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Monday, October 20, 2014

The Boomer List @The Newseum

Welcome to this week's Monday Must-See, Must-Do post. On Mondays, we offer an entry about some current exhibit, event, or dining experience in DC you should take in. Sometimes, we will write the post. Sometimes, it will be taken from another publication. But no matter who is the writer, we believe Monday Must-See, Must-Do will showcase something you shouldn't miss. 

Few generations have been as discussed and analyzed as the Baby Boomers, defined as anyone born between the years 1946 and 1964.  Now you can learn more about  the lives, contributions, and times of the Boomers by viewing The Boomer List exhibition now on display at the Newseum.

For the exhibition, which will be on display until July 5, photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders chose, photographed, and interviewed 1 person born in each of the 19 years of the baby boom.  

In addition to the 19 portraits, a timeline of historic events that defined the baby boom generation will be displayed including newsmagazines from the Newseum collection plus a copy of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s parental advice book, “Baby and Child Care,” an original 1959 Barbie doll, a 1964 G.I. Joe action figure, a transistor radio and a U.S. Army draft card from 1965.
The artifacts illustrate the news events and pop culture moments that defined the baby boom generation, from its start in 1946 until 1982, when the last boomers turned 18. Visitors are invited to add their baby boom memories to the timeline on post-it notes.
In addition, an interactive kiosk will allow visitors to explore exclusive behind-the-scenes images of Greenfield-Sanders’s photo shoots.
The Boomer list also features a scent station with memorable aromas familiar to the baby boom generation. A first for the Newseum, the station will include whiffs of baby powder, to represent the 76 million-plus babies born between 1946 and 1964; fresh-cut grass, a reminder of the boomers’ move to the suburbs; and incense, evoking the musky smell of rebellion, flower power and love-ins.
Here is a sample of what you will see if you visit:

Extra! Extra! Read All About It

There's Always More to the Story

If you are nostalgic for the apex of the Boomer period (the 1950s and 1960s) here is a sample of items you can purchase in the Newseum's gift shop:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Phantoms of the Museum

DC's Smithsonian museums (there are 17 of them here in the city) are among America's most visited and treasured places. But the Smithsonian also publishes a series of some of the most interesting, fact-filled blogs appearing anywhere on the internet. Each Sunday, The Prices Do DC re-posts an entry either about the Smithsonian or that 1st appeared in 1 of the institution's blogs. Hope you enjoy and maybe we'll see you soon at the Smithsonian.

As Halloween approaches, I am reminded of a May 13, 1900, article (see the scan at the bottom of this post) on the National Museum in the Washington Post that reported on “Shades of Scientists Who Walk There Nightly,” (shades was an old term for ghosts). 

The U.S. National Museum was then housed in what is now known as the Arts and Industries Building.  The guards and staff who worked late reported that the deceased but devoted scientists of earlier eras continued to walk the halls of the Museum at night, guarding over their collections.  Foremost among these was Spencer Fullerton Baird (1823-1887), the first Smithsonian curator and second Secretary of the Smithsonian.

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Typepad, click here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The 25 Steps to Becoming a Real Washingtonian

Each week in our Saturday Supplement we re-post an entry of interest to both residents of the Washington area and visitors to DC that first appeared in another publication.

Did you move to DC from somewhere else? SHOCKING! 

In a city so full of transplants, what does it mean to be a local? Well, it means you've completed these 25 steps...

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in Thrillist, click here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

DC Wasn't Ready for Bob Marley in 1973

Welcome to this week's Friday Flashback. Each Friday in the Flashback we offer a post about some part of the past and its relationship to DC. Sometimes, we will write a new entry. Others times, we will showcase articles that previously appeared in The Prices Do DC or some other online publications. But no matter who does the writing, you can trust that you will learn something important from the Flashback. 

Today, it's common to see people wearing t-shirts emblazoned with Bob Marley's instantly recognizable likeness, and the reggae classics that he recorded with the Wailers are so iconic that they're used in TV commercials.

But back on the afternoon of October 14, 1973, when the then-28-year-old singer with the dreadlocks and whispy beard and his band stepped out onto the stage at the U.S. Naval Academy's Halsey Field House, things were quite different. It's a safe bet that hardly anyone in the audience even knew who Marley and the Wailers were, or had heard their LP Catch A Fire, which Rolling Stone critic Rob Haughton had lauded as filled with "lilting tunes of hypnotic character headed by super-progressive lead guitar work, Motown variations, and cowboy nuances, all backed by the tricky Jamaican beat that serves to keep the decibel level in a moderate range.".

To continue reading this post, which 1st appeared in WETA's Boundary Stone, click here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Covering the Supreme Court

Of all the beats that reporters cover, few are as challenging as the Supreme Court. First, there are the legal complexities of the cases that reach the court. Then there is the fact that discussions are held behind closed doors and decisions are privately written in chambers. Finally, there is the long-standing reluctance of the 9 justices to explain their actions or speak about court matters in public.

"They (the justices) don't need the press the way other public figures do," says Jess Bravin, the Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.

Recently, Bravin joined Maria Coyle, chief Washington correspondent for The National Law Journal, and Garret Epps, constitutional law professor at the University of Baltimore and Supreme Court correspondent for The Atlantic Online for a discussion at the National Archives about covering the highest court in America.

The panel discussion, moderated by Bill Grueskin, a professor at the Columbia Journalism School and an executive editor at Bloomberg News, was entitled Courtroom Drama: Covering the Supreme Court.

"The beat is different in that there is so little contact," Coyle said. "The justices are reluctant to grant interviews or release any personal information. You have to go to the oral arguments and that is where you are going to learn about them."

