Washington D.C. – Reconnaissance

Beginning near Dupont Circle back to Union Station with its massive Columbus Fountain and very own Liberty Bell which, in reality, is a replica of this symbol of independence located in Philadelphia – minus the iconic crack. In D.C., it is called Freedom Bell, American Legion, a public artwork dedicated in 1981.

From the Station, a short walk to the Capitol, passing in front of the Supreme Court which is closed on weekends. Still, one can walk around it and marvel at its dignified neoclassical architecture, tall Corinthian columns and bronze doors, designed by Gilbert and John Donnelly, Sr. and sculpted by his son, John Donnelly, Jr.

Each door is made up of four bas-reliefs which represent significant events in the evolution of justice according to Western tradition in chronological order. The thematic sequence begins on the lower left panel, moves up to the top of the door then continues on the bottom right panel and concludes on the upper right corner.

17 feet high and 9 ½ feet wide, and weighing approximately 13 tons the doors prompted the sculptor to declare: 

“Out of all of our monumental projects, spread over two lifetimes, the Supreme Court doors are the only work that we ever signed – that’s how important they were.”

April 23rd, 2017

Washington D.C. – First impressions

We had been warned, when we first came to New York, that every couple of months we must get out of the City or else we’d risk confusing its inherent surreality for normality. For the reality is, there is no place on earth like New York City. And it can mess up with your perception of time and space.

Taking this advice to heart, two months after visiting Philadelphia we took off on our second trip. A fortnight in three cities, starting with the capital: Washington D.C.

First impressions ~

a) it always strikes me as curious how birds can get so lost as to end up in the bowels of the beast that is Penn Station;

b) 3,5 hours by train on a rainy day and my collection of moody, blurry photos has been largely enriched;

c) D.C. is clean and neat, and it reminded me of those tidy, groomed cities one comes across just about everywhere in Switzerland;

d) all subway stations look alike: grey, concrete, clean, clearly marked, easy to follow even by first-time visitors (as New York subway would have been, in a parallel universe);

e) a local liquor shop with a quirky sense of humour – that was a warm welcome! Made me wonder whether quirkiness is a common feature among Washingtonians?!

En route to Washington D.C.

April 22nd, 2017

Philip Glass Ensemble @ The Town Hall

In 1946, Jean Cocteau directed a dark, poetic film adaptation of La Belle et la Bête, the story written in 1757 by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

In 1994, Philip Glass removed the film’s original dialogue and score and replaced them with his own musical score, performed live by members of the Philip Glass Ensemble. The singers, perfectly synchronized with the actors, become an extension of the story.

In April 2017, this masterful production was presented at the Town Hall following a brief discussion between Philip Glass and his friend and collaborator, Errol Morris.

”In the scene when Belle begs La Bête for permission to visit her father, La Bête, moved by her plea, decides to let her go, but requires her, at the cost of his own life, to return in a week. He explains to her that his magic exists by the force of five power objects—the rose, the key, the mirror, the glove, and the horse. These five are the root of La Bête’s creativity and magic. The point is, if a young artist were to ask Cocteau directly what he would need to pursue the life and work of an artist, these five elements would be the answer. The rose represents beauty. The key represents technique—literally, the means by which the “door” to creativity is opened. The horse represents strength and stamina. The mirror represents the path itself, without which the dream of the artist cannot be accomplished. The meaning of the glove eluded me for a long time, but finally, and unexpectedly, I understood that the glove represents nobility. By this symbol Cocteau asserts that the true nobility of mankind are the artist-magician creators. This scene, which leads directly to the resolution of the fairy tale, is framed as the most significant moment of the film and is the message we are meant to take away with us: Cocteau is teaching about creativity in terms of the power of the artist, which we now understand to be the power of transformation.”     

“The past is reinvented and becomes the future. But the lineage is everything.”

”If you remember your lineage, you will never feel lonely.”

All mages from Pinterest, except last one from the – well deserved – standing ovation.

Quotations by Philip Glass.

The Town Hall

April 20th, 2017

Nature’s artwork @ Sakura Park

Blossoms under the tireless supervision of the massive bell tower of the Riverside Church.

”Conceived in 1896 as an addition to Riverside Park, this two-acre park was sited on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. overlooking the Hudson River. In 1912 over 2500 cherry trees were planted as a gift from Japan, a gesture of friendship which also included the donation of 20,000 trees to Washington, D.C.”

Sakura Park

April 14th, 2017

Words of Wisdom – III

*Recent Resident Posting* on the bulletin board of my building’s website:

Title: Seeking Puppy Play Dates!

Hello,

My boyfriend, Alex, and I just adopted the cutest little chi puppy, Porsche, and are looking to arrange some play dates with other vaccinated puppies/dogs in the building to help her get socialized! Today was her first day of puppy kindergarten and she gets along with other dogs after she finishes her shy/bravado stage.  (We were very proud of her.) Please email me at […..] or text/call my cell phone at […..] if you think your friendly pooch can be a good fit to help us out. 🙂

Thanks,
[signature: the proud dog parents]

PS: I love my neighbours!

PS1: Photo of a friendly pooch from Miami, where I’m currently living la dolce vita for a few days.

January 23rd, 2018