Visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Discover what the NMAAHC has to offer your family and friends and add it to your travel bucket list.

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Ever since its dedication on the National Mall in September 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has been one of the most popular Smithsonian institutions. So many people include this museum in their Washington, D.C., itinerary that you need a timed entry pass to gain admission. Tourists can brave either the periodic timed pass release four months in advance, or try the 6:30 a.m. same-day pass release online. I recommend that you request an early entry time, like 10:30 or 11:00 a.m., to get ahead of the crowds and see as much as you can before the museum closes at 5:30 p.m.

Typically, I don’t recommend museum food, but the Sweet Home Café is really at another level in taste, quality, and ambience. It features classic dishes at four very distinct stations representing the Southern, Creole, Northern, and Western regions. Café staff are among the friendliest and personable I’ve met at a museum. Stop at the café rightbefore you embark with your group into the galleries. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of time backtracking from the exhibits to the café and then finding your exhibit. Continue reading “Visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture”

Made in Hong Kong Film Festival: A Salute to Kara Wai

If you’ve never heard of the Made in Hong Kong Film Festival, it’s a wonderful event cosponsored by the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office. 2016 marks the twenty-first year since the Festival’s inception in Washington, D.C., with a spectacular line up of films from July 15 through August 7 at the National Museum of American History.

Photo of Actress Kara Wai
Photo of Kara Wai courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Sunday afternoon featured the second day of a Salute to Kara Wai with a special screening of My Young Auntie (1981). The fifty-six year-old actress won her first Hong Kong Film Award for her performance in the funny and intense kung fu classic made by the Shaw Brothers studio. She plays a young student who marries her dying teacher to protect his inheritance. She delivers the deed to her new nephew and grand-nephew, but greedy relatives are not too far behind. Continue reading “Made in Hong Kong Film Festival: A Salute to Kara Wai”

Final Weekend to See Idil Sukan’s Fantastic ‘This Comedian’ Exhibit in London

Last month, I visited London for the first time with Tony, my older brother. It was a whirlwind of a week with excursions to the museums to see many works of art that I’d studied as an art history major at the University of Virginia. Call to mind any number of famous works housed in London in graphite, paint, ceramic, or marble and it’s likely we marveled at them.

Embassy Tea Gallery on Union Street, London - Photo: Pat Cuadros
Embassy Tea Gallery on Union Street, London – Photo: Pat Cuadros

Notice that my enumeration above leaves out photography. To be honest, I generally dislike exhibitions centered around photography, avoiding them on the museum circuit. It’s probably because photos, while artfully rendered, often seem too gimmicky and hollow. Where’s that sense of a captured moment in time, quirkiness, and charm when you gaze upon a subject? Continue reading “Final Weekend to See Idil Sukan’s Fantastic ‘This Comedian’ Exhibit in London”

2015: A Big Year for Leonardo da Vinci in U.S. Theaters and Museums

Welcome to another installment of TV Spyglass, the Saturday edition if you will. I just published an article about the new screening dates for the documentary “Inside the Mind of Leonardo 3D” (2D at select screenings). It stars Peter Capaldi (“Doctor Who,” “The Thick of It”) as Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance artist celebrated for both his scientific studies and artistic talents. The focus is generally on the Codex Atlanticus, one of Leonardo’s many journals.

If you are lucky enough to see the documentary later this month or in January 2015 (or on DVD later?), you may be wondering how to enhance your Leonardo experience. Sorry, I couldn’t help but put a spin on the master’s own reference to himself as a “disciple of experience.” The big question therefore is this: Do I have to travel to Europe? The good news for those of us on this side of the pond is a resounding “no.” Fortunately, I know of four different places where you can go, two of which are in fairly close proximity. Continue reading “2015: A Big Year for Leonardo da Vinci in U.S. Theaters and Museums”