"The issues are difficult, they are complicated, but they are interesting," she added. "And if you look beyond the legal question, there is someone who has a problem."

Given the secrecy surrounding the court, it takes a long time to develop credibility and acquire sources, all 3 reporters agreed. "If you stay at the court long enough, you begin to see certain patterns. There is a lot of value to staying with it for years to see what is happening," Coyle said.

Of course, just like it has for journalists everywhere, the advent of the internet, social media, and the 24/7 news cycle has changed the way reporters cover the Supreme Court.

"It's made deadline pressure intense," says Coyle. "We used to have time to develop and write in-depth." Now she says, after a day at court, she has to check for soundbite selections from any rulings for fellow broadcasters to use, compose blog entries and tweets, analyze the happenings, write a brief summary and then her story, and then appear live on TV that night to explain cases to viewers.

Epps says the "voracious appetite for content" works in his favor since he doesn't do deadline reporting, but instead writes pieces examining constitutional issues. He gave an example of just how difficult it is to get a non-case story from the court. He wanted to write a feature about the court's legal library, but was told "no employee of the library will talk to you."

The current court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, has been criticized for issuing rulings strictly along party lines. There are 5 Republican appointees and 4 Democratic appointees on the bench.

"We use the liberal and conservative shorthand, but the justices are all intellectual and have very deeply thought out positions on the issues," Bravin said. "That being said, there is often remarkably little diversity in their lineups."

"It looks very political," Coyle said. "We've had a real run of culture war issues. All the justices will say they never practice politics, but they are the sum of their lives and their experiences."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

From Dolley to Michelle: A Look at the First Ladies of Fashion

Michelle Obama in a Tracy Reese design.
When a new president assumes his duties at The White House, his wife automatically becomes the First Lady of the land. This means she shares an important political function with her husband.

But in addition to her political stands, she also assumes an unofficial title of First Lady of Fashion. What she wears and her style is followed and commented on. If she uses a particular designer, the popularity of that designer can soar. She can institute new looks or lead others to be discontinued.

The unofficial title of First Lady of Fashion has been thrust upon presidential wives since the 19th century days of the quite-fashionable Dolley Madison. The title holds even greater import today. In some circles, the question of whether Michelle Obama should wear bangs was as debated as the idea of Middle East bombing.

Recently, TV fashion guru Tim Gunn moderated a panel at the National Archives entitled Style and Influence: First Ladies' Fashions. The discussion, co-sponsored by The White House Historical Association, also included:
  • Lisa Graddy, Smithsonian curator of American women's political history which includes the Museum of American History's First Ladies collection.
  • Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of The Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Tracy Reese, a designer whose designs have been worn by Mrs. Obama
Gunn, Reese, Steele, and Graddy discuss First Ladies and their fashion 
Gunn began the 90-minute discussion with the question - why do we care so much about what the First Lady wears?

The panel agreed that Americans saw First Ladies as representing the style, stability, and value of a presidential administration. "In a way, the American public is like a jury. The people judge what they like," Graddy said.

Of course, the emphasis changes depending on the person. No First Lady had a bigger impact on fashion and style than Jacqueline Kennedy. "Women's Wear Daily covered her just like a war," Steele said.

Even though she was much admired for her sense of style, Mrs. Kennedy was criticized by some for spending too much on fashion. "A First Lady can't win. There is a thread that runs through American history that fashion is unnecessary and elitist," said Graddy. "When amounts were reported on how much money she was spending (on clothing), Mrs. Kennedy replied 'I would have to be buying sable underwear to spend that much.'"

Graddy noted that the aim of a stylish First Lady should be to choose clothing that is "appropriate for her age and her activity."

Sometimes a fashion statement can have a lasting impact. "Nancy Reagan changed red from the color of the Communist Revolution to the color of the Republican Party," Graddy explained.

Michelle Obama is now the spouse in the spotlight. Reese, who has designed outfits for Mrs. Obama, says most people give the First Lady high marks for style. "She wears what she likes and knows what looks good on her. She's a woman of the moment," Reese said. "She's having a huge impact on the fashion industry. I think people like to see her wearing something they could buy. And she wears clothing beautifully. She's someone people are always excited to see. The fashion block is a really, really tough crowd, but she won them over. She is a modern woman who is fit and active and is trying to help people get fit and active".

Steele believes that there will always be a focus on the fashion of First Ladies. "There is a role (in politics) for emphasizing the things you believe in. Clothing is one way to demonstrate that," she said.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Time Covers the 1960s @The National Portrait Gallery

Welcome to this week's Monday Must-See, Must-Do post. On Mondays, we offer an entry about some current exhibit, event, or dining experience in DC you should take in. Sometimes, we will write the post. Sometimes, it will be taken from another publication. But no matter who is the writer, we believe Monday Must-See, Must-Do will showcase something you shouldn't miss. 

Week in and week out, Time magazine covered the 1960s using all manner of covers created by some of the foremost artists of the day. 

A new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery featuring original cover art from the museum’s Time collection explores a selection of the major newsmakers, trends, and happenings that defined the 1960s.

Chronologically, the 1960s began with the inauguration of John F. Kennedy and ended with “one giant leap for mankind,” as Apollo 11 ferried 3 astronauts people to the moon and back.

In the intervening years, Time covered the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the escalation of the Vietnam War, civil rights, the women’s movement and cultural phenomena such as the Beatles, hippies and the sexual revolution

In addition to the artwork above, here is some more of what you will see if you visit the exhibition. Can you name them?

And if you want to recall or learn more about the 1960s, the NPG gift shop is ready for you.

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