U.S. Supreme Court? CHECK!

FINALLY!! After 6 years on my DC-to-do-list, I can cross off visiting the U.S. Supreme Court! Well, actually, the item on my list was a little more ambitious than just visiting the U.S. Supreme Court. I wanted to sit through an oral argument. And that’s not exactly what I did this week, but close enough. 

US Supreme Court

Thanks to a former colleague, I sat through a lecture on property rights in the progressive era, organized by the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society and hosted by Justice Samuel Alito. The lecture itself was waaaay over my head, I have no legal background whatsoever, but the reception afterwards, in one of the court’s stunning conference rooms, was right up my alley! I mean, of course I would find a way to drink wine at the U.S. supreme Court right? 

Reception at the US Supreme Court

So now I actually do want to just take a tour of the building and get to learn more about it but I am still crossing the U.S. Supreme Court off my DC-to-do-list!! So far, I’m doing pretty good and I think I might be able to cross everything off… let’s recap:

  1. U.S. Supreme Court — check 
  2. Sipping cocktails at the Columbia Room.
  3. Catching a movie at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.
  4. Dinner at Bad Saint — check (read about it here)
  5. Visit the Society of Cincinnati and Lars Anderson House.
  6. Watch the planes take off and land at Reagan National Airport from Gravely Point — check
  7. Catch the Caps practice at the Kettler Iceplex — check
  8. Meander through the lush grounds at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden — check (and during Cherry Blossoms season which was absolutely gorgeous!)
  9. Go on a hike in Rock Creek Park — check (though I’d like to crush it from top to bottom like this Washingtonian article recommends.)
  10. Have drinks at The Tombs in Georgetown.

So 6 down, 4 to go with 7 weeks left in 2016! I think I can do it!! 

Crossing Off Bad Saint From My DC-To-Do-List

When I added Bad Saint to my 2016 DC-To-Do list in early January the tiny Filipino eatery in Columbia Heights was already quite the popular destination for local foodies. Grabbing a seat at the tiny 25-seats restaurant required a some advance planning (or luck!) since it has a strict no reservations policy. Then came national recognition. In September, Bon Appétit magazine gave Bad Saint the # 2 spot on its Hot 10 list of best new restaurants in America. Michelin inspectors took notice as well and a few weeks ago included Bad Saint in its Bib Gourmand list of worthy yet affordable restaurants in DC’s very first edition of the guide (you can see a full list here). Not the greatest timing to decide to cross it off my list 😉

By 5:30PM the line for dinner at Bad Saint went down the block

By 5:30PM the line for dinner at Bad Saint went down the block

But you know what, I’ve made some questionable choices about my time lately, including waiting 3 hours in line for Hello Kitty themed macarons, so I figured, what’s one more line, especially if there’s fabulous Filipino food at the end of it right? And so I headed to Columbia Heights yesterday, armed with a good book and some mosquito spray. I got there around 3:50PM, which was a bit later than I had meant, and almost didn’t get a table for the first seating at 5:30PM. Luckily, around 5:45PM, my dining companion and I were shown to two uncomfortable stools at a narrow counter facing a mirror and near the exit. Not the greatest seats in the house though the dim space filled with photographs and knick-knacks is otherwise fairly cosy. A bit crammed, but cosy. Co-owner Genevieve Villamora waited on us for part of the evening, providing attentive service and many welcomed explanations about the menu. 

The menu is separated in three sections: gulay (vegetables and salads), isda at iba pa (fish and more) and carne (meat.) Within each of these sections, dishes are organized by size and Genevieve recommended we order one to two dishes per person, depending on their size and how hungry we were. So we did. Here’s what we ordered, mostly from the vegetarian section. 

Kinilaw na pugita (octopus, fingerling potatoes, queen olives)

Kinilaw na pugita (octopus, fingerling potatoes, queen olives)

Ginisang ampalaya (bitter melon, farm egg, preserved black beans)

Ginisang ampalaya (bitter melon, farm egg, preserved black beans)

Like many of the diners that head to Bad Saint, I don’t have much experience with Filipino cooking. It’s not a cuisine I’m that familiar with, but I am familiar with good food, and good food I ate!! The ampalaya (the bitter melon salad with a farm egg and fermented black beans) was probably the only dish that didn’t wow me, though I found its unconventional flavours interesting. I loved the octopus and fingerling potato ceviche, though I would have loved a bit more olives in there. My grandmother is from Morocco, the land of olives, and I pretty much always want more olives. The Adobong Dilaw was like autumn in a clay pot and I can’t wait to have some of the leftovers tonight!
Ginisang tokwat (fried tofu, yu choi, sate oil)

