Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 17, 2010: Washington - The Corcoran, Historical Society, The Fringe, Chinatown

On Saturday Mark took the day off, so we headed out for a full day of sight-seeing (weird note: I'm seeing both "sight-seeing" and "site-seeing" in various contexts; when you really stop to think about it, both usages do seem valid).

I'd been interested to go to the Eadweard Muybridge exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery, which I had seen advertised as ending July 18. And since Saturdays are free at the gallery, it was the perfect day to go. We walked past the White House en route (it seems a bit smaller in reality than it had in my imagination). The Eadward Muybridge exhibition was great - he had done a tremendous amount of work photographing in Yosemite and San Francisco, particularly doing stereoscopic landscapic work and large panoramic work. I had only known about his animal motion studies, so this was a surprise - his landscape photography was really beautiful, and prolific.

There was also a Chuck Close exhibition, also excellent. Much of it was displayed showing the series of prints as they build towards the final image, which is quite fascinating. There were also some interesting paper pieces by him, in which the image is built through layers of coloured paper pulp. Oddly, in both cases we entered the exhibitions by the exit, going through in reverse chronological order.

We wanted (or perhaps more accurately, I wanted) to see a play in the Fringe Festival, called "Don't Kill Me, Killer Robots", which was playing at 4:30 in the afternoon. I tried to fit in another attempt at going up the tower at the Post Office, but was foiled by a long wait at Ben & Jerry's for a smoothie, and not knowing for sure how long it would take to get there. So we passed the tower by once again, and headed up on the subway to the theatre. We got there in good time and tickets were available.

While waiting for the theatre to open we popped into the nearby Historical Society of Washington building for an air-conditioning break. They had an exhibition on the Metro subway system (only started in 1968; because they didn't want to spoil Rock Creek Park with visible subway lines they dug underneath, causing the station at our stop to be one of the deepest, with an incredibly long escalator).

The play wasn't stellar, but we've seen worse at the Fringe in Toronto (this time I was very careful to pick something that isn't a musical). And there were a few good laughs. Afterwards we went for Thai food in the nearby Chinatown district, then headed home on the subway (having added 2 more subway stations to our repertoire by the end of the day).

Photos: The Corcoran, Mark at the Old Post Office, me at the White House

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