Marching for Life, Blizzard Edition

March for Life with some coworkers, current and previous Credit: Oressa Boelk

March for Life with some coworkers, current and previous
Credit: Oressa Boelk

Hello everyone!

Greetings from Ground Zero of Jonas, which has thankfully subsided here in the D.C. metro area. Despite 2-3 feet of snow, I’m happy this storm didn’t turn out to be so disastrous. (To those affected above the Mason-Dixon line, stay safe and out of warm’s way!) On the bright side, I’ve enjoyed shoveling snow (it makes for a good work out) and watching new films from the luxury of one’s home. Hope everyone–local or not local–managed to survive the wrath of Jonas!

I wanted to briefly touch upon the 43rd annual March for Life, which miraculously occurred before the wrath of Jonas. Despite blizzard warnings, my coworkers and I set out for the National Mall to attempt to meet some students. Additionally, I ran into several friends along the way. Attendance is believed to have been in the tens of thousands, which isn’t too shabby.

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This was my third March for Life having attended the 2013 and 2014 marches. Despite pre-empting the blizzard, the 2016 March for Life wasn’t as cold as previous ones. Seeing fellow young people–especially those all all denominations, ages, and backgrounds–is always heartwarming. This is a great cause. I’m proud to be a member of the pro-life generation!

Below are some pictures from the March:

To follow March for Life’s efforts, connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn about the march and how you can get involved.

Go Visit the Newly-Renovated Renwick Gallery

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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting the newly-renovated Renwick Gallery with some friends. This museum was the recipient of a major facelift for the past two years. Without a doubt, it certainly paid off!

It is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Below is an introductory clip of the museum:

The Renwick collection is called WONDER, and it comprises nine site-specific exhibits that’ll mesmerize and captivate audiences. If you’re not too keen on modern art like I am–very few modern art pieces, in my humble opinion, are art–you’ll seriously enjoy this museum.

According to the museum brochure, the nine artists featured at Renwick are “connected by their interest in creating large-scale installations from unexpected materials like thread, tires, marbles, and blocks of wood–commonplaces objects that are assembled, massed, and juxtaposed to transform the spaces and engage visitors in surprising ways.”

There are several exhibits that stood out to me during our visit.

1.8  by Janet Echelman

I loved this exhibit, especially the fact that it changes colors and has an interesting story behind it (It depicts a 2011 natural disaster that befell the Pacific Ocean.) More context behind the piece from the artist herself:

The work’s title is 1.8 (One Point Eight), which refers to the length of time measured in microseconds that the earth’s day was shortened as a result of a physical event, the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami which hit Japan with devastating effects. The forms in the sculpture and carpet were inspired by data sets of the Tsunami wave heights across the Pacific Ocean. The artwork reminds us of our complex interdependencies with larger cycles of time and matter. Its physical presence is a manifestation of interconnectedness – when any one element in the sculpture moves, every other element is affected. “As individuals we may feel fragile, like a length of thread,” said Echelman, “but when knotted together we have the capacity for incredible strength and resiliency.”

Plexus A1 by Gabriel Dawe

This piece is perhaps the most popular exhibit at the newly renovated  Renwick Gallery. The artist, who grew up in both Mexico City and East Texas, wanted to pay an homage to the memories of the skies that defined these two places. Beautiful, no?

Middle Fork (Cascades) by John Grade

A #tree that almost seemed so real. #renwickgallery #modernart #washingtondc

A photo posted by Anna Maria Hoffman (@annamaria.hoffman) on

In this exhibit, the artist chose a hemlock tree as old as the Renwick Gallery building for the display from the Cascade Mountains  east of Seattle, WA. They masterfully created a full plaster cast of the tree, then used it to mold a new tree out of half a million segments of reclaimed cedar. Very complex, but beautifully crafted. Definitely one of my favorite selections there!

Shindig by Patrick Dougherty

This exhibit reminded of large over-sized bird nests. So I had some fun playing in them.

For all you Instagrammers and budding photographers, you’ll especially love this place. Every room boasted signs that read “Photography Encouraged.” So snap away!

Always be respectful and don’t touch the art.

Happy exploring, fellow D.C. area denizens!

