Monday, August 11, 2008

Presidential

I'm heading to DC in a few hours where I'll be staying for the next few weeks for an off-writing gig [editors note: it's true: TFE doesn't pay the bills. *sniffle* so I take non-writing jobs to replenish the bank account on occassion]. I've been to DC a couple of times before and always enjoyed the journey.

I've heard they've shuttered every single one of the wild clubs I once hit and loved (ugh. DC was so sexy/crazy just 5 years ago... what happened?) but my favorite touristy things aren't going anywhere ever. They'll all be standing long after we're all dead and buried. The three things I'm craziest about.
  1. the hugely moving Vietnam memorial. You'll never see anything like this built again. Public pieces are too artistically diluted these days by committees, polls, media scrutiny and aesthetic unfriendly corporations.
  2. the ruby slippers in the Smithsonian. It's my Judy G problem -- or my Judy G blessing however you wanna see it.
  3. The majestic Lincoln Memorial. I've always responded to massive statuary.
I was thinking about that last one today and wondering when and if we'll ever see Liam Neeson (an underrated star) play Abraham Lincoln in the Steven Spielberg directed biopic which is currently slated for 2010. I hope so. Spielberg has made a few bios in his time atop Hollywood's directorial pack but Schindler's List (starring, hey... Liam Neeson!) was easily the best of them. Lincoln seems like a good match of actor and role. Supposedly Neeson has already read 22 books on the 16th president to prepare. Biopics are usually the quickest way to Oscar glory but it's never a sure thing: Kinsey didn't win him a nomination even after an LAFCA prize. Maybe the reunion with Spielberg will give him a boost?

I was on iChat with a friend yesterday and I jokingly suggested he pop over to DC to see me. Unfortunately he had vowed he wasn't setting foot there until Bush have moved on. So the timing was wrong. For him, I throw up this hilarious (and true) running mate campaign logo...


...which I found at Lazy Circles . Also I'd like to remind y'all that Obama has way better taste in reel presidents than John McCain.

Anyway... If you're familiar with DC, I'd love to hear suggestions about things to see and do and places to eat on the odd evenings when I'm out on the town.

15 comments:

dusty said...

In a city full of monuments and statues, it's easy to miss the best ones. If you haven't done it already, walk a few blocks away from the Vietnam Memorial and take your picture with the almost-hidden Albert Einstein memorial statue. He's giant and craggily sculpted. I have my picture in his lap.

John T said...

I don't know Nathaniel-I think Neeson playing Lincoln in a Spielberg biopic is about as close to a sure on-paper nomination as you can get.

pikajew said...

I second dusty, the Einstein statue is pretty darn nifty. I'd also suggest checking out the Zoo which is amazing and free! The C&O canal also makes for an excellent place to take a walk/ride your bike/feed the ducks/hike/whatever you feel like doing. Checking out The Uptown movie theater is also a must if you've never done so before. As for food, oh man, there are too many places for me to list here. The Washingtonian is a good place to start. They've got tons of reviews and they cover places as cheap as $5.00/person to sinfully wonderful, outrageously expensive places to get 7 course meals. If you want any more info or suggestions drop me a line. pikajew at gmail dot com

jimmy said...

welcome to dc! well, if you visit a town...let folks know in advance so we can take you to dinner or lunch....do a fun discussion group! im in georgetown. try sushi ko on wisc ave. also, oceanairre has great seafood. i love the thomas jefferson memorial. just recently learned that trees were planted & cut so the way he's facing, he can always keep his eye on the white house /oval office. try the fdr monument - which i find to be quite moving. btw - judy's glass slipper museum has been shut down for massive renovations.

J.J. said...

Einstein statue? Okay maybe.

I'll send you a F-book message with some hints.

Carl said...

The Capitol building is good this time of year. You can walk in and see the place virtually empty, with no one doing anything. Then again, I suppose that's not a lot different than when the congresscritters are actually in town...

Heck, I like the Metro subway. I am an engineer by trade and mass transit gets me all excited. I have been to San Francisco too many times to count and I still think BART is ten times more special than the cable cars.

