Sunday, January 25, 2009

What I've Been Doing Lately

As I'm sure everyone is well aware, Washington DC has been a madhouse for a couple of weeks now. My own life was wild as well.

In a flurry of post-holiday activity, I used a generous holiday check from the family to purchase a tuxedo! Me! In a tuxedo! Fortunately, Men's Wearhouse is having a sale on designer one, get one free. So I bought a tux and got a free business suit. What the hey, I was going to buy a suit anyway, and everyone says that if you rent a tux more than twice you've pretty much paid for it anyway.

The tux served me well, as I ended up going to a pre-inaugural gala at DC's Corcoran Gallery, hosted by Maryland State Senator Jamie Raskin, for whom I did some volunteer work a few years ago, during his campaign to unseat a long-term incumbent (who I swear, the few times I've bumped into her since, has always given me a dirty look...or is it me?). Here I am, at the Corcoran, all dolled up...

Everyone says I looked great, but I felt bloody awkward. I guess you always feel that way when you dress up in evening wear the first time.

Anyway, there was also an inaugural-themed burlesque show, "Obama Wonderama," that was surprisingly jubilant and patriotic. There was also the "Smudging of the White House," organized by comedian Kate Clinton, that took place in DC's Dupont Circle, as the White House area was under "Code Fuschia" security-wise. Then the morning of the big day I watched the ceremonies live on the big screen at the AFI Silver, with shockingly shoddy and amateurish coverage courtesy of the hacks at TV One, who talked through half the ceremony, including the "Simple Gifts" performance by Yo-Yo Ma & Co. Their coverage of this solemn and historic event was a shameful farce and rest assured they've heard from me about it, and probably a number of other people as well.

That evening, I donned the tux again for the Art of Change ball, an un-official event for DC's artistic community. I figured, as a blogger and critic, sometime writer and amateur photographer, I belonged. It was an interesting time, unfortunately I didn't stay as long as I would have liked. All the fatigue from the last few days caught up with me, and I felt my energy level and my mood dipping pretty darned low. Realizing I wouldn't be much fun for anyone, I left before midnight. Sigh.

So the remains of the week were spent getting up to speed at work, and then last night I celebrated the end of the inauguration season by attending the In Series' production of Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld.

This was great zany decadent fun, an operetta that's still relevant after 150 years and holds up well to modernization and translation. The audience was cheering and clapping along to the famous galop infernal (better known as the can-can) toward the end, and the singing and music were all exquisite. It was a grand night out.

As for my promised review of Clark Ashton Smith's remaining stories in A Rendezvous in Averoigne....I'm ashamed to say that I can't do them. Seriously, I've tried and tried over and over to start reading them, and I can't. I guess I've reached a Smith overload and can't handle much more of him at the moment. So I'm setting him aside and going on to other things....

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