June 27, 2012
The 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival kicks off today and we’re here to help you take full advantage of the many performances, talks, crafts, and demos that are taking over the Mall for the next two weeks. Each morning of the Festival, Around the Mall will publish a list of events to help you navigate the National Mall and get the most out of your visit. This year’s event features three programs: Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150, Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding The AIDS Memorial Quilt, and Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River. Come celebrate summer with ten days of food, music, dancing, storytelling, culture and more on June 27-July 1 and July 4-8. Take part in a quilting workshop, discover new ideas about dinosaurs, and listen to master storytellers. At night, “bring back the funk” with George Clinton, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Dumpstaphunk.
Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150
Morrill Performing Arts Center
11:00 AM 12:00 PM Festival Opening Ceremony
12:00 PM 1:00 PM Univ. of Hawai’i Ensemble
1:00 PM 2:00 PM Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole
2:00 PM 3:00 PM West Virginia University Steel Band
3:00 PM 4:00 PM Univ. of Hawai’i's Hula Halau Unukupukupu
4:00 PM 5:00 PM U.T.-Pan Am Mariachi Aztlán
5:00 PM 5:30 PM Dennis Stroughmatt et L’Esprit Creole
12:00 PM 12:30 PM Land-grant University Tradition: Research, Learning, and Engagement
12:30 PM 1:15 PM Reinventing Ag.: What’s New at the USDA?
1:15 PM 2:00 PM Transforming Communities: Local, Regional and Global
2:00 PM 2:45 PM Lifelong Learning: Beyond the Classroom
2:45 PM 3:30 PM Building on Tradition: Mississippi Hills Cultural Tourism
3:30 PM 4:15 PM Research Into Action: High Tech to Everyday
4:15 PM 5:00 PM Sustainable Solutions: Sustainability by Design
5:00 PM 5:30 PM The Next 150 Years: Campus of the Future
12:00 PM 12:30 PM The Father of USDA and America’s Land Grant Colleges: The Life and Times of
Senator Justin Smith Morrill
12:30 PM 1:00 PM Teaching Dinosaur Science Using Unthinkable Methods
1:00 PM 1:30 PM Empathic Design Research Strategy
1:30 PM 2:00 PM Expanding Educational and Career Opportunities for Students with Severe Physical
Disabilities: The Illinois Model
2:00 PM 2:30 PM The United Soybean Board Research and Partnerships with the Land-grant Universities
2:30 PM 3:00 PM How Songs Find Their Meanings: Que Sera, Sera
3:00 PM 3:30 PM A Brief History of the University of Illinois Rehabilitation Education Program
3:30 PM 4:00 PM What Really Bugs Us: Pests in the Garden and Integrated Pest Management
4:00 PM 4:30 PM The Story of New France, the Other Colonial America
4:30 PM 5:00 PM Teaching Dinosaur Science Using Unthinkable Methods
5:00 PM 5:30 PM Art Science Fusion
12:00 PM 12:45 PM Food Safe Families
1:00 PM 1:45 PM Cooking with Buffalo: Buffalo Snacks – Wasna; Buffalo Mini Pizzas
2:00 PM 2:45 PM Olive Oil Presentation
3:00 PM 3:45 PM Vermont Maple Syrup
4:00 PM 5:30 PM Food as Medicine: Posole with Mushrooms; Rose Hip Jam; Rosehip Raspberry Fizz
Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt
Red Hot Stage
12:00 PM 12:45 PM The NAMES Project Performance Troupe: The Start of the AIDS Epidemic
12:45 PM 1:30 PM The NAMES Project Performance Troupe
1:30 PM 2:15 PM The NAMES Project Performance Troupe: Imagining The Quilt
2:15 PM 3:00 PM Spoken Word
3:00 PM 3:45 PM The NAMES Project Performance Troupe: The Last One
3:45 PM 5:30 PM “Sometimes I Cry” by Sheryl Lee Ralph
Giving Voice Stage
12:00 PM 12:45 PM History of The Quilt and The NAMES Project Foundation
12:45 PM 1:30 PM HIV/AIDS Through Spoken Word
1:30 PM 2:15 PM Sheryl Lee Ralph
2:15 PM 3:00 PM The Last One
3:00 PM 3:45 PM Quilting Workshops and Panel Makers
3:45 PM 4:30 PM Community Responses to AIDS
4:30 PM 5:00 PM Stories from The Quilt
5:00 PM 5:30 PM Reflections on The Quilt Display
Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River
12:00 PM 1:30 PM Soul & Funk: Faycez U Know
1:30 PM 2:30 PM Hip Hop: Head Roc
2:30 PM 3:30 PM Da Originalz: Beat Ya Feet
3:30 PM 4:30 PM Soul & Funk: Faycez U Know
Good Hope and Naylor Corner
12:00 PM 1:30 PM Storytelling: Master-Griot Storyteller Baba-C
1:30 PM 2:30 PM Quilting Workshop: Daughters of Dorcas & Sons
2:30 PM 3:30 PM Storytelling: Master-Griot Storyteller Baba-C
3:30 PM 4:30 PM Hip Hop: Head Roc
4:30 PM 5:30 PM Da Originalz
12:00 PM 1:30 PM Art Workshop: Jay Coleman
1:30 PM 2:30 PM Ongoing Activities
2:30 PM 3:30 PM Art Workshop: Jay Coleman
