Archive for the ‘Smithsonian’ Category

Pandas: Unshakeable

August 26, 2011

Pandas: Unshakeable

Many animals at DC’s National Zoo were upset by the recent earthquake. Even before the quake struck, red ruffed lemurs were alarm-barking, Iris the orangutan yelled, and the flamingos huddled together in a big pink ball.

The Giant Pandas were neither stirred nor shaken. They just sat there, chewing bamboo. Those critters are tough. They’re from China. They were probably thinking: “Pah. You call that an earthquake?”


Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2011

June 27, 2011

Smithsonian Folk Festival 2011

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is back on the National Mall in Washington DC  Thursday June 30th to July 4th and July 7th to July 11th. This year’s free Festival features Rhythm & Blues, the culture of Colombia, and the Peace Corps.


2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

June 24, 2010

2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival begins today on the National Mall. The free event is a highlight of Washington’s summer. Dates: June 24 to 28 and July 1 to 5.

This year, visitors can experience the cultures of Mexico and the DC area’s Asian Pacific American communities and peek into the workings of the Smithsonian itself. There are special evening events, including this Saturday’s concert by Haitian artists Boukman Eksperyans and Tines Salvant (Saturday, June 26, 6PM). Be sure to pick up a program book and learn more about the people you meet and what you see, hear, and taste.


New Installation at the Hirshhorn

May 11, 2010

New Installation at the Hirshhorn

In a dramatic move Monday night, curators at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum installed a startling new neo-realist sculpture on the Independence Avenue side of the facility. The installation was an after-hours surprise, even to police, who rushed to the site fearing terrorism. The donut-shaped building has long been the favorite art museum of DC law enforcement officers


The Panda Express

January 30, 2010

The Panda Express

Washington-born panda Tai Shan (known locally as “Butterstick“) is set to leave the National Zoo for Bifengxia (“Green Peak Canyon”) in China. By FedEx.

Federal Express has prepared a special “Panda Express” airplane to transport the four-year-old chubby cub to a panda breeding center in his ancestral home. The plane’s name is rather unfortunate; it’s the same as Andrew and Peggy Cherng’s 820-store fast food chain.


Creditor Repossesses DC Panda

December 4, 2009

Creditor Repossesses DC Panda

Tai Shan, the National Zoo’s four-year-old panda cub, will be sent to the People’s Republic of China, the largest U.S. creditor, Smithsonian officials announced today. 

The United States owes China approximately eleventy-seven trillion dollars plus three giant pandas.

Panda repo details here.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Smithsonian Saturday Special

June 26, 2009

Smithsonian Saturday Special

A special event has been added to the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival,  a tribute concert dedicated to Diana Parker, long-time festival Director, who will be retiring later this year.

On Saturday June 27th at 7 PM, at the Festival’s Welsh Dragon Stage on the National Mall, some friends of Diana’s will share their music: Blues musicians Phil Wiggins and Corey Harris and members of award-winning Cajun band BeauSoleil.

Diana Parker has been with the Folklife Festival since 1975,  after working with other Smithsonian programs and at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. A consultant to Cultural Olympiads, the Los Angeles Festival, and every public presidential inaugural celebration since 1976, she helped produce the WWII Reunion on the Mall dedicating the WWII Memorial, and the First Americans Festival celebrating the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian.

More here.


The Welsh Dragon is the big tent near the Smithsonian Castle (map).

Can’t make it? See the live webcast here.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, and concise. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June 24-28 and July 1-5, 2009)

June 22, 2009

2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival (June 24-28 and July 1-5, 2009)

The 43rd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival  starts Wednesday and features the culture of Wales, Latin American music, and African American verbal art and tradition. The ten-day event is held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, between the U.S. Capitol, Washington Monument, and Smithsonian museums. 

Schedule here (don’t forget the evening concerts).

Hey kids! This is for you.

Related events around DC.

Directions and more. First time? Read this.

Web special: Folkways Magazine (includes Festival Radio, live music recordings from past festivals).

Note: Daniel Sheehy, PhD, Director and Curator of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, told readers of last Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine about his second job


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John Cephas Memorial Concert and Jam

March 16, 2009

John Cephas Memorial Concert and Jam











Celebrate the Life and Music of John Cephas 
Sunday March 29th, 1pm to 3pm
Baird Auditorium, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
10th & Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC (map)
Enter from the Constitution Avenue side
Federal Triangle Metro station

 followed by

John Cephas Memorial House Party Jam
Westminster Presbyterian Church 400 I Street SW
Washington, DC 20024 (map)
Waterfront Metro station (or a short walk)
Phil Wiggins is organizing the event in honor of his long time friend and musical partner. If you wish to contribute towards the expenses, contact Wayne Khan (Right on Rhythm) for details.

Update:  A memorial service was held on Saturday, March 23rd at the Caroline County Community Center in Bowling Green, Virginia. Interment will be at 10 a.m on Wednesday, March 25, at Quantico National Cemetery, Triangle, Virginia.

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2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

February 21, 2009

2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The 43rd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall (June 24-June 28 and July 1-5, 2009) will feature the culture of WalesLatin American music, and African American oral tradition.

Jacqueline Trescott wrote about festival plans in the Washington Post, and the paper’s “Going Out Guru” Fritz Hahn suggested booking Welsh musical faves Tom Jones, Super Furry Animals, Dame Shirley Bassey, mclusky, Catatonia, Helen Love, and Teen Anthems.  Mr. Hahn also recomended another Welsh product, Brains Dark.

Iechyd Da (Cheers).