February 5, 2010
It has recently come to my attention that Super Bowl Sunday will be happening this weekend. I’ve never had any athletic inclinations myself, so this has just always been the weekend when tortilla chips and all varieties of canned beans seem to magically disappear from my local supermarket’s shelves. (It’s also the one time of year where I anxiously anticipate watching television commercials—but I’ll usually wait until they pop up on the Internet.)
But let’s face it, if you’re stuck with a group of football fanatics, it’s no fun being the odd person out having nothing to contribute to Super Bowl-related conversation. If your popularity is at stake, the Smithsonian is more than happy to help avoid awkward social situations. Check out the following pieces in the museums’ collections that relate to New Orleans and Indiana and you too can find ways to steer conversation to suit your artsy interests:
In 2010, the Saints are marching from the Superdome to Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, but in 1814, the Battle of New Orleans was raging between the US and the Brits. The horrors of the battlefield and the football field beg for comparison, don’t you think? Spark conversation with this Battle of New Orleans commemorative stamp! Philately may be a tough topic of conversation to maintain, so I recommend having a seriously sizzling side of hot wings prepared and handy should you only receive quizzical looks from the other party guests.
Home to gumbo and streetcars named Desire, New Orleans is also a hotbed of musical talent—and Folkways can help get you in the groove with this collection of “torchy lullabies.” I’m not sure what’s meant by the term “lullaby” in this context as the album is big on brass. If Lizzie Miles’ mother did indeed sing these songs to her as a babe as the cover promises, one can only imagine that she turned out to be one high-energy gal.
Finding Indianapolis items in the collections was a bit more difficult—but that’s not to say there’s none to be had!
This photograph by Pittsburgh-born photographer Robert Walch is simply titled Indianapolis—but where on earth could it be? Without any clues in the object’s online description, we’re at the mercy of our imagination. (But if you were/are an Indianapolis native who was living in the area circa 1973 and can clue us in, shout out in the comments area below.)
For a fun, pan-Indianan experience, check out Folkways Records’ Fine Times at Our House: Traditional Music of Indiana. It’s certainly something a little different from the sports-specific war cries you hear from the stands.
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