3:30 PM 4:30 PM Quilting Workshop: Daughters of Dorcas & Sons
4:30 PM 5:30 PM Ongoing Activities
Morrill Performing Arts Center
6:00 PM 7:30 PM West Virginia University Steel Band, featuring Ellie Mannette
6:00 PM 9:30 PM Bring Back the Funk, featuring George Clinton, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Dumpstaphunk
June 26, 2012
Tuesday, June 26 This Is Your Life: Duke Kahanamoku
Gear up for the Olympics with the American Indian Museum’s June Daily Films, which wrap up this week. In 1957, the TV show This Is Your Life hosted native Hawaiian swimmer and surfer Duke Kahanamoku, who won the 100 meter race in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and later became a world famous surfer, to discuss his incredible journey to the Olympics and his legacy. Don’t forget to visit the related exhibition, “Best in the World: Native Athletes in the Olympics.” Free. 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. American Indian Museum.
Wednesday, June 27 Bring Back the Funk
Get funkadelic with George Clinton, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk at the opening concert of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. These music legends are taking over the Mall to celebrate the 2012 groundbreaking of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (which will house Clinton’s iconic Mothership in its “Musical Crossroads” exhibition). Discover how funk has influenced hip hop, soul and rock—and get up and dance! Free. 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. National Mall.
Thursday, June 28 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Since 1967, the Folklife Festival has drawn more than one million people each year to celebrate community arts and culture. Meet musicians, artists, performers, craftspeople, workers, cooks and storytellers who come to the Mall from all over the world. This year’s festival explores three themes: Campus and Community: 150 years of land-grant universities and the USDA; Citified: Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River and Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Check the Folklife Festival website for a full schedule of events. Free. Events run today through July 1 and again July 4 through 8. National Mall.
June 21, 2012
Upon entering the African Art Museum’s new exhibition, “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts,” for the first time, Johnnetta B. Cole, director of the African Art Museum, was abruptly transported back to the evenings of her childhood in Jacksonville, Florida.
“I would go through a ritual each and every night that we were allowed to stay up a little late and play outside,” she recalled at the exhibition press preview. “I would look up to the sky and say something I suspect little girls and boys in multiple languages around the world say: Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”
This universal wonder inspired by the night sky is at the heart of “African Cosmos,” which opened yesterday and will be on view through December 9. The opening coincides with a recent announcement that South Africa and eight other African partners will host the radio telescope-based Square Kilometre Project, which will “literally probe the early origins of the universe,” according to Derek Hanekom, the Deputy Minister of Science and Technology in South Africa.
The cavernous gallery houses a hundred artifacts of “cultural astronomy,” as curator Christine Mullen Kreamer puts it, in the form of cosmos-related African artwork from ancient Egypt and Nubia to present day. The diverse body of work breaks away from the Western and scientific conception of the universe to tell a different narrative of cosmic understanding. This narrative encompasses many different interpretations of the sky over time, including the Yoruba depiction of the universe as a lidded vessel, burial paintings of the Egyptian sky goddess Nut, and a 1990 painting by South African artist Gavin Jantjes linking the continent’s staple foods like yams, cassava, barley and rice with the movement of the river constellation Eridanus, which appears before the Nile floods.
A cornerstone of the exhibition is a video installation by South African artist Karel Nel as part of COSMOS, a Caltech astronomy project mapping a two-degree square area of the universe. The video zooms in towards the center of the universe and back out again, as a chorus of African crickets chirps. Nel was struck by how the crickets that would sing outside his studio at night sounded like “deep space.” The chirps are then played backwards, transformed into eerie, alien-like clicks.
