May 10, 2013
The drinks were freer, the music brassier and the times, well, Gatsby-er. At least, that’s the picture F. Scott Fitzgerald creates with his tales of high society run wild in his 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. Now set for yet another screen adaptation, this time thanks to the energetic hands of Baz Luhrmann, the novel continues to resonate today.
Its appeal is a dark but undeniable one, enough to let you weep alongside Daisy as she marvels inside Gatsby’s closet at his exquisite shirts. The clothes, the alcohol, the music–we get it, it’s a heady and seductive mix. So go ahead and throw your Gatsby-themed party (skipping the murder and suicide–oops, spoiler alert) and let the experts at Folkways supply the playlist.
Thanks to David Horgan and Corey Blake of Smithsonian Folkways for the inspired lineup that includes three tracks referenced in the novel itself, including “Three O’clock in the Morning,” which narrator Nick Carraway calls a “neat, sad little waltz.” The novel also mentions “The Sheik of Araby” and “A Love Nest,” which, in some versions, includes the poignant lyric:
Ever comes the question old,
“Shall we build for pride? Or,
Shall brick and mortar hold
worth and love inside?”
January 21, 2013
Inauguration day, it’s finally here, along with millions of visitors looking to take in some uniquely D.C.-culture. While our special presidents tour from our visitors guide app will keep you exploring in your spare-time, this post is all about the when, where and how of January 21. Plus, a few select events happening around the Smithsonian, you know, in between the whole inauguration thing.
On Inauguration Day, January 21, Smithsonian museums on the National Mall are open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A few museums will open early—the Castle opens at 7:30 a.m., Sackler Gallery, Freer Gallery, Hirshhorn and African Art open at 8 a.m. Mall entrances on the south side will be closed. Visitors will be asked to use the Independence Ave. entrances.
The American Indian Museum and the Renwick Gallery are closed January 21.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Luce Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Lunder Conservation Center will be closed Sunday, January 20.
Most streets around the National Mall—including Independence and Constitution avenues and Jefferson and Madison drives—will be closed Monday, January 21.
The Archives, Smithsonian and Mt. Vernon Square stations will be closed Sunday, January 20 to Monday, January 21, midnight to 5:30 p.m. All other stations will open Monday, January 21 at 4 a.m.
No Parking on the National Mall after 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 20.
All museums, open to the public during designated hours, have accessible restrooms
Live broadcast of the swearing-in ceremony in Flag Hall in American History Museum, beginning at 11:30 a.m. A live broadcast will also begin at 11:30 a.m. at the African Art Museum.
Inaugural theme walk-in tours, Monday, January 21, 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the American Art Museum.
For “Super Sonic Weekend: Sounds and Songs of the American Presidency” (all day Monday), Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is streaming audio recordings related to the American presidency, from a 1757 campaign song used by George Washington in his first race for the Virginia House of Burgesses, to presidential speeches and much more.
Tour America’s Presidents at the National Portrait Gallery at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
At the National Portrait Gallery: ”Portrait of President Barack Obama” The original artwork, a hand-finished collage by artist Shepard Fairey, from President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign is on view January 19 – 22. The work is joined by two larger-than-life tapestry portraits of the president by artist Chuck Close.
At the American Indian Museum: ”A Century Ago: They Came as Sovereign Leaders” This photo exhibition focuses on President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade and the six great chiefs who participated in the parade arriving with their own purposes in mind and representing the needs of their people.
At the National Museum of African American History and Culture Gallery in the American History Museum: Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963″ In 2013 the country will commemorate two events that changed the course of the nation-the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1963 March on Washington. Standing as milestone moments in the grand sweep of American history, these achievements were the culmination of decades of struggles by individuals – both famous and unknown – who believed in the American promise that this nation was dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”
October 24, 2012
Joe Bataan’s Band is slamming, delivering high energy salsa rhythms and soulful funk with a 1960s intensity and a new freshness. A few original members remain in the band but it is Bataan, the smooth, Afro-Filipino vocalist and keyboardist reared in Spanish Harlem, who drives the eclectic sound.
At a recent performance at the National Museum of Natural History nearly 500 fans, mostly Asian, Black, and Latino—aging from millennial to middle age—clapped and danced in the aisles or their seats. Some waved album covers and sang along. At age 69, Bataan is still the king. After the concert, Bataan took a few minutes to discuss with me the highs and lows of his career.
How have your audiences changed over the years?
The first supporters of my music were Latinos. Then with my crossover into rhythm and blues, I got the African American folk who learned I was part black. They liked my style. Recently, we’ve gotten Filipinos, Asian populations and people all over the world— Australia, Spain, Germany. I’m hoping to make a trip to Argentina soon.
Why do you think you have such broad appeal? Is it your heritage as an African American-Filipino from Spanish Harlem?
The nostalgic sound of my music is beginning to have an awakening among people who remember it and others who never heard it before. People are turned on to the Latin Soul sound. Music is a universal language and I happen to appeal to different cultures because of my openness. Being open to different cultures is right up my alley. I think if someone who wasn’t open or didn’t have my story tried to do this it wouldn’t work.
