Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Weekend in Washington, D.C.

My sister, Linda, and I went to Washington, D.C. this past weekend. First, though, I drove to her house in Columbus. Linda & I don't believe in down time. Even though I drove for over five hours, we went to a play that night, "Daddy-Long-Legs". It's an enjoyable romantic musical with only two cast members. It was a small, intimate theater, and we had a fun evening. Then, poor Linda had to drive home in a raging downpour.

We flew to D.C. the next morning. How long has it been since I've been there? Other than catching the train there last year, I haven't been there since grad school. It's been a little while. We stayed in a nice little hotel in Foggy Bottom, The River Inn. Very nice older hotel, and it was just two blocks from the Kennedy Center.

Here's our neighborhood in Foggy Bottom. And, my token picture of a door, that I have to have from a trip.

We walked to the Kennedy Center, past the Watergate building. We picked up our tickets to see the musical, "Chess". The ticket seller told me it was sold out, and people were coming from all over the world for it - China, Brazil, Japan.

We took a tour of the Kennedy Center - free, and well worth it. It was a little over an hour, and there were only three of us. It was kind of sad that when I answered the tour guide and said "Yes, please", she stopped, looked at me, and said, "Thank you. That's the first please I've heard in years." Linda told her it was because we were raised in the Midwest. Anyways, we were able to see all the theaters, go into some of the boxes and private lounges, and see and hear about the art that was a gift from different countries. I also took a picture of the Don Quixote statue outside. Just because.

The weather was cold on Friday, but we still walked blocks to Kramerbooks and Afterwords. It's a bookstore and restaurant that's been there so long that I went there when I was in grad school in D.C. We had a very good dinner there, especially because our waiter was so much fun. We took Uber back to the hotel, and had about three hours to play a card game. That was really our only downtime the entire trip.

We picked the perfect day to go to the Newseum. The weather was supposed to start getting bad about 2 PM (it did), eventually turn to snow, and be sloppy until about 10 PM. We were at the Newseum from just after 9 AM to 5 PM and closing. If you ever go, your ticket is good for two days.

We could have used a day and a half or two days there. There were movies and exhibits we didn't even get to. But, Linda and I are both fascinated by news and history, and we analyzed and discussed the exhibits. One exhibit was a temporary one, all the Pulitizer Prize-winning photographs. And, we looked at every one, listened to tapes about some. We laughed at the exhibit about the Presidential dogs. In one hallway, there are the current days front pages from one newspaper from each state and from some foreign countries. Each morning they receive copies of 80-some newspapers from around the country and the world. We discussed all those front pages, comparing them and the front page headlines. There was one room with the front pages of historic days in U.S. history.

You can walk out on the 6th floor terrace where they have a fantastic view. And, then you work your way down the building. A few buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue that you can see from the Newseum.

There was an exhibit about the Bill of Rights. My favorite Amendment? Of course, it's he First Amendment.

There was a very moving exhibit about the Berlin Wall. We didn't even get to the news movie. And, we didn't have the heart to watch the Holocaust movie. I already cried at the Berlin Wall stories.
West Berlin side of the Berlin Wall (pieces of the actual wall)

Whitewashed East Berlin side of the wall

Lower part of a checkpoint

Tower of a Berlin Wall checkpoint

At least I didn't cry at the cartoon display. I was just talking to Linda about this cartoon, and turned around, and there was a copy of it.

Can you call a day thoughtful? We spent a full day talking history. Thoughtful conversations with my sister. A few tears over history.

At five when we left the museum, it was slushy and snowy. So, it took our cab a while to get through the 5 PM traffic. By the time we arrived at the hotel, we had only about a half an hour until the time we planned to walk to the Kennedy Center. We took our umbrellas (now rain), linked arms, and carefully walked the two blocks. By the time we left after the show, the precipitation had stopped, it warmed enough to melt the slush, and we just walked back.

"Chess". Here's how "Broadway World" introduces it. "Chess is an epic rock opera about love and political intrigue set against the backdrop of the Cold War as two superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends.
Written in 1984 by songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (Mamma Mia!) and lyricist Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, Evita), Chess has been seen in numerous productions around the world. The original concept album spawned two international hit singles, "I Know Him So Well" and "One Night in Bangkok." Presented as a part of Broadway Center Stage, a Kennedy Center-produced series of musicals in semi-staged concerts, Chess ran February 14-18, 2018 in the Eisenhower Theater.
Chess stars Raúl Esparza as American chess champion Freddie Trumper; Ramin Karimloo as rival Russian chess star Anatoly Sergievsky; Ruthie Ann Miles as Anatoly's wife, Svetlana Sergievsky; and Karen Olivo as Florence Vassy, a remarkable Hungarian refugee who becomes the center of the emotional triangle."

It actually fit perfectly with our day at the Newseum. The history background. The orchestra was above the stage, and above the orchestra were screens where film of historic political moments of that time period were shown. 
When we had dinner, a woman next to us was surprised we had come from the Midwest to see it. I told her people had come from all over the world to see it. Linda told her I actually came to see an actor, Ramin Karimloo. But, I was also excited to see Bryce Pinkham as the arbiter, and he was perfect. Actually, it was a once-in-a-lifetime cast. They rehearsed for one week, performed seven shows, and that's it. Even if they hope to take it to Broadway, that cast will never be together again.
We had wonderful box tier seats, in the front row of the box. Perfect seats. It was a wonderful evening with a receptive audience who appreciated every song, every solo, and each one of the actors. They showed their appreciation as each came on stage. Just an unforgettable experience.
We flew back to Columbus the next day, and then I drove home. It made for a busy, enjoyable weekend to be able to meet up with Linda, see two shows and visit the museum. Just perfect.


SandyG265 said...

I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. My boyfriend and I are thinking about going to DC in the fall. I’ve been wanting to see the American Indian museum since it opened.

Lesa said...

I'd like to see that one, too, Sandy. You'll have to let me know if you go.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Sounds like you had a great time despite the weather. We love the Newseum! I also loved the newspapers from around the country and the world, but there are just so many things to see there.

Charlotte said...

Glad you had a fun and safe trip.
I know all the fur babies are thrilled you are back with them.

Lesa said...

Yes, we did have a great time, Jeff. We weren't going to let a little weather ruin our plans. It was fascinating to see the various front pages, and how news is handled differently.

Lesa said...

Charlotte, You're right. They were quite happy to have me back, and everyone was piled together on Sunday night.

Ingrid King said...

I'm so glad you had such a wonderful trip!

Kay said...

Making such good memories, Lesa! Loved hearing about your trip.

Kaye Barley said...

Oh, Lesa. What a perfect trip. I loved reading your recap and thank you for sharing it with us.

Lesa said...

You're all welcome! I had to share. I've heard from some people who just read the blog, and normally don't comment. But, they said they like to hear about my travels.

Abby Miller said...

Sounds like you had a fun time on your trip. I absolutely love DC and want to go back and visit again. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Gram said...

Wow..great trip.We hope to get to the Newseum the next time we are there. Thanks for all the pictures.

Janet Schneider said...

Great post, Lesa! My colleague was at the Sunday night performance. She's a HUGE Chess fan--I hear Chess fans are a bit of a cult :-)Here's hoping it's on its way to NYC for a revival. Loved that you made the pilgrimage to Kramerbooks--it's a special place. Living in Dupont Circle in the 80s it's where I first saw Isabel Allende in person.