Ginisang tokwat (fried tofu, yu choi, sate oil)

Adobong Dilaw (cauliflower, kabocha squash, tumeric)

Adobong Dilaw (cauliflower, kabocha squash, tumeric)

Since the menu changes frequently, you may not see these items when you visit, though I think the bitter melon salad and a version of the Adobong Dilaw are typically found (there was also a chicken version of the dish on the menu too.) I know Bad Saint doesn’t accept parties larger than 4 but I found myself wishing that I had come with more people. It’s not that my friend J.C. was bad company, it’s that there’s only so much we could eat and I would have loved to be able to order more dishes and explore even more of chef Tom Cunanan’s creative Filipino menu! 

 

Have you been to Bad Saint yet? Does its presence in the Michelin Guide make you more likely to go? I wanted to check it out well before Michelin and Bon Appétit took notice, but the release of the red guide definitely gave me that extra push to go and do the waiting in line thing. There’s a lot of other Michelin-starred or Bib Gourmand restaurants I want to try. Sadly, Minibar, Pineapple and Pearls and Kinship are not quite dining options for my budget right now, so I’m tackling the list from the bottom up, at least price wise, and starting with the Bib Gourmand I haven’t been to yet. So, Bad Saint: check. Bonus for crossing it off my 2016 DC-To-Do-List too. And Ottoman Taverna… you’re next! 

Celebrating DC’s First Michelin Guide at the French Ambassador’s Residence

Bibendum at the release party for DC's first Michelin Guide

Being invited to the French Ambassador’s Residence is always a treat… I’ve only been there a few times in my 13 years in Washington and I’m always elated when I have the chance to attend an event there. Last night was no exception, if anything it was more special than ever as Washington’s top toques gathered to celebrate the release of the District’s very first Michelin Guide. So. Many. Chefs. 

In addition to the 11 chefs who were awarded coveted stars in the red guide, representatives from the restaurants who were awarded Bib Gourmand last week as well as from those who were listed in the book were present. Who was left in DC’s kitchens last night? A lot of sous-chefs in charge 😉

DC's Michelin Starred Chefs

There are 107 restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide, including 19 Bib Gourmand, 9 one-star restaurants and 3 two-stars restaurants. The big winners from this first edition are Jose Andres and Aaron Silverman. At 34, the chef who made D.C. fall in love with a litchi and pork sausage dish is one of very people in the world to have both a one star (Rose’s Luxury) and a two stars (Pineapple & Pearl) restaurant. And he’s just getting started! Jose Andres also had a very good week, receiving two stars for his Minibar and a Bib Gourmand for pretty much all of his other establishments (Oyamel, China Chilcano, Zaytinya and Jaleo).

My favourite moment from last night’s event, other than sipping champagne among the who’s who of the Washington culinary scene — and getting my picture taken with Bibendum — was when Patrick O’Connor, the chef and proprietor of the two-star Inn at Little Washington said a few words as he accepted his recognition. At 71, he is twice Aaron Silverman’s age and had long lobbied Michelin’s to cover the city. “I am living proof” he said “that if you wait long enough your prayers will be answered.” Despite their insistence that they would only include restaurants from DC proper in the guide, I am so glad that the Michelin inspecteurs ventured out to Washington, VA. I’m hoping to make a trip out there soon, but until then, I’ll be combing through the guide (which shouldn’t take long, the D.C. edition is a mere 96 pages long, of which maybe 15 are ads for Michelin and maps) and picking out some new spots to try!

DC Michelin Guide

The first on my lists are all around where I live, and I can’t believe I eaten there yet: Ottoman Taverna (Bib Gourmand), Kinship (one star) and Chercher, a Bib Gourmand Ethiopian restaurant I hadn’t even heard of until the guide came out. Do you think the release of the guide will influence where you’re going to eat in the near future?

