Saturday, December 31, 2011

Catch-up and Updates

Gee, whatever happened to December? Below the fold is my Holiday/Christmas letter to the family.

Somehow I missed posting my recap of Round House Theatre's Pride and Prejudice. It was great fun, despite the Washington Post's predictably negative review. It was set in a whimsical toy box whose trim cabinets reveal changes of scenery that, except for the decor in the interiors, weren't all that different. The ladies also wore strikingly similar gowns (my friend thought they looked too much like nightgowns), making some of the characters hard to distinguish. (Not all sisters are that interchangeable.)

What I really enjoyed was the swift pacing through the domestic and romantic joyrides and the genuine catch of tears brought on by self-awareness when Elizabeth realizes her prejudice against Darcy was unfounded.

I also took another visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, with my same Pride and Prejudice friend. It was fun to finally show off some of my favorite venues (RHT and NMWA) with someone else besides my dear readers here!

I got a second chance to snap some of my favorite pieces in the collection:

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Four Seated Figures, 2002, by Magdalena Abakanowicz (Polish, b. 1930)

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Carrie Pease Graham, 1895, by Elisabet Ney (German, 1833-1907), with Mary Cassatt's Portrait of Katherine Cassatt, 1905, in the background)

Photographs by Louise Dahl-Wolfe (American, 1895-1989)

But in the exhibit of Asian-inspired art, where I fell in love with a new artist, no photography was allowed. Fortunately, there was a book! But unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of scanning the picture. Anyway, I share with you the lovely work of Lilian May Miller, and her Monet haystacks-inspired Fujiyama:

Moonlight and Sunrise (respectively) at Fujiyama, Japan (both 1928), lovingly photographed from the book Between Two Worlds: The Life and Art of Lilian May Miller by Kendall H. Brown (exhibition catalog published by Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, 1998). Note, I bought the book at the NMWA gift shop. It's not available via Amazon, but I found it at Alibris.

Part of the joy of the outing back to NMWA, which happened the day after Thanksgiving, was continuing my chase of the ginkgo. I had been seeing ginkgo leaves throughout Bethesda this fall, but as far as I could find, there were no ginkgo trees in my neighborhood. I knew there were ginkgoes downtown, and sure enough, there they were around Metro Center, their bright yellow fans aglow in the autumn noon.

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And finally, just because I like it, the Art Deco (former) bus station on New York Avenue:


All photos by C. G. Wagner. Fair use principles apply: please give credit!

FOLD (below which, my annual holiday letter to the family)


GREETINGS from the beginning of a cold and damp holiday season! I hope you are warm, snug, and filled with good cheer.

This year found me wandering very little beyond my own neighborhood, and the 10-block walk between apartment and office was my principal means of exercise. Work kept me pretty busy in my new role as editor of THE FUTURIST. In January, I got to meet with the former Haitian ambassador, who brought a small contingent of supporters to our office on the anniversary of the devastating earthquake. They had come to the World Future Society seeking support for rebuilding their nation, which was at that time nervously awaiting a presidential-election runoff. It was humbling to be asked for such support and it helped us to be able to articulate our own mission as an organization.

Another interesting byproduct of my new position was that I was invited to be interviewed for the Grinnell alumni magazine--again, an opportunity to clarify what futurists do and why. (And why I, who am so risk-averse and change-resistant, am somehow the voice of futurism! Hee!)

And if this wasn’t enough “greatness” thrust upon me, I was also asked to take over the leadership of my Shakespeare Readers group! In an effort to increase membership, I’ve reached out to other Shakespeare fans on a MeetUp group and created an official Shakespeare Readers blog:

The only traveling I did this year was—as usual—either work or Clay related. The annual WFS conference was in Vancouver in July, and fortunately I was able to get out and see the neighborhood around our hotel a little bit. It’s a beautiful city, which I hadn’t seen since the World’s Fair in 1986.

The Clay Aiken trip of the year was out to Texas in March, where I got to visit with friends Chris, Debbie, Sheila, Jill, Mary, and Gary, along with an assortment of other ladies I’ve met at other concerts over the years. Much fun!

And yes, I finally did get to meet the man himself, fleetingly, at the meet-and-greet event in Towson, Maryland! With more than 40 fans there, herded along brusquely to get our pictures snapped with Clay, the event was more aptly described as a meet-and-moo. But Clay was in beautiful voice that night and turned the technical mishaps (lighting miscues and strange audio set-up) into high comedy.

Speaking of meet-and-greets, I got to see my favorite jazz singer, Nnenna Freelon, twice this year (well, the first time was New Year’s Eve last year), and also American Ballet Theater featured dancer Daniil Simkin, who had a slightly smaller crowd competing for his attention than Clay did.

I’ve continued to enjoy the productions at Round House and Ford’s theaters and the Strathmore Music Center. A very special outing to Ford’s in April was the rollicking musical Liberty Smith, which was all the more fun for sharing the experience with my brother Mike and sister-in-law Wanda and my cousin Bob and his wife Mary. During their visit we also got to do some “typical tourist” stuff, enjoying the cherry blossoms, museums, memorials, and monuments. And, of course, the D.C. parking challenge.

I spent Thanksgiving with good friends Suzanne and David Waters, who have treated me to so many Sunday dinners that I decided to splurge and take them to one of my favorite “family” restaurants, Ruth’s Chris. Yummo!

My New Year’s resolution is to finally get my apartment into visitor-friendly condition. So ya’ll come on down! (But hey, please call first!)

[End of letter]

I haven't monetized this blog yet, and I receive no royalties, commissions, or kickbacks from anything I mention here. But since I am particularly proud of the photography calendar I made for 2012, I'll include a link to it on Snapfish. You need to have an account at Snapfish to view, but you'll be able to customize and order it if you like:

2012 Calendar: Photography by C. G. Wagner

Maybe next year I'll figure out how to monetize. Till then, enjoy!

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