The Fugees covered your music in their runaway album The Score. How did you feel about that?
I thought it was whimsical until I learned it was an infringement of my music. I kept quiet about that a long time. But they were good about it and settled with my attorneys. It brought recognition to my sound. I guess you could say I got in one lump sum what I never received all those early years.
As America embraces its diversity how is your story and music instructive?
There are so many talented Asians, especially Filipinos, who don’t share their gifts. A lot of talented Filipinos never get off the island. A lot of people with mixed backgrounds were lost. We didn’t know where we fit in. With my song Ordinary Guy (Afro-Filipino) they’re beginning to come out and show pride in their mixed heritage. It’s no longer something to hide. My message is, it’s time to stand up and be as aggressive about who you are in life and in music as you are in the workforce. Bruno Mars and one of the Black Eyed Peas are of Filipino heritage.
What’s next on your schedule?
I’m working with Kilusan Bautista on a Unity Program that will get Asians involved all over the world. We want to launch a Unity Day November 2. He does a wonderful play, Universal Self. My touring will take me back to the Philippines in February, to London in March, and Rutgers University in April.
Any final words from the King of Latin Soul to his fans?
This is something I used to tell my kids when I was a youth counselor. There are three ingredients to success. The first is Spirit. You must believe in a supreme being who is bigger than yourself. I thank the Lord and lift him up for my success. The second is Health. You must take time to take care of your body. And the third is Knowledge. It’s criminal to let a day go by without learning something new.
Joe Bataan performed and was honored at an October 19 Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center tribute highlighting his career and the socio-cultural activism of Asian, Latino and African American communities in the sixties and seventies. The Smithsonian Latino Center, The Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, The Smithsonian Immigration/Migration Inititative, Smithsonian Consortium for Understanding the American Experience, and the National Museum of African American Heritage and Culture were co-collaborators.
February 7, 2012
Our inquisitive readers are rising to the challenge we gave them last month. The questions are pouring in and we’re ready for more. Do you have any questions for our curators? Submit your questions here.
How much is the Hope Diamond worth? — Marjorie Mathews, Silver Spring, Maryland
That’s the most popular question we get, but we don’t really satisfy people by giving them a number. There are a number of answers, but the best one is that we honestly don’t know. It’s a little bit like Liz Taylor’s jewels being sold in December—all kinds of people guessed at what they would sell for, but everybody I know was way off. Only when those pieces were opened up to bidding at a public auction could you find out what their values were. When they were sold, then at least for that day and that night you could say, well, they were worth that much. The Hope Diamond is kind of the same way, but more so. There’s simply nothing else like it. So how do you put a value on the history, on the fact it’s been here on display for over 50 years and a few hundred million people have seen it, and on that fact it’s a rare blue diamond on top of everything else? You don’t. – Jeffrey E. Post, mineralogist, National Museum of Natural History
What’s the worst impact of ocean acidification so far?- Nancy Schaefer, Virginia Beach, Virginia
The impacts of ocean acidification are really just starting to be felt, but two big reports that came out in 2011 show that it could have very serious effects on coral reefs. These studies did not measure the warming effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but rather its effect of making the ocean more acidic when it dissolves in the ocean. Places where large amounts of carbon dioxide seep into the water from the sea floor provide a natural experiment and show us how ocean waters might look, say, 50 or 100 years from now. Both studies showed branching, lacy, delicate coral forms are likely to disappear, and with them that kind of three-dimensional complexity so many species depend on. Also, other species that build a stony skeleton or shell, such as oysters or mussels, are likely to be affected. This happens because acidification makes carbonate ions, which these species need for their skeletons, less abundant.
Nancy Knowlton, marine biologist
National Museum of Natural History
Art and artifacts from ancient South Pacific and Pacific Northwest tribes have similarities in form and function. Is it possible that early Hawaiians caught part of the Kuroshio Current of the North Pacific Gyre to end up along the northwest coast of America from northern California to Alaska? — April Amy Croan, Maple Valley, Washington
Those similarities have given rise to various theories, including trans-Pacific navigation, independent drifts of floating artifacts, inadvertent crossings by ships that have lost their rudders or rigging, or whales harpooned in one area that died or were captured in a distant place. Some connections are well-known, like feather garment fragments found in an archaeological site in Southeast Alaska that appear to have been brought there by whaling ships that had stopped in the Hawaiian Islands, a regular route for 19th-century whalers. Before the period of European contact, the greatest similarities are with the southwest Pacific, not Hawaii. The Kushiro current would have facilitated Asian coastal contacts with northwestern North America, but would not have helped Hawaiians. The problem of identification is one of context, form and dating. Most of the reported similarities are either out of their original context (which can’t be reconstructed), or their form is not specific enough to relate to another area’s style, or the date of creation cannot be established. To date there is no acceptable proof for South Pacific-Northwest Coast historical connections that predates the European whaling era, except for links that follow the coastal region of the North Pacific into Alaska.
William Fitzhugh, archeologist
Natural History Museum
July 11, 2011
Welcome to the final day of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Make the most of the last events by trying Amazonian tucupí broth, made of scalded cassava, or try your hand at the tango. Look forward to the next 50 years of the Peace Corps at the Peace Porch and reflect on stories from the festival at the Session stage. There are no evening concerts tonight.
Al Son Que Me Toquen Stage:
11:00 AM–11:45 PM Chirimía la Contundencia
11:45 PM–12:30 PM El Pueblo Canta
12:30 PM–1:15 PM Aires del Campo
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Don Abundio y sus Traviesos
2:00 PM–2:45 PM Grupo Cabrestero
2:45 PM–3:30 PM Aires del Campo
3:30 PM–4:15 PM Chirimía la Contundencia
4:15 PM–5:00 PM Amazonian Ceremonial Music & Dance
5:00 PM–5:30 PM Tango de Medellín
El Rumbiadero Stage:
11:00 AM–11:45 PM Aires del Campo
11:45 PM–12:30 PM Joropo Contrapunteo Workshop
12:30 PM–1:15 PM Tango Workshop
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Salsa Workshop
2:00 PM–2:45 PM Baudilio y sus Marimba and Cantaoras de Alabaos
2:45 PM–3:30 PM Circo Ciudad
3:30 PM–4:15 PM Carranguera Music & Dance Workshop
4:15 PM–5:00 PM Carnival Workshop
5:00 PM–5:30 PM Salsa Workshop
Me Contaron Los Abuelos Stage:
11:00 AM–11:45 PM Hat-Making Traditions
11:45 PM–12:30 PM Instrument-Making Tradidions
12:30 PM–1:15 PM Ceremonial Music & Dance at Amazonian Circle
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Religious Sculpture
2:00 PM–2:45 PM Working with Clay
2:45 PM–3:30 PM Fish in the Amazon
3:30 PM–4:15 PM Andean Highland Crafts with Fibers
4:15 PM–5:00 PM Filigree Craft & Design
5:00 PM–5:30 PM Conversation with Artists
Sabores y Saberes Stage:
11:00 AM–11:45 PM Llanero Stew
11:45 PM–12:30 PM Smoked Chicken Stew
12:30 PM–1:15 PM Afternoon Snacks
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Sweets from Cali
2:00 PM–2:45 PM Amazonian Tucupí Broth
2:45 PM–3:30 PM Rice Bread
3:30 PM–4:15 PM Regional Empanadas
4:15 PM–5:00 PM Rice across the Regions
5:00 PM–5:30 PM Regional Drinks
THE PEACE CORPS
11:00 AM–12:00 PM Tinikling Dancers from Philippines
12:00 PM–1:00 PM Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali
1:00 PM–2:00 PM San Dancers from Botswana
2:00 PM–3:00 PM Opika Performance Group from Ukraine
3:00 PM–4:00 PM Tinikling Dancers from Philippines
4:00 PM–5:00 PM Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali
5:00 PM–5:30 PM Final Gathering
11:00 AM–11:45 PM Diversity in the Peace Corps
11:45 PM–12:30 PM Sharing the United States with the World
12:30 PM–1:15 PM Sharing the World with the United States
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Capturing the Peace Corps Experience
2:00 PM–2:45 PM The Peace Corps’ Inspiration
2:45 PM–3:30 PM Being “The American”
3:30 PM–4:15 PM Peace Corps Families
4:15 PM–5:00 PM Capturing the Peace Corps Experience
5:00 PM–5:30 PM The Next Fifty Years
Home Cooking Stage
11:00 AM–11:45 PM Jamaican Cooking
11:45 PM–12:30 PM Georgian Cooking
12:30 PM–1:15 PM Zambian Cooking
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Moroccan Cooking
2:00 PM–2:45 PM Malian Cooking
2:45 PM–3:30 PM Guatemalan Cooking
3:30 PM–4:15 PM Kyrgyz Cooking
4:15 PM–5:00 PM Tongan Cooking
5:00 PM–5:30 PM Just Desserts
RHYTHM AND BLUES
11:00 AM–11:45 PM Vocal Roots
11:45 PM–12:30 PM Globe Posters and R&B
12:30 PM–1:15 PM Musical Crossroads
1:15 PM–2:00 PM Stories from the Studio
2:00 PM–2:45 PM Doo-Wop with the Swallows
2:45 PM–3:30 PM Music Communities
3:30 PM–4:15 PM Marketing & Promotion
4:15 PM–5:30 PM Stories from the Festival
11:00 AM–12:05 PM Fred Wesley and The New JBs
12:05 PM–1:10 PM The Swallows
1:10 PM–2:15 PM The Jewels
2:15 PM–3:20 PM Smooth & EZ Hand Dance Institute
3:20 PM–4:25 PM Fred Wesley and The New JBs
4:20 PM–5:30 PM The Swallows
Motor City Stage
11:00 AM–12:05 PM The Dixie Cups
12:05 PM–1:10 PM Smooth & EZ Hand Dance Institute
1:10 PM–2:15 PM The Monitors
2:15 PM–3:20 PM Wind Workshop (Cross Program)
3:20 PM–4:25 PM The Dixie Cups
4:20 PM–5:30 PM The Monitors