Premières Visites du Nouveau Musée d’Histoire & Culture Afro-Américaine

Ça y est! Le tout nouveau Musée National de l’Histoire et de la Culture Afro-Américaine (l’acronyme c’est NMAAHC en anglais) a ouvert ses portes au public samedi dernier à Washington. Et il les a ouvertes en grande pompe et circonstance,  avec l’ancien président George W. Bush, Barack et Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey et plein d’autres célébrités ainsi que deux jours de fête et de concerts sur le National Mall.
National Museum of African American History and Culture L’inauguration du NMAAHC c’est l’événement culturel de l’année ici… les billets d’entrée (qui sont gratuits d’ailleurs, comme ceux pour tous les musées nationaux gérés par l’Institution Smithsonian) se sont arrachés comme des petits pains en ligne. Il faut maintenant quasiment attendre jusqu’à janvier pour avoir des places. Heureusement, je m’y suis prise à l’avance et du coup j’en suis déjà à ma deuxième visite 😉 J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir le visiter juste avant son ouverture officielle, trois jours après l’inauguration et j’y retourne mi-octobre…. Un peu beaucoup? Non. Il y a plus 33 000 objets a découvrir sur presque 40 000 mètres carrés, donc je pense que j’aurais même besoin d’y retourner l’année prochaine, surtout que je n’ai pas du tout étudié l’histoire américaine  à l’école, donc j’apprends plein de chose à chaque fois!

En gros, le Musée National de l’Histoire et de la Culture Afro-Américaine propose un veritable voyage dans l’histoire des Etats Unis comme l’ont vécus les afro-américains. La visite s’organise chronologiquement au début et commence tout en bas, au troisième sous-sol du musée. C’est symbolique, bien sûr. Dans ces premières salles on revoit les épisodes les plus sombres de l’histoire Américaine: l’esclavage et la ségrégation… Cette partie m’a rappelé le Musée de l’Holocauste, qui est tout près d’ailleurs. On y voit des cartes retraçant le commerce des esclaves, des chaînes (dont des toutes petites pour enfants), des notes de vente et une cabane d’esclaves provenant d’une ancienne plantation de Caroline du Sud.
unnamed-27National Museum African American History and Culture

Un grand mur m’a fait particulièrement réfléchir: celui du paradoxe de la liberté. Derrière une statue de Thomas Jefferson on peut lire les noms de tous les esclaves dont il était “propriétaire…” lui, l’auteur principal de la Déclaration d’Independence qui décrit que tous les hommes sont nés égaux et sont doués par le Créateur de certains droits inaliénables; parmi ces droits se trouvent la vie, la liberté et la recherche du bonheur. Progressivement, on arrive à l’époque de la ségrégation et à la lutte pour les droits civiques. Là, il n’est pas rare d’entendre quelques personnes un peu plus âgés raconter leur propre experience pendant cette période et c’est extrêmement émouvant quand ils sont là en famille, avec leur enfants et leurs petits enfants, de les voir partager ces souvenirs difficiles qu’ils ont vécus personnellement. Cette scène de parents qui expliquent ce lourd contexte à leurs enfant se répète à travers le musée. Certains sont si jeunes qu’ils n’ont jamais connu d’autre président que Barack Obama, dont l’élection conclue d’ailleurs cette partie du musée. On sort enfin des épisodes les plus sombres de l’histoire américaine pour arriver aux plus glorieux.

Tuskegee Airmen Trainer Plane at the NMAAHC

Les étages supérieurs redonnent leur place aux contributions des Afro-Américains dans l’histoire militaire, le sport, les arts et la culture. Les thèmes précédents ne sont pas oubliés… la ségrégation et la lutte pour les droits civiques y sont encore mais on y célèbre surtout la réussite, les victoires, les premières historiques que ce soit celle de Josephine Baker, Alvin Alley, Spike Lee, Mohamed Ali ou des soeurs Williams. Et oui, d’Oprah Winfrey aussi… elle a donné plus de 20 millions au musée donc elle est un peu partout 😉

Oprah Winfrey's studio at NMAAHC A statue of the 1968 Olympics black power salute at NMAAHC

En dehors des expositions, il y a trois endroits que j’ai beaucoup aimé dans le musée. Le premier c’est une petite fenêtre cachée dans la section histoire militaire au troisième étage. Quelle vue! Attention, pour prendre la photo comme moi, il faut s’allonger par terre, sinon on coupe le haut du Washington Monument… 

The view from the 3rd floor of NMAAHC

Ensuite, c’est la cafétéria au premier sous sol, qui est en elle même un exposition à part entière puisque le menu retrace les contributions culinaires afro-américaine à la cuisine du pays. Enfin, un bon resto sur le mall 😉

Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich from sweet Home Cafe at NMAAHC

Le dernier endroit est un pièce dédiée à la contemplation, un endroit calme (assez dur à trouver d’ailleurs!) où on peut s’assoir et, bercé par le murmure d’une fontaine qui tombe du plafond, réfléchir un peu à tout ce que l’on vient de voir, au poids de l’histoire, à la situation actuelle qui est loin d’être idéale en ce moment. Bonus: ça fait une belle photo instagram aussi! 