Global Angel Wings Project: Be A Force for Good

Me posing in front of Colette Miller's set of Angel Wings in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

Me posing in front of Colette Miller’s set of Angel Wings in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

Living in and around the nation’s capital exposes one to many opportunities and cool things. Whether it’s the plethora of renowned museums, famous monuments, or new restaurants, Washington, D.C., has no shortage of things to do. If you’re looking for a great place to capture photos with your friends, head over to DuPont Circle to see one of two DC installations of Colette Miller’s angel wings.

I’m not one for graffiti or street art – though you’ll come to find I have a deep appreciation for paintings and art history –  but when I first learned about Colette Miller’s Global Angel Wings Project, I reconsidered. The purpose of the Global Angel Wings Project is to “remind humanity we are the angels of this earth.” Seems pretty positive, no? In a divisive time, it’s refreshing to see something positive out there to bring people together–even if for a brief moment in time.

There are two D.C. locations where these wings can be found at: one in DuPont Circle, the other in Adams Morgan. Don’t live in D.C.? Fear not–these murals can be found in other U.S. cities and even in cities abroad! I found these wings at the Embassy Row Hotel in DuPont Circle at 2015 Massachusetts Avenue.

While there are some questionable artistic undertones or messages at times, I have greatly enjoyed seeing these angel wings in my social feeds. If you come across a set of these wings, snap a pic and share with your followers. Not only are they pleasing to the eyes and boast a positive message, they are fun to pose in front of!

Follow Colette Miller’s work online, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

Update: The artist herself – Colette Miller – shared my blog post on her Facebook page. Pretty cool!

Zac Brown Band’s DC Concert Rocked Our Socks Off

Last Friday, my sister Anna Maria and I attended the Zac Brown Band concert at Nationals Park. This was the Washington, D.C., stop on their JEKYLL + HYDE Tour.

Since my first exposure to country music several years ago, ZBB has grown into one of my favorite bands. They remain authentically country, and their lead singer can masterfully belt out tunes.

Below is a picture of us enjoying the concert:

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ZBB was preceded by The Avett Brothers, which was their opening act. Admittedly, I’ve never heard of them but figured their music aligned well with ZBB’s. (Indeed, they were pretty good!)

I particularly love ZBB’s music for combining country with tropical flair. They incorporate classic country elements, but spice it up with unique things like a fiddle and gospel choir.

ZBB opened up with their new leading single, “Homegrown.” It was followed with “Loving You Easy,” their rendition of “The Devil Goes Down to Georgia,” “Dress Blues,” “Castaway,” “Let It Be,” “Colder Weather,” “Sweet Annie,” “Keep Me in Mind,” “Jump Right In,” and other well-known tunes off their new album and older albums. Everyone around us was dancing in their seats, singing along, and having a good time. How could you not enjoy Zac Brown Band? It was a rousing good time!

One of the touching moments from the concert was during the performance of their new song “Dress Blues.” They brought out several servicemen, who then marched on stage. The crowd then burst out with “USA!” chants and resounding claps. Patriotism was alive and well at Nats Park. It was a touching moment for those of us living in the belly of the beast best known as Washington, D.C.

Below are some pictures from the concert:

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Unlike other concerts I’ve been to, this one was different in that the leading act – ZBB, in this case – performed for a good chunk of time. (Their show lasted roughly 2 and a half hours.) It goes to show that they appreciate their fans and love bringing happiness through music. Gotta give props to them for that!

Check out their music, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

 

Eric Church Rocked the Verizon Center

Last night, my sister and I saw country music artist Eric Church perform at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., as part of a stop on his “The Outsiders World Tour.” It was his first time performing at the Verizon Center. And unsurprisingly, the show was sold out.

My sister got us these concert tickets as an early birthday present. (My birthday is next Monday; I’ll be turning 24.) Hands down, it was the best birthday present I’ve received in recent memory. (Thank you and love you, sisute!)

Below are some pictures I took at the concert:

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Drive-By Truckers opened for Eric Church. It was my first time hearing their music and I LOVED it!

 

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Eric Church. Swoon.

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Eric Church is a badass. He really connects with his fans and loves what he does.