Everyone does this, I think (and everyone should) but, if you have missed it, do the National Air and Space Museum. Jewels from a time when America was all about "Can Do" and not "It costs HOW much?" I cry there more from what we have lost than what we have.

Hayden said...

The Smithsonian is a place filled with happy memories, because, besides seeing Garland's slippers, I also came within inches of one of Aretha Franklin's Grammys. To this day, it's the most impressive statuette I've seen in real life, and I certainly have a preoccupation with statuettes.

Hayden said...

Oh, and there's an amazing Italian corner bistro in Georgetown whose name escapes me.

But I love Georgetown. It's effortlessly trendy in the same way Charleston, South Carolina is, only replace the Anglo-Southern sensibilities with Anglo-Yankee sensibilities and add whitewash.

Anonymous said...

The American History Museum, which houses the Ruby Slippers, is closed for renovation until November. I think the slippers are on tour during the remodeling.

You might want to explore the beautiful National Cathedral, the Holocaust Museum, and the recently re-opened National Portrait Gallery/Museum of American Art (two museums in one building).

The Newsium and the Spy Museum are non-Smithsonian operations--unlike the Smithsonian, they charge entry fees (about $20, I believe).

My favorite secret DC spot is a cemetary that's about a 10 minute walk from the Rockville Metro station. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are buried there.

Jonathan Lapper said...

DC for a few weeks? I've got to pick up my guest blogging here. I've been slacking off thinking you were handling things just fine.

As for DC, well, as you may know from my profile, I work in DC and live in Silver Spring, MD. If you're clever enough with your sitemeter during the day, you even know where I work (it's clearly spelled out in the I.P. and it's a major tourist site but I'm not saying anything else - blogging on the job's a no-no so I got to keep on the sly). I'm afraid I probably couldn't recommend anything too out of the ordinary. There's the Brickskeller on 22nd st (largest beer selection in the world - no, I'm serious - in the world). I love Harry's too on eleventh and E if you're at the museums and want a cheap MASSIVE burger. It's no frills so don't expect ambience. But it's just a couple of blocks from the mall. Outside of that most stuff I know is in Maryland and I doubt you'll make it out there (besides, you might discover my secret identity). Have fun. I'll start revving up the posts as best I can. Little busy at work these last couple of days but tomorrow I'll have some time to get some stuff up that will as usual make your readers long for your return.

ccopeland1976 said...

Welcome to D.C.!!!

There's a quiet little spot that I enjoy over near the Museum of Natural History called the Smithsonian Butterfly Garden. It's not particularly big, but it's pretty cool. It's at 9th and Constitution just off the National mall. It's a block of gardens designed to draw butterflies. I walked through one evening after a run on the mall, and it was so nice and quiet, a little oasis in downtown.

Also, the Newseum is the real deal. It is a fantastic museum with tons of interesting things to see and do. Give yourself a full four hours, at least.

Finally, my favorite places to eat here are Central Michel Richard(10th and Pennsylvania) and Acadiana (at 9th and New York - check out the patio on Fridays from 4:30 to 6:30, and be sure to order a Category 5, their specialty drink).

Anonymous said...

Newseum on the National Mall just reopened. There's a charge but it's worth it. Michael in DC

Ben said...

Nathaniel,

DC resident here. You have to go to the Hirshorn Modern Art Museum (Smithsonian) on the mall. They have an awesome exhibit up called "The Cinema Effect." There is one piece on parent figures from movies that is particularly great.

Also, check out Malcolm X park on Sunday nights for a cool community drum circle (from about 4-9). It's in the Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights neighborhood.

Jonathan Lapper said...

ccopeland, Michael, Ben - Since you all live here too - Ever find it odd that the National Gallery Sculpture Garden is all modern and the Hirschorn Garden is all classical? It's like they delivered the sculptures to the wrong gardens.

I also like the Jefferson Memorial at night by the water. It's peaceful and beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, how could I forget the Hirschorn museum?! It's amazing, enchanting, inspiring and small enough to get through in 1 day. Go! You just want to run home afterwards and create! And yes Jonathan you're right about the statues, I never thought of that. Michael in DC