Contemplation room at NMAAHC

Le musée est déjà un énorme succès avec plus de 28,000 visiteurs en quelques jours… Si vous ne vous êtes pas pris comme moi au mois d’août pour réserver vos places gratuites, il faudra vous armer d’un peu de patience… et d’un bon réveil. Tous les matins, des places seront mises à la disposition du public à 9:15. Une fois toutes distribuées, il vous faudra revenir le lendemain. Donc surtout là au début je conseillerai d’y aller assez tôt! Sinon, les reservations pour janvier-fevrier s’ouvriront le lundi 3 octobre à 9 heures du matin. Après vous pouvez aussi juste apprécier l’architecture extérieur du musée, il est superbe aussi… mais bon, si vous pouvez visiter, c’est mieux tout de même! 

Le Monde calls DC the “new empire of cool”

Every year, some 1.6 million French tourists visit the United States. Most start in New York and visit Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Some may venture out to Florida, especially if they have kids, New Orleans, Boston and Philadelphia. Washington, DC doesn’t get a ton of love though that might all change thanks to a recent article in Le Monde, one of France’s leading newspaper. The article, published in the travel section of M Le Mag, gushes over the District, going as far as labeling it the “new empire of cool.” 

Le Monde appelle Washington, DC le nouvel empire du cool

So what makes DC so cool now? In a nutshell: a restaurant scene worthy of getting its own Michelin guide, gentrification and the Obamas. “With its institutional, even boring, reputation, the U.S. Capital is changing gear” begins the article, “and dreams itself a rival to New York City thanks to new gastronomic restaurants and gentrified neighbourhoods.” Yep, even in French articles we have to reminded that we are not New York (though obviously we want to be right?) and there are references to the city throughout the article. The decor at Maketto, for example, reminds you of a New York loft. the upcoming hotel The Line is “signed by the Sydell Group — who, in 2012, woke up a few blocs of Manhattan by opening the NoMad Hotel.” Forbes naming D.C. “the second coolest city in the US” in 2014 means we’re “taking our revenge on our exuberant neighbour New York.” Nevermind that we’re really not as obsessed with New York as everyone seems to want us to be… or that Forbes actually ranked us in the top spot on that list, not runner up 😉 

In addition to New York City, the author name drops Barrack and Michelle Obama quite a bit too. Rose’s Luxury? It’s where Barrack Obama celebrated his 54th birthday last year! Maketto is a big hang out for “local hipsters, as well as the First Lady.” And Michael Schaeffer, editor of the Washingtonian is quoted saying that «the Obamas have undeniably contributed to the changing perception of the city, more cosmopolitan, more creative. Especially since they frequent local businesses and restaurants instead of staying enclosed in the White House.” I guess on that last note he does have a point… 

Rose's Luxury's Pork Lychee Salad

The outdoor courtyard and deck at Maketto

OK, so I moved from Paris to Washington, DC 13 years ago and yes, I’ve definitely enjoyed the way the district has evolved since. I don’t know that I’d call it the new “empire of cool” though. What’s interesting is that the article, which appeared in the newspaper’s travel section, brushes aside all of the city’s museums, sights and other historical attractions to focus pretty much exclusively on our shopping and dining scene. Sorry National Mall 😉 So who got singled out by the article? 

union market

Rose’s Luxury gets an early mention, of course, and the author also spends a considerable amount of ink on H Street NE further north and Erik Bruner Yang’s Maketto (“an on-point men’s fashion boutique, trendy coffee shop and Asian restaurant frequented by locals hipsters as well as the First Lady“), cocktail bar Church and State and local vintage boutique Nomad Yard may see an influx of French tourists following glowing mentions. The article highlights the current duality found in many DC neighbourhoods today, with family owned African American businesses cohabiting with a new generation of businesses. That, the author argues, is fully on display near Union Market, as well as Shaw or U Street. In the neighbourhood “once known as Black Broadway … people now go buy pillows at Salt & Sundry or eat at Le Diplomate, an Americanized version of a French bistro.”  The author’s words, not mine, though she definitely sums up perfectly how French expats here feel about the 14th street restaurant. Further up, Adams Morgan get a mention with the Line Hotel as well as its walls “dressed by colourful murals from (street) artist Aniekan.” SO glad he gets a mention!! 

D.C. mural artist Aniekan Udofia was commissioned by American Express to paint this mural in Adams Morgan

D.C. mural artist Aniekan Udofia was commissioned to paint this mural in Adams Morgan

So, DC… new empire of cool? That might be a bit much but I love that the article highlights parts of the city that may not usually get a love of love in travel guides or articles. There is more to DC than the mall and Georgetown (Hu’s Wear does get a mention as a good place to go shopping.) It’s nice to see that come through for once in a travel article. And if I start hearing people people speaking French next time I’m dining at the Dabney, I’ll know why 😉

If you can read French, here is a link to the full article in Le Monde’s M Le Mag. 

