Saturday, June 29, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Very exciting couple of days for Romeo. He got to meet two of my favorite people on the planet: Auntie Barbara Kahla and Uncle Joey Storey. (Okay, let's get one thing straight. If you are my friend, and you meet Romeo, you will be either an Auntie or an Uncle. Just accept this!) Uncle Joey even spent the night and most of the next of the next day which gave Romeo a chance to really interact with him; however, tentatively it was played out.
And then, after Joey left, we went for an innocent constitutional together and got GOBSTOPPERED by a horrendous thunderstorm in our beloved park!
It's just so much stimulation and smells and infractions on our established order (both good and bad) to nearly apprehend by him.
So were is he and his still damp carcass now? In the upstairs hall, dead-asleep to the world! What is there not to just love about this little guy! He's so open to everyone, patient and respectful when left alone, even meek and forgiving when presented with a crisis of my making (!) and well, in a word: wonderful.
Yes, it's the end of June and nearly the Fourth of July, and that means time for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall.
Every year there are 3 offerings. This year they include the nation of Hungary, a look at endangered languages, and African American culture from the lens of fashion and style as it reflects cultural identity and diversity. It's a wonderfully lot of experiences to take in at once so, on this occasion I went with my friend B. who has close ties to the Hungarian diaspora, and our time was spent in the Hungarian Heritage venue.
Throughout the exhibitions, marvelous displays of carpentry were evident. This one incorporates the peacock theme, but I didn't really get what it was suppose to do or even be...
Vista of the inner tents.
Lots of activities geared toward children. Lots of groups of summer camp kids and even pre-k classes of summer enrichment students--so sweet!
Here, children were encouraged to dress in traditional costume, and then they were helpless not to dance to the music of a nearby ensemble of instrumentalists.
And Family was emphasized for it's cultural importance throughout the displays and presentations.
Five generations of Josefs!
Many more crafts starting with the town of Kalosca!
Weaving of wheat stalks.
Then we wandered into a tent called the Heritage House were this gentlement extolled the virtues of Hungarian cultural and family values.
It eventually led to a musical selection featuring his four grandsons.
And an impromptu dance demonstration involving various known elements from the "audience".
Hungarian folk dancing was completely new to me. As was a close experience with Hungarian folk music. The form relies heavily on the melodies that are created by violins with a bass fiddle to compliment; but not so much a source of rhythm. Melodies are tuneful, but frenetic, sometimes to the edge of chaotic. There is much spinning of the female partner and fine footwork that reminded a little of Appalachian clogging. And the male partner kicks and slaps his foot, ankle, and calf a lot!--and very loudly, too!
More craftspersons included this saddle maker and this carver of cattle horns.
As I admired this costume (above), my friend half-jokingling comments that it was of the Ottoman style and that the Ottoman experience in Hungarian history was still a "sore spot"--who knew?
There were also demonstrations of culinary prowess.
This set up with it's angle mirror was delightful. A soup was being concocted of vegetables and liver dumplings. Liver dumpling that my friend has such fond memories of, unfortunately it's all about watching and learning and not about sampling!
Here a family works on butching a lamb for a traditional stew--again, no samples!
Another performance venue was this large tented Danubia Stage. Performers milling about outside above and another instrumental group performing below.
Lunch? Budapest Bistro, please!
We both had #4: Shashlik with Lecsó. It was a shish kabob of chicken breast, peppers and onions, topped with stewed peppers and tomatoes and a bread roll. Actually, very good. And in the communal nature of the available outdoor seating with had the chance to meet and converse with an office worker, young man, who had comedown with some colleagues and was enjoying his lunch in the fine auspices of the Folklife Festival venue.
Our final stop was this amazing dance gazebo where here an ad hoc performance was taking place off dance floor to the music as we approached. Below the main performers that we watched were introduced by this sister/brother duo. They hailed from Cleveland, Ohio, and here she was explaining the process of creating there traditional costumes which take up to a year to complete.
Then the dancing (and singing) began! It was clearly a story enacted in dance, but I never did get the meaning behind it, even though I loved the physicality and joy of the performers.
Tried my first Hami Melon today. Wow! Lovely, just lovely through and through. Sweet like honey but not over-powering. Awesome discovery. They're paler in the flesh than cantaloupe and yellower in the skin. You do want a more "veined" one. I think some of the ones at the market were picked immature as their skin was smooth and even mottled with green.