Sunday, April 6, 2014

Washington D.C.: A Trip Of Vegan Soul Food, Women's Art, And Devil Dogs

Woodlands Vegan Bistro was the place to be! Look at that fried "chicken!"
Ms. Glasper Goes To Washington D. C. Take that Mr. Smith!
The weather couldn't have been lovelier for going rogue on a splendid Saturday of food and fem art education.
First of all, I arrived with a growling belly. Our pit stop in Maryland left little to be desired.
I had received many vegan restaurant recommendations, but selected two. Many art galleries to visit, but stayed footed in one special place that means the world- The National Women in the Arts Gallery. Most of the D.C. galleries- like countless others celebrate and cater male artists, but here is my home. There Judy Chicago, one of my favorite feminist heroic artists, has put up an exhibit in accordance with her 75th birthday. Here lies some of the women she wants me to study: Paula Modersohn Becker, Elisabet Ney, Madame Deronda, Lily Bart. Of author Virginia Woolf, she declares, " poor Virginia. She was a flower of genius, a shaking lead. She tottered on the brink of sanity, holding long enough to speak with a true female voice which like a beacon beckons us."
Whilst studying Chicago's pieces, colored pencil drawings molded into meaningful circular patterned forms, it is her writing that drives my passion, that speaks intimately. It is so refreshing to see, especially after Friday. Neysa Grassi's (one of my critics!) show opening at Locks Gallery contained a varied scale body of ethereal, sensual, tranquil paintings that were both studies of intriguing technique and myriad form. In Chicago, I found her writings (all dated within the 70's) just as compelling and difficult to turn away from. Her scripted scrawl gave profound insight into connections between all the ladies (philosophers, writers, scientists, activists, etc) she studied and the tribulations a woman artist goes through just to have a solo show. She is right above things. The struggle still exists today.

Funny, how always, the bus traveler finds herself exiting off one form of public transportation to another. The terminal is crisp, clean, impersonal. No rat would feel welcomed here. Haha! This has got to be one of the most efficient forms I've ever commuted on. Very impressed.
I took the yellow line, got off at Columbia Heights, and walked 12 minutes to Woodlands Vegan Bistro- a friendly ran place on Georgia St. with a soulful menu recommended by VeRAWnica, vegan owner of my favorite Instagram accounts!
Customers are directed towards the back to a cafeteria style setup to order. Items like collard greens, cornbread, and "chicken" pot pie tempt my hunger. But it was that irresistible fried "chicken" that caught my eye. I wanted it sans sauce and accompanied my "meat" with steamed broccoli, out of this world macaroni & cheese, and the most incredible yams ever prepared.
OMG! The chicken was off the scales! Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, I couldn't believe how deliciously creative concoction. Everything was seasoned perfectly. I never touched the salt and pepper shaker. Yes! Yes! Yes!!! I would definitely come back here. Well aware that Megabus will get me back here in a three hour jiffy! :D
I walked off my soul food for a Sticky Fingers treat- another Instagram user recommendation.
I had such a hard time choosing one dessert. Too much to handle. On the plus side, a birdy told me that Whole Foods out in the Philly suburbs sell Sticky Fingers baked goods. Definitely worth checking out!
Mosaic magic!
I spent remainder of the field trip inside of one of my favorite places- National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Judy Chicago's "birthday" party. I had such a phenomenal time at her dinner party after all, shedding a few tears in its lavished presence at the Brooklyn Museum. Her birthday celebration was no small consolation. There were sketches, plans, ideas set in motion. She lets the viewer see all the ingredients of Dinner Party before it was ceremoniously mixed and baked. I'm utterly moved by the fact that she studied every female she placed at the Dinner Party. She really genuinely cared about that work, going as far as studying lace making from experts for the Emily Dickinson part of the place card.
Just a taste of Chicago's prismacolor sketches and writings for her lithographs. It entails her whole process of preparing the epic Dinner Party work. There were also another set of primsacolors on the opposite wall and the story of how her male printer gave her such trouble that she didn't get them made into desired prints. I, however, enjoyed the drawings though saddened by her plight. "these would have been beautiful lithos," she had wrote on one of them.
Africa by Lois Mailou Jones, another admirable artist. A trinity of rounded voluptuous forms, elongated necks, and mask like features engage a vibrantly painted composition. It evocatively speaks of the beauty behind divine heritage.
Faith Ringgold, an inspiration. Honored to walk down Ringgold Street and just think about her work, these mixed media enjoyments that celebrate African Diaspara and African Americans living in America. This piece in particular seems to revel in dance.
Amy Sherald is new to me. her intriguing paintings of humorously outrageous costumed ethnic portraits with deadpan expressions, lifeless skin color, and bold, abstractly decorated background fascinated me. This large scale painting is entitled They Call Me Redbone But I'd Rather Be Strawberry Shortcake.
Another Sherald- It Made Sense.... Only In Her Mind.
The Call by Remedios Varo, an artist that is new to me. Her elongated forms, heavy use of bright focused lighting, and spiritually etched illustrative painting rendered me breathless. The center woman flows through these grey ghostly forms like a floating, glowing brilliant figure of suspended bravery.
Only admiring one of my favorite painters of all time, Frida Kahlo. I wish I could lay a pillow right in front of Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsy and lay forever without ever shutting an eye. Each brush stroke is applied with all the sensual beauty that one expects from a Kahlo work. Very beguiling and hard to tear gaze away from.
Young Girl With a Sheaf, Camille Claudel. Such a fascinating piece of bronze sculpture finished when the artist was only twenty-six years old.
The great French actress Sarah Bernhardt was also a very talented sculptor! This is After the Storm comprised of white marble. Amazing in every angle.
Hotel Harrington is where the Art Academy of Cincinnati students stayed at during the five day field trip so long ago.... 
Ended my day with a delicious Sticky Fingers devil dog- yummy cream between two thick slabs of chocolate sandwich goodness. So good! Wish I had gotten two....
To pass time in the last hour on the road, I played the Highway License Plate Game- you know where you count the states of the license plates? Well, I tallied in case anyone was interested. Even though it looked like New Jersey (14 in total) would win in the first twenty minutes, Delaware (24) came strong, but Pennsylvania (39) won in the end. However, I must admit there happened to be 32 unknown cars that drove by so who knows who would've been the real victorious champion. Others in the race included 2 for Virginia, 2 for Maryland and 1 each for New York, Quebec (yes a Canada car!), and a car sans license.
Any who, that was fun- the D.C. part of the journey. I never ever in my life want to play Highway License Plate Game again. Unless I was high on a lot of Sticky Fingers' Devil Dogs!!!

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