October has been a particularly busy month. Over the course of six weeks, I booked five events for a seven day period. This could have been awesome but I also planned a flu shot the day before festivities that pretty much left me listless, congested and achy. I shall remember to never book five events in one week again.
So I scored free tickets to see Mavis Staples at the Library of Congress. First, let me say that having actual tickets unlike waiting around for tickets as I did for Gregory Porter was so much more fantastic. I “bought” tix for the low, low price of free in the third row. I’ll honestly admit that I only know four Mavis Staples/The Staples Singers songs, but after seeing her on The Grammys last year, I knew I wanted to go. She was a guest in a celebration of the Civil Rights Movement as her family performed several songs used for marches. First she was great. Of course, she is not as young as she used to be, so she needed to sit down for 10 minutes, but we got a rollicking good show – one that maybe the Library of Congress wasn’t ready for. It wasn’t the usual stiff chamber music affair. It was definitely a show of all ages and races. One young White woman remarked that she didn’t know who Mavis was before the show and definitely became a convert. It’s interesting with all the talk of what performers do and don’t owe to fans in light of a certain (my contemporary) perpetually tardy artist that someone of Mavis’ status puts on a great show for free.99. Maybe the youngsters can learn a thing or two for how to win over new fans.
Now it’s time for the marathon of events with a nasty cold:
My girlfriend won a free exercise party and against my better judgment I went. I didn’t do so terrible despite being woefully out of shape and very congested. It reminded me of my bootcamp days when I was actually fit.
Because I often manifest my fears, I picked the red pebble and had to host my monthly documentary club meeting. I decided to create a make your own taco bar as I didn’t feel like real cooking and picked Carmen and Geoffrey as the movie. Geoffrey Holder had just passed and I saw that there was a documentary about his 50+ year marriage to Carmen de Lavallande. Again, I wasn’t too familiar with Carmen’s work and only knew Geoffrey from Boomerang. However, the movie was amazing. It explored how they both approach their artistry – dance, painting, costume design – and marriage. They accomplished so much and so few people know about their work, which is a great shame. Now I want to be married for 60 years! Well, only to someone as awesome as Geoffrey.
Gilt City had a deal for brunch at Sax, which not only a burlesque restaurant but also holds the record for the slowest service in Northwest DC. The problem and greatness of DC brunches are unlimited mimosas (I had the pomegranate). After several rounds the people next to us were screaming at dancers (who are actually perched above us in glass making it all the more ridiculous) like they were in the front row of Magic City. This is a refined restaurant with gilded pillars and corseted waitresses. Show some decorum.
My friend asked me to tag along to the RAW Natural Born Artists showcase at Penn Social. First, the layout of Penn Social is weird and I cannot imagine how it looks as a normal venue. The event allows artists to display their work from the downright innovative (photography printed on metal) to the kitsch (something that looked like a 70’s Velvet painting from the back of Jet Magazine) to the odd (blue made up people). I am one of those people that zoom through art galleries and museums. That Julia Roberts “consider it” speech from Mona Lisa Smile doesn’t work on me. So I was done and found my favorites in about 20 minutes.
I was invited to a free screening of The Imitation Game. It was great and a slice of history that I didn’t know.
Fifth and Final
While at the Library of Congress for Mavis, they announced other shows and we got tickets to see Stew from Passing Strange discuss his work, explain his process and perform some of his songs. I liked his discussion of the songwriting process as I was a wannabe songwriter in my youth and didn’t realize how complicated it was until my cousin and I tried recording some of these things.
I wrapped my month with an attempt at artistry. I went to one of those highly popular wine and paint parties. Half of my painting is fantastic. Turns out I make darn good pumpkins though I struggled with layering and mixing colors. Half of my painting is “well at least she tried.” I somehow could not nail these stupid swirling clouds. Then I remembered the art show from earlier that week and thought I should really buy something. Because making my own art ain’t about to happen.