 

 

 

Happy Watermelon Day!

Rather than give you a French inspired recipe using summer’s most refreshing fruit, pastèque, I give you one of the most colourful house in Washington, DC and one of my favourite piece of street art in the city: the Watermelon house!!

DC's Watermelon House

The row house is located at 1112 Q Street near Logan Circle. Its exposed side has been painted in pink and green to resemble a has a watermelon slice, complete with seeds. Story has it all started with a bad paint job and since everything I know about Logan Circle’s famed Watermelon House I know from this Washington Post article, you can read all about it there too.

Oh, and if you really want some recipes, I do have two super refreshing ones for you right here.

Bonne journée de la pastèque!! Are you celebrating?

Pokéball Doughnut – Gotta Eat ‘Em All !

Have you been roaming the streets of Washington searching for Pikachu? I returned from Paris to find that Pokémon Go had taken the United States by storm (and of course promptly downloaded the app as well). Over the past week, small business owners and restaurants around the city have been trying to cash in on the popular augmented reality game, advertising their status as Poké Stops, enticing shoppers and dinners by setting up lures  and, of course, coming up with pokemon inspired drinks and food. Duffy’s Irish Pub near U Street has been particularly keen on all fronts offering Pokémangorita, lures, free wifi and phone chargers.

Duffy's Irish Pub

Meanwhile, ever one to give into fads, I made my way to Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken over the weekend to catch one of their pokéball doughnut, a vanilla based cake with a raspberry red and vanilla white glaze. It’ll be available for $2.65 in their stores (downtown DC and Falls Church) throughout the month on weekends, and, bonus, I even caught a Bulbasaur on the way there!! 

pokeball donut from Astro Doughnut in Washington DC

Now I enjoyed this donut, but you know what else is delicious and looks like a pokéball? That’s right, a macaron! I mean, you could make all sorts of pokemons too…  just saying… hint hint all you macarons shops in town 😉 

New Chinese Zodiac Sign Crosswalk in Chinatown

What’s your Chinese Zodiac sign? I’m a goat, personally, and loved spotting my sign’s symbol at the intersection of 7th and H streets NW in Chinatown. 

Goat chinese zodiac sign at the intersection of 7th & H streets in Washington, DC

Six years ago, that busy intersection got a little more interesting when it became a “barnes dance” crosswalk (also known as pedestrian scramble) meaning people could cross it in every direction, including diagonally, at the same time. Now the diagonal section of the crosswalk was just enhanced by a permanent two-dimensional artwork featuring colourful dragons — Chinese dragons of course, because the city tries *very* hard to give its Chinatown a semblance of Chinese identity 😉  

Barnes' Dance Crosswalk in DC's Chinatown

Zodiac Sign on the crosswalk in DC's Chinatown

The installation was done by Alternative Paving Concepts, based on a design by Charles Bergen, a DC-native and Yale educated architect turned full time artist who is responsible for a few public art features around town, including one of the Alphabet Animal Art Project aluminum plate in Capitol Hill (the Capitalsaurus is chasing a Falcarius across F and 1st Streets SE). He won the commission from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to paint the intersection to be more distinct and unique. The dragons allude to the Chinatown’s history of hosting an annual parade for Chinese New Year, which features a traditional Dragon Dance. What do you think of it? I’m a fan of anything that brings a little colour to the city… whether on walls on streets 😉 

Pow! Wow! D.C. – Murals in Progress in NoMa

Famed Los Angeles-based French street artist Mr. Brainwash recently painted an awesome mural on the wall of Union Market (read more about it here) and was quoted saying that he’d be back in the District because “Washington, D.C. needs it,” having so many “blank walls that could have messages for people to see life more beautifully.” Well, right now, a couple of blank walls in NoMa are getting some graffiti love as part of Pow! Wow! DC, a week long art festival. Most of the murals are still works in progress at this time, and Thursday night, I joined a (rather large) group of street art loving peeps for a walking tour of the neighbourhood led by local artist Kelly Towles who’s been spearheading Pow! Wow! here in the District. 

There are 17 artists currently working on 7 walls, many collaboratively. From the Lobby Project at 1200 first street NE we walked over to what looked like a shack on M to hear about how Pow! Wow! came to the city.  and to see the first piece, painted by Pow Wow Worldwide director Jeff Gress and