Archive for January, 2010

A Brush with Stormy Weather

Posted in Culture with tags , on January 28, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

On Saturday, Feb. 13, the National Portrait Gallery presents a double feature: Brush with Life: The Art of Being Edward Biberman at 2:00 pm and the classic Stormy Weather at 4:30 pm. According to press notes the documentary Brush with Life recounts the career of Biberman, a pillar of the mid-century art scene in Los Angeles, whose portrait of Lena Horne is in the Portrait Gallery’s collection. Following the film, there will be a conversation with its director, Jeff Kaufman. Stormy Weather stars Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Cab Calloway and Fats Waller in the African American film classic. The films will be shown in the McEvoy Auditorium; seating is first come, first served.

Sunday Brunch with Cezanne

Posted in Culture, DC: Dining & Cocktails with tags on January 27, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

Inspired by the debut of the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s exhibition, Turner to Cezanne, FoodArts has created a Sunday Brunch for the Corcoran Cafe that reflects the passion of the French for culinary arts. This Sunday January 31st join Chef Andrew Holden as he unveils a masterpiece of his own in the form of a brunch that deliciously honors of the works of art. Reservations are now being accepted for seatings this Sunday through early spring. Seatings are at 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:00 pm and walk-ins will be seated by availability.

 Featuring 53 works, many never or rarely seen outside of Europe, Turner to Cézanne traces the evolution of early modern art—beginning with examples of dramatic Romanticism exemplified by Turner, through the expressionist Post-impressionism of van Gogh.

An Evening for Haiti

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on January 22, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with the Embassy of Haiti will host a free musical benefit for the relief efforts underway in Haiti on Friday, January 22, 2010 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the Millennium Stage. Tabou Combo is Haiti’s preeminent dance band, showcasing the infectious rhythm of Haiti’s national dance music konpa. Additionally, members of the National Symphony Orchestra perform Serenade for 13 Winds by Richard Strauss, and Haitian singers Felina Backer and John Pierremont and the Georgetown University Let Freedom Ring Celebration Choir perform.

At 8:00 p.m. the National Symphony Orchestra will have their regularly scheduled concert and proceeds will benefit the relief efforts underway in Haiti. At both performances, there will be designated receptacles where patrons can deposit donations for the Haitian Relief Effort. Proceeds from the NSO concert will be sent to the “Haiti Relief and Development Fund” of the American Red Cross.

Dance with Me

Posted in Culture with tags , , on January 21, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

Be a part of the dance. This Saturday, January 23 and Sunday January, 24 Levy Dance will engage the DC audience in their new work, Everyone Intimate Alone Visibly, premiering at Dance Place. In this new piece, California-based choreographer Benjamin Levy explores how social networking sites and other technological innovations impact our interpersonal connections. Featuring Levy and dancer Aline Wachsmuth performing in the round amidst a multimedia installation created by new media artist Mary Franck and composer Jeremy Zuckerman the audience will be encouraged to walk through space and interact with the dancers and technology. The result is a truly collaborative performance where the music, dancers, audience, and visual components will be equal players. Seats for both performances and the Saturday night reception are still available.

Seeing Hurt and Searching for Hope in Haiti

Posted in Commentary, Politics on January 15, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

“I hate to see you under these circumstances, but nevertheless it is good to see you.” That is such a common line heard at many funerals. Family members often gather together in times of high celebration or deep sorrows say this when they greet each other. Tragedy is too often what pulls people together, reminds them of the greatest gift that is life itself and appreciative of the ones that mean so much to them.

People also then say, “I’m going to do a better job at keeping in touch.” Then you see them only at the next funeral. There lies the true tragedy.

As I think about the outpouring of support to the brothers and sisters in Haiti in their time of need following the most horrific natural disaster that shook the capital city of Port-au-Prince I must also pray that it will shake those around the world to action – and not just right now. Before the earthquake hit the people of Haiti were living in a country plagued by poverty, illiteracy, poor sanitation, a shortage of clean drinking water, pitiable access to basic health care and corrupt leadership. So, before the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, it had already been hit by political, economic and social ills.

Haiti is not alone. Children all over the world, elders in every corner of the Earth, men and women of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are living in conditions in which average Americans would think they’d die in and work, resources and prayers should be given to them as well – not just in times of disaster. Those who can, must band together at all times. All times for all people.

Lift Every Voice

Posted in Culture with tags , , on January 14, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

Monday January 18, at 6:00pm the Annual Kennedy Center and Georgetown University musical celebration – Let Freedom Ring! – honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will feature two-time Grammy Award–winning, platinum-selling recording artist India.Arie. Held in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, the program will also include the Let Freedom Ring Choir with Music Director, Rev. Nolan Williams Jr. and Mistress of Ceremonies Andrea Roane. Free tickets will be given away two (2) per person in line in the  Kennedy Center Hall of Nations at 10:00am Monday on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Negro Problem

Posted in Commentary, Politics with tags , on January 12, 2010 by substanceandstyledc
As the nation continues to divert attention away from health care, job creation and global warming to focus on the use of the word “Negro”  on the census and by a current sitting United States Senator, it is a prime opportunity to also look back on the classic work, The Negro Problem. The book had such contributors as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. One could further explore the Negro Problem by digging into An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy, a report funded by the Carnegie Foundation and later credited as a framework for how Americans viewed race relations and reconciliation.

Maximizing a Milestone

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 11, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

The Smithsonian Museum will hold its 25th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Program the evening of Thursday, January 21 at 7:00pm in the Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History. The keynote speaker this year is Bishop Vashti Mckenzie, the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. There will also be a special performance by Afro Blue, the Howard University jazz ensemble. This event is free and open to the public but reservations are required. Reservations can be made by phone, 202/633.4875 or email,

Now Serving DC

Posted in DC: Dining & Cocktails with tags , on January 6, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

Are you being served? Washington, DC Winter Restaurant Week returns January 11-17, 2010. Nearly 180 of metropolitan Washington, DC’s finest restaurants present delicious, multi-course meals prepared especially for this event. Participating restaurants will offer a three course fixed price lunch for $20.10 and a three course dinner for $35.10. See the complete list of restaurants and make reservations here.

Are you being of service? After you have been served join people of all ages and backgrounds from across the District to be of service and honor the life of and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 18. Volunteer with friends and family on the 2010 King Day of Service and make a real difference in your community.  Last year more than 36,500 volunteers donated their time in more than 180 service projects throughout this District. Take the first step in getting involved  by viewing the list of service opportunities and register to volunteer here.

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Posted in Commentary, Culture on January 4, 2010 by substanceandstyledc

When I saw the February cover of Vanity Fair magazine with a shirtless Tiger Woods on the cover my eyes shot wide open and my mouth dropped closed and tight. Mr. Woods had clearly taken this scantily clad, fairly grimacing photo with famed – or infamous depending on who you ask – photographer Annie Leibovitz long before his truck crashed, long before his wife left him and long before many of his corporate sponsors followed Mrs. Woods out the door.

For weeks I have refrained from commenting on the Tiger Woods ‘scandal’ because I learned years ago that the public was no place for the truth. And surely, that’s what I would want to talk about as it relates to Mr. Woods and truly no one would really want to hear it. But alas, the Vanity Fair cover has pushed me to my limits and I must share my own humble opinion.

Succinctly, the February cover illustrates to the world the narrative that has been in play all along. It is just a pity that it took this long for someone to bring light to it. The emperor has no clothes.  Walk with me through the analogy that Tiger Woods is the emperor who has been caught with no clothes on.

For year’s media talking heads, advertisers and a general public have been feeding off of each other and eating and drinking each other full with a romance of a young man who was not just a perfect athlete but perfect person. As a result whatever he and his handlers were selling whether it was golf clubs, financial services, the American dream or the fairytale of a post racial American society, the masses were buying in bulk. Things were wonderful in Tiger land. Then in late 2009 torrid tales of infidelity began to seep onto the pages of the story, soaking it in shame and outrage.  “How could the Emperor have done such a thing?” people cried out. The image of the golden boy was now turning to a rusty medal. This news story of Tiger Woods and his infidelity with dozens of blonds, brunettes and red heads was getting as much media attention as the embattled health care bill in Congress. The man who everyone thought could walk on water was now drowning.

 But who is to blame, Tiger Woods? Hell no. People still aren’t blaming former President George Bush for charging into Iraq to seize weapons of mass destruction that weren’t found but cost the US lives and billions of dollars. Where were those to question the President? Where were the analytical thinkers who could make their own decisions about supporting such an act? Not around. We live in a society where it is easier to eat what’s being served rather than cook something yourself. It is also easier these days to believe what you are told rather than think for yourself. A public and men and women in suits in boardrooms across the globe wanted everyone to believe that Tiger Woods was free of human imperfection and they placed their money on him rather than in the quality of their services and products or in the people in their communities who truly are heroes and heroines. Just put a trusted celebrity in the ad campaign. “Let’s have the emperor promote it!”

 Now that it seems Tiger Woods cheated on his wife, mother of his children, some folks (you can hear the implication in my voice) are angry. Well, if every man or woman that cheated on their spouse was fired from their job I’d bet my life savings that the nation’s already high unemployment numbers would increase by another 7 or 8%. I don’t condone what he did but I do believe that it is a matter for him and his family to work through. I can’t be angry at him for what he did to his wife. I am not his wife. I can’t belittle him for making a personal decision to step outside his marriage. I’ve got my own list of possible sins and indiscretions to worry about. Charles Barkley may be a prophet. He caught hell years ago when he told the press he wasn’t a role model. Pastor Barkley may have been on to something.

What further exacerbates the ongoing media flurry and fury over Tiger Woods is that he is an emperor without a kingdom. I have looked on many world maps and have yet to find Cablasia. You either hear mistresses telling their story, talking heads offering their best PR advice or sad poorly crafted statements on the Tiger Woods website talking about the issue. There is no one from the island (?) or nation of Cablasia speaking out for Tiger Woods. Maybe that was another misstep made years ago when he was asked how he identified himself and he answered cablasian. When he needs a tribe and allies there are few if any speaking out or up for him.

 So, maybe the Vanity Fair cover of a bare-chested Tiger Woods for the world to see should have come out in February 2009 instead of 2010. It would have given a lot more people a chance to see him for who he truly is – just a man.

I pray that he does find a way to work through this time period in his life and that neither he, his wife nor children are left too scarred by the public dissection of an already much too open wound. Hearts and families need proper healing and that comes with time. As for the consumers of mass media narratives, I pray that we stop making man into myth.


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