bass”, “Rock the House” (featuring Aaron Ahlbrandt of Kings of Belmont), “19-2000”, “Latin Simone” (featuring Seth Green of Sons of Bill), “Slow Country”and the special encore, “Feel Good Inc.” (Also I apologize in advance for the nonsense chatter that, on occasion, can be heard in the background on my part… a friend and I decided that our only hope for remaining awake until such a late hour came in the form of $3 Jack & Gingers at the Virginian before the show…)

sibling shot! i love that i get to see these two so frequently :)

sibling shot! i love that i get to see these two so frequently

with the prompt 'pout.' (alas, i'm clearly far better-experienced in the ways of pouting than either of my brothers)

with the prompt ‘pout.’ (alas, i’m clearly far better-experienced in the ways of pouting than either of my brothers)

giving it another go

giving it another go

guerilla tacticsryan on stage

hadn't seen these lovely ladies in awhile!

hadn’t seen these lovely ladies in awhile!

having fun

genna matthew and ryan calonder... a match made in cville music heaven!

genna matthew and ryan calonder… a match made in cville music heaven!

Wednesday then found me saddling up to drive to DC to see Flume perform at U Street Music Hall with some friends. Flume (or “Harvey Streten,” as he may have once been known) is a 21-year-old DJ/producer from Australia that a friend had turned me on to awhile ago; U Street’s known to be a pretty dope venue; Nate said he’d take Ollie for the night… I couldn’t resist. And it was fun!

flume u street music hallI mean, there were a few drawbacks. He went on quite late and the set was fairly short (there were rumors that he’d come back on that kept us there later than we may have ordinarily stayed, but eventually we had to cut our losses). We also found ourselves musing that the first few tracks were sounding more or less like he’d just set his CD to “Play” (though even if this had truly been the case it still sounded extra-cool on the state-of-the-art soundsystem they’ve got there). And, this is probably my biggest lament, he didn’t play one of my favorite tracks, “Bring You Down”. That being said, before long he was doing some more novel and interesting things with both new and old songs, and all in all it was a right good time. (The same cannot be said for work on Thursday, but I suppose I was prepared for as much).

Here’s his most recent album:

(My favorites, in addition to “Bring You Down” are “Holdin On”, “Insane”, and “On Top”.)

One year ago: Ubud, Part One (and Getting There)
Two years ago: Krabi (yeah last week marked the two-year anniversary of my departure to Thailand!! So crazy…)
Three years ago: Hangzhou Two