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Church and his signature ball cap look.

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The concert was sold out, as evidenced by this massive crowd.

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A few months ago, The Bobby Bones Show talked about a devil making an appearance at the Eric Church concert while “Devil, Devil” was playing. Here it is. Terrifying, isn’t it?

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For $35 seats, we had this optimal view. Not too shabby!

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Another awesome shot of Eric Church.

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Close up of Eric Church.

 

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Isn’t he dreamy?

I’ve been to my share of concert music concerts featuring Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Florida-Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, among many people. While I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the aforementioned artists perform, I was absolutely blown away by how talented and dedicated Eric Church is to his craft. He has more of a rock ‘n roll vibe to his music, which I greatly appreciate and enjoy. (Who doesn’t like rock ‘n roll? It’s as American as they come.) He performed hits like “Talladega”, “Smoke a Little Smoke”, “Homeboy”, “Devil, Devil”, “Guys Like Me”, “That’s Damn Rock ‘N Roll”, “Springsteen”, and many other tracks from his various albums. His music is refreshing in the day and age of bro-country-though I do enjoy some FLAGA Line and Thomas Rhett.

If you also attended the concert, I hope you enjoyed it too! It was refreshing to see people decked out in camo here in D.C. (It’s a wonderful break from the usual stiffs and suits you see here in the nation’s capital.)

Want to learn more about Eric Church? Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

 

D.C. is the ‘Coolest’ City in the U.S.

Washington, D.C., is the coolest city in the U.S. according to Forbes.com.

Forbes relied on Sperling’s BestPlaces to measure and determine a city’s “cool” factor:

To compile our list of America’s Coolest Cities, Sperling’s helped us calculate entertainment options per capita in each metro area. This metric essentially measures ways you might spend a Saturday, quantifying the availability of professional and college sports events, zoos and aquariums, golf courses, ski areas, and National parks, among others. It also factors in art and cultural options, measuring the presence of theater and musical performances as well as local museums.

As a denizen of the D.C. metro area, I can definitely attest to this. Yes, this area attracts egomaniacs and bureaucrats–yet you can be above the corruption and lead a normal life here. There are so many cool things to do, places to see, and great food/entertainment options to enjoy.

Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny that this metro area is fascinating.

Hail to the Redskins

This morning, it was revealed that the U.S. Patent Agency cancelled the Washington Redskins’ trademark because the name is “disparaging” to Native Americans.

This doesn’t come as a surprise. What government agency hasn’t tried to ban speech or ideas that don’t fit their big government mold?

 

As a result, I felt inclined to respond to the hysteria on Twitter.

Then several of us were prompted to troll the #NewRedskinsName Twitter hashtag, so I contributed several tweets to it:

Where’s the left’s priorities? Facts? Clearly they’re nowhere to be found.

Additionally, government has no right to determine “right” speech or ideas.

But but but, the Redskins name is so offensive? Only 17% of people in this country think that way.

Shame on the U.S. Patent Office for cancelling the Washington Redskins’ trademark. This is a very bad precedent that emboldens government to control and discourage private businesses.

Not surprised…50 Democrat U.S. Senators recently wrote a letter to the organization pressuring them to change their name. (Because, priorities!) Anything that doesn’t fit the big government mold is deemed offensive. (Yay to restricting free expression!) I don’t know anyone here in D.C. who feels distraught over the Redskins name, except for few thin-skinned “progressives” who complain about everything. (Even an AP poll from January found that 83% of people approve of the Redskins name.) Might as well rename them as the Washington Whiners or the Beltway Barnacles to better reflect D.C…

Historically speaking, the Redskins name was chosen to honor Native Americans and their bravery in battle. How does this disparage them? How are their rights being undermined? Might as well be consistent and rename the Cleveland Indians, Florida Seminoles, Oklahoma, Minnesota Vikings, and all other “culturally-insensitive” athletic teams?

But hey, America is weak here and abroad. Who cares? The cause of fighting imaginary bigotry must continue! (Sigh.)

Those who disparage the Redskins are nothing but a bunch of tyrants. As a resident of the DMV, I will continue to support the Redskins and their name.  Hope others continue to do so too.

#HTTR