December 27, 2012
Friday, December 28: Gallery Talk with Remina Greenfield
Ai Weiwei had already developed a reputation as a rebellious artist, but after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan in which more than 5,000 children were killed, most due to the poor construction of school buildings, he became much more outspoken. He organized citizens’ investigations and made pieces like “Straight,” a pile of 38 tons of rebar, recovered and straightened from the wreckage of the earthquake. As part of the museum’s multi-level exhibition, “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” Remina Greenfield will lead a discussion about the piece. Free. 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Hirshhorn.
Saturday, December 29: Lincoln’s Indian Legacy
Abraham Lincoln is remembered for many things, but lesser known is his political relationship with the Indians. Showing Saturday at the American Indian Museum, the film Canes of Power looks at 19 Pueblos in New Mexico, each a recipient of a silver-headed cane from the president. Learn about the objects that represented and continue to symbolize the Pueblos’ sovereignty and the ongoing importance of Lincoln’s commitment. Free. 12:30 p.m. American Indian Museum.
Sunday, December 30: Portrait Story Days: Andy Warhol
Both the sitter for and creator of multiple portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, Andy Warhol is at once am ubiquitous and enigmatic artist. With portraits of Albert Einstein, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jimmy Carter, Andy Warhol reinvented the religious icon, within a secular, pop art aesthetic. Learn about the man who was a legend in his own right, defining an entire artistic scene and continuing to inspire admiration years after his death in 1987. Free. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. National Portrait Gallery.
And if you happen to have a herd of family members curious to explore all the Smithsonian has to offer, just download our specially created Visitors Guide App. Get the most out of your trip to Washington, D.C. and the National Mall with this selection of custom-built tours, based on your available time and passions. From the editors of Smithsonian magazine, the app is also packed with handy navigational tools, maps, museum floor plans and museum information including ‘Greatest Hits’ for each Smithsonian museum.
For a complete listing of Smithsonian events and exhibitions visit the goSmithsonian Visitors Guide. Additional reporting by Michelle Strange.
December 14, 2012
Friday, December 21: Lars Krutak: Spiritual Skin
Presuming the end of the world is not for at least a few thousand more years, we present a night of enlightening tattoo appreciation. It turns out, while the oldest known example of tattoos are cosmetic, the second oldest is actually most likely medicinal. Megan Gambino spoke with Smithsonian anthropologist Lars Krutak for her blog, Collage of Arts and Sciences, about his time spent studying tattoo practices throughout history. His research has taken him around the world and now it brings him to the Big Board in D.C. for a book signing and lecture about the spiritual role of tattoos and scarification. Free. 7:00 p.m. The Big Board, 421 H St. NE.
Saturday, December 22: Dakota 38
Abraham Lincoln has been remembered for many things, but seldom is he mentioned as the President who authorized the largest mass execution in United States history. Thirty-eight Dakota man were put to death at the end of the Dakota War of 1862. Native spiritual leader Jim Miller knew none of this when he dreamed, in 2005, that he rode across South Dakota to watch the execution of 38 strangers in Minnesota. When he learned of the event, he set out with a group of riders to recreate his dream journey, documented in the film Dakota 38. Free. 3:30 p.m. American Indian Museum.
Sunday, December 23: ZooLights, Conservation Carousel
What better way to spend a restful Sunday evening than taking in the seasonal lights display at the National Zoo. See your favorite animals larger than life and in their full holiday splendor. And new this year, the Conservation Carousel features 56 hand-carved figures modeled from the Zoo’s collection as well as two hand-carved chariots. Everyone from naked mole rats to hummingbirds is along for the ride, so you should be too! Rides are $3. Parking is $16 for non-members. Lights run 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. National Zoo.
Read more articles about the holidays with our Smithsonian Holiday Guide here
December 3, 2012
Tuesday, December 4: Madcap May: The Many Lives and Loves of a Scandalous Showgirl
From owner of the Hope Diamond and darling of the stage to penniless ex-pat, May Yohe lived a diva’s life. Headlines followed her around the world, through multiple high-profile marriages and equally tantalizing performances, but only Richard Kurin’s new biography, Madcap May: Mistress of Myth, Men and Hope brings her many adventures into one story. The Smithsonian Institution’s under secretary for history, art and culture knew he had to write the book after he came across May while doing the research for another book on the Hope Diamond. Kurin told the Around the Mall blog, “When you start thinking about all the things that she did: that many lovers and husbands at that time, to go to the height of fame in the British theater at that time—this is the time of Gilbert and Sullivan and George Bernard Shaw, so to be so successful and then end up playing in ten-cent vaudeville theaters, really in poverty, and running a chicken, and running a tea plantation, and a rubber plantation! She did so much more than any one human being, it’s kind of hard to imagine.” Hear more of her story from Kurin, who will discussing and signing copies of his book for Smithsonian Associates. Tickets $18 members, $25 non-members. 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Museum of African Art.
Much was made of the importance of America’s changing demographics in the recent election, particularly the role of Latino voters in deciding the presidential race. But the Smithsonian’s Latino Center has been hard at work researching the historic roots of the Latino community in the nation’s capital. Joined by regional experts, the Center presents a discussion of the region’s relationship to its Bolivian community, its immigrant entrepreneurs and its low-income populations from World War II to today. Catholic University’s Enrique Pumar, the Brookings Institution’s Audrey Singer, George Washington University’s Marie Price and Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Jane Henrici will discuss their own work and the Latino Center’s research. Free. 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. American Indian Museum.
Thursday, December 6: Carbon for Water
As part of the Anacostia Community Museum’s “Reclaiming the Edge: Urban Waterways and Civic Engagement” exhibit, the museum presents a documentary about the vulnerability of people living in Kenya’s Western Province. Reliant on the rivers for drinking water, many of the people are exposed to water-borne illness. The documentary, by Evan Abramson and Carmen Elsa Lopez, will be discussed by Anacostia Riverkeeper Mike Bolinder. Free. 7 p.m. Anacostia Community Museum.
November 29, 2012
Events Nov. 30-Dec. 2: Africa’s Space Programs, the Middle East’s Diva and Ang Lee’s Wedding Banquet
Friday, November 30: Africa and the World’s Space Programs
In conjunction with the African Art Museum’s out-of-this-world exhibit “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts,” astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell discusses Africa’s involvement in the world’s space programs. Starting from the continent’s early history charting and investigating the stars, McDowell tracks a long relationship into modern times. Though Ghana’s Space Science and Technology Centre, for example, only has a handful of employees, the country is optimistic about its future in the industry. According to the BBC, countries like Nigeria and Ghana are hoping to use their space centers for “natural-resource management, weather forecasting, agriculture and national security.” Free. 4 p.m. African Art Museum.
In the midst of the Sackler’s 25th anniversary celebrations, the gallery has found time to host the “next great diva of Arab music,” Karima Skalli. Joined by Hanna Khoury (violin), Kinan Abou-afach (cello), Hicham Chami (quanun), Kinan Idnawi (oud) and Hafez El Ali Kotain (percussion); Skalli will perform traditional and contemporary favorites from the Arab Peninsula in honor of the gallery’s groundbreaking exhibit, “Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Free. 7:30 p.m. Freer Gallery.
Sunday, December 2: The Wedding Banquet
Another Ang Lee classic, The Wedding Banquet, tells the story of a gay Taiwanese man living in New York who finds himself in the middle of his own wedding celebrations after agreeing to marry a woman to secure a green card for her. Like many of his films, Lee succeeds in showing the tensions and strengths family inevitably brings. The comedy was a surprise hit for Lee, delighting audiences when it came out in 1993. Nearly ten years later, it still resonates. The series of screenings continues on Dec. 7 with Lee’s even more famous, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman. Free. 3 p.m. Freer Gallery.
November 15, 2012
Friday, November 16: Lust, Caution
The title pretty much says it all. In Ang Lee’s 2007 thriller set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, there’s plenty of lust and perhaps not enough caution. The film follows a young college student who plays the role of a modern-day Judith, trying to seduce and assassinate an intelligence officer. Known for its racy sex scenes, the film uses these moments to confuse the audience about the exact nature of the couple’s relationship. Based on a novella of the same name, the movie unfolds over the span of several years as each person’s motives are tested. Needless to say, the film is intended for mature audiences. Free. 7 p.m. Freer Gallery.
Saturday, November 17: Native Festival: Mvskoke Etvlwv (Muscogee People)
Ending a three-day celebration of Muscogee culture and heritage, Saturday’s celebration at the American Indian Museum is part of the institution’s recognition of American Indian Heritage Month. The Muscogee Nation, also known as the Creek Nation, is based in Oklahoma. Representatives from the Muscogee Nation Honor Guard will be on-hand for storytelling along with Muscogee singers. Visitors will get a chance to check out Muscogee artworks and craft as well as to try traditional cuisine. Free. 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. American Indian Museum.
Sunday, November 18: Rhythm Cafe: Thelonious Monk
When your name is Thelonious S. Monk Jr., people might expect big things from you. And when you decide to, like your father, also become a jazz musician, well, you can imagine the pressure. But T. S. Monk, as he’s known, has become an artist in his own right and on Sunday he will talk about what it was like to grow up as the son of a legend and how he found his own role in the post-bop, neo-bop genre. As chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, he will perform some of his father’s music and discuss the legacy he left behind for jazz. Free, but space is limited and reservations are required; call 202-633-4844. 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Anacostia Community Museum.