Why is this Afro-centric narrative of the universe so important? Primarily, the exhibition wants visitors to “understand Africa’s role in the history of knowledge over time,” says curator Mullen Kreamer.
This reclaimed role in building knowledge is especially relevant now, in light of the decision to install the bulk of the Square Kilometre Project in South Africa. The army of radio telescopes will trace faint radio signals to map the evolution of the universe and determine the positions of the nearest billion galaxies. Most of the 3,000 telescopes will be installed in the semi-arid regions of South Africa, where there is little interference from cell phone towers or TV broadcast. Hanekom, who was present at the opening, emphasized the significance of the move.
“It is an expression of confidence in African scientific capabilities such as we’ve never seen before,” Hanekom says. “This [project] is going to be a catalyst. It will take us from a continent seen to be riddled with poverty and underdevelopment to a continent that will have a major offer to make to global knowledge.”
“African Cosmos” can help contextualize this project within the long tradition of African sky-watching. The museum also hopes it will open the minds of children who may feel intimidated by technology. “Science, engineering and technology for some communities has become something so foreign, so complicated; something that young children simply do not want to relate to,” Director Cole says. But as she well knows, every child can relate to that instinctive desire to wish upon a star.
African Cosmos: Stellar Art is on display through December 9.
June 19, 2012
Does this little guy look like a Nando to you? How about a Loki?
It’s time to name the National Zoo’s baby black howler monkey, who’s turned into “one of the Small Mammal House’s loudest and most charismatic critters” since his birth on March 22, according to the Zoo’s press release. Beginning today, June 18, the Zoo is hosting a poll on its Facebook page to name the baby. You can choose one of four names the keepers felt reflected the baby’s personality.
The name choices and their explanations are below:
- Sumaq: This name in the Quechua language means “beautiful.” The baby’s golden locks and chocolate brown eyes prompted the keepers to suggest a name befitting a handsome boy.
- Orejas: The baby may blend in perfectly with 5-year-old mother Chula’s fur, but one feature (or two) makes him stick out: his large ears. For this reason, keepers chose the name Orejas, a Spanish word meaning “ears.”
- Nando: Short for Fernando, “Nando” is a popular name meaning “courageous.” At first, the baby was shy and clung tightly to his mother. In the last few weeks, however, he has grown increasingly independent and active, swinging by his tail and walking from branch to branch. Keepers expect he will become more daring over the next few months.
- Loki: “Loki” is the Norse mythological god of mischief. Inquisitive from a young age, the baby howler explores his environment by touching and tasting everything around him. He has even tried to steal mom’s food.
Voting will close at noon Friday, June 22—exactly three months after the howler monkey’s birth. The Zoo will announce the winning name on Facebook that afternoon.
If you haven’t gotten a chance yet, you can head over to the Small Mammals House to greet the new baby and his parents, Chula and Pele.
June 18, 2012
Tuesday, June 19 The Art of Political Advertising
From 30-second spots to 30-minute infomercials, presidential campaigns have long relied on television as the best way to communicate with the American public. Trace the genre’s evolution from early ads to the state of today’s industry with Robert Mann, author of Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics, and political consultant Mark Putnam, who wrote and produced Barack Obama’s 2008 30-minute TV special American Stories, American Solutions. Stick around afterwards for a moderated discussion led by Alicia Kolar Prevost of American University’s Campaign Management. $35 for general admission, $30 for members. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. S. Dillon Ripley Center.
Wednesday, June 20 Luce Design with Jackie Flanagan
DC fashion designer Jackie Flanagan kicks off the American Art Museum’s new summer series showcasing local designers. Flanagan, who owns the DC boutique Nana, will talk about her design process, her desire to create ethically-made clothing, her support of other local designers, and how she is inspired by color and vintage and modern designs. Free. 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Luce Foundation Center, American Art Museum.
Thursday, June 21 Karel Nel
Star-gazing will never be the same after this talk by South African artist Karel Nel, who explores the intersection of arts, spirituality and astronomy. In 2004, Nel became an artist in residence for COSMOS, an astronomy project that is mapping a two-degree square area of the sky. Joining the conversation is Nick Scoville, the principal investigator of the Hubble Space Telescope imaging of COSMOS. Free. 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. African Art Museum.
For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.