Thursday, February 15, 2007

SNOW DAY in DC: Nat'l Portrait Gallery, Piratz

Work was cancelled yesterday due to the 2-5 inches of accumulated snow and ice that forced me to use my snow chains to dig out, so I could drive to a job interview. After a couple cups of coffee and the interview was over, I headed over to the National Portrait Gallery - apparently the National Spy Museum was closed due to inclement Weather. (what kind of a spy outfit IS this?)

By the way, I believe the word "inclement" is an example of an exclusive modifier, that is, an adverb or adjective that is used almost exlusively in common speech with the associated noun (weather). I mean, can you use the word inclement without using the word weather? I doubt it, at least not effectively.

The National Portrait gallery is amazing, I can't believe I haven't been yet. They had a wing for "American Landscapes" and "Folk Art" in an attempt to end-run around their primary cause and show some real non-portrait art (using the word portrait liberally, as in, "a portrait of American landscape and culture), but I wasn't complaining because they had a couple of Edward Hoppers, so I got to see my first real, live Hopper, in the flesh. I'm a dork, I know, but he's my favorite painter. I did a paper on him in High School and he continues to be my favorite, with Nighthawks being my favorite painting of all time and #6 on the list of things I need to see before I die.

They didn't allow flashes, but they DID allow photos, and my new cheapo digicam took a great one.

They didn't allow photographs in the American Presidents portrait gallery, but we got to see the whole exhibit, which is spectacular, and free. All 45(?) former presidents accounted for, and it really brought history viscerally into focus for me, along with the various portraits of the patriots (Henry Knox, Thomas Pain) and historical figures (John Brown, Walt Whitman + lover). It was the perfect appendix or compendium for my readings of 1776. Can't wait to read Team of Rivals now.

Oh, and we went to a pirates-themed restaurant in Silver Springs for Rachel's 23rd. It was a blast.