Archive for the ‘tourism’ Category

Cherry Blossom Parade Today in DC

April 4, 2009

Cherry Blossom Parade Today in DC

Just another spring weekend in the DC. The gentle lapping of the Potomac, cherry blossoms bobbing in the breeze, police barricades across major thoroughfares ….  Festivities start with the Southwest Airlines National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade®. Festival Grand Marshal: Alex Trebek. Forget about driving on Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets, NW.

The Sakura Matsuri (Japanese Street Festival) will be on Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th & 10th Streets NW and 12th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution NW.

The day ends with three simultaneous pro sports events:  basketball ( Wizards at Verizon Center), soccer ( DC United at RFK Stadium), and baseball (Nationals at Nationals Park). Metro promises extra trains.

Road closures, parking restrictions, traffic jams, Metro crushes and crowded sidewalks.

I’ll take “Spring in DC” for a hundred, Alex.


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

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


Cherry Blossom Web Cam 2009

April 2, 2009

Cherry Blossom Web Cam 2009

The digital horticulturalists of the National Park Service have weeded, fertilized, and pruned their code and routers into full bloom, so you can now enjoy the 2009 Cherry Blossom Web Cam. Click here.

Note: Doesn’t work with Google Chrome. Use another browser.

Hat tip:  Danielle Piacente for the National Cherry Blossom Festival®
Cherry Blossom facts, National Park Service.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Download the “desktop” image (Cherry Blossom Viewing at the Tidal Basin, after Hiroshige) here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Macon The Most of Cherry Blossom Season

March 29, 2009

Macon The Most of Cherry Blossom Season

Washington’s National Cherry Blossom Festival® begins this weekend, but today marks the end of  “The Pinkest Party on Earth,”  the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia.  Unlike the crass commercialism of DC’s event (“Brought to You by Target“), the spring observance in Macon preserves many of the serene, graceful, and contemplative customs of traditional Japanese hanami (blossom-viewing):  the Bed Race, the Sea Lion SplashPink Pancake Breakfast, Lawnmower Races, Pink Tutu Ballet, Amazing Animal Athletes, all your old-time Asian faves.

Macon also has poodles. Pink poodles.


Congress Wants Guns in DC. No Problem.

March 9, 2009

Congress Wants Guns in DC. No Problem.

The District of Columbia Voting Rights Act of 2009, giving the U.S. citizens of the District of Columbia representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, passed in the Senate. But partisan opponents appended an unrelated “poison pill” amendment, a provision to throw out local DC gun laws.

Many congressmen face a dilemma. They want to end two centuries of congressional neglect and give DC citizens something even residents of Baghdad have, voting representation in their national legislature. On the other hand, they do not want to overturn local laws established by the duly-elected city government, critical laws concerning public safety.

Congress: vote “yes.” But add one more amendment to the bill first, one that requires a gun shop in the new Capitol Visitor Center.


DC Cherry Blossoms 2009

March 6, 2009

DC Cherry Blossoms 2009

Update: The 2009 NPS Cherry Blossom Web Cam is now working.

Washington expects a spring-like weekend, so even jaded natives are thinking about the Capital’s blossom-viewing opportunities next month. The Japanese people gave flowering ornamental cherry trees to the U.S. to thank us for inventing the transistor, and these are planted throughout the District of Columbia (the trees, not the transistors). 

When these trees bloom each spring, Washingtonians celebrate the subtle, evanescent mystery of life in the tradtional Japanese manner by contemplating the delicate blossoms and having a big honking parade with a giant “Hello Kitty” balloon, roller derby teams, Alex Trebek, a beauty contest, and tap dancers. 


Mop-Top Masters Program

March 4, 2009

Mop-Top Masters Program

Liverpool Hope University has announced a new Master of Arts degree program, “The Beatles, Popular Music and Society.”

“There have been over 8000 books about The Beatles but there has never been serious academic study and that is what we are going to address,” says Dr. Michael (Mike)  Brocken, Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at the school.  Dr. Brocken is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio Merseyside and has written about the British folk music revival and Burt Bacharach. Liverpool Hope University (formerly the Liverpool Institute of Higher Education) is the successor to earlier Catholic and Church of England colleges dating back to 1844. 

Liverpudlian teen musicians John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison formed the group that became the Beatles in 1957-58 and appeared at the hometown Cavern club nearly 300 times from 1961 to 1963. Homeboy Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) became the Beatles’ drummer in 1962.


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).

Vision Thing

February 17, 2009

Vision Thing

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) invited Washingtonians to a public meeting last Wednesday to provide input for a master plan for outdoor sculpture and murals, a Public Art Program “vision.”

We are neither ophthalmologists nor optometrists, but the event clearly indicates the DC government’s urgent need for Public Art vision correction due to:

Shortsightedness: The “public meeting” ran from from 5 PM to 7 PM, before many working people could get there. Other government agencies start public meetings at  6:30 PM or 7 PM (just look at the DC Government calendar). Want to go through the motions and avoid the hassle of having lots of citizens at your “public” meeting? Hold it earlier.

Distance Vision: The plan for site-specific art in DC’s streets and neighborhoods is actually being drafted by consultants from St. Louis and Philadelphia.

Fuzziness: The meeting’s maps, posters, slides, charts, and chats all featured the phrase “Creative Economy,” but none of the consultants or DC Government employees present would define the term.

Transparency: Selected “open house” guests attended “closed house” meetings before and after the open meeting.

Double Vision, Lack of Focus, Disorientation: The Environment and Tourism are not within the purview of DCCAH, but were prominent topics of the meeting, duplicating efforts of other DC agencies and DC-funded nonprofits. DCCAH is the only public Arts agency serving the District of Columbia; no other agency picks up the slack if it abandons that mission for others.

Intermittent Blindness: A written agenda, descriptions of (or references to) Art in Public Places guidelines or Best Practices and other documents were not visible.

Take the Vision Test.  See for yourself. Here is the “questionnaire,” the only document distributed to the few people at this pro forma “public” event:


Bankers Took Your Tax Money to Vegas

February 9, 2009

Bankers Took Your Tax Money to Vegas

All those bankers you bailed out with billions of your tax dollars are hard at work — in Las Vegas. The American Securitization Forum is meeting at the Venetian and Palazzo Resort and Casino.


Eastern Market Schedule

January 29, 2009

Eastern Market Schedule

Eastern Market is bustling along as always as Capitol Hill’s  place for fresh food shopping, schmoozing and art, but reconstruction of the fire-gutted original  1873 building seemed stalled and unlikely to meet the planned  June completion date. 

In home remodelling, medicine, or automotive work, once you get under the hood you find problems you didn’t expect. Historic restoration is no different. Deteriorated flooring, corroded steel beams, and weakened brick arches slowed progress, Bill Rice of  DC’s Office of Property Management told Michael Neibauer of The Examiner.

OPM has extended construction hours so market business can blossom in the  spring. Workmen will be on the job from 3:30 PM to midnight weekdays, 6 AM to 3:30 PM Saturdays (never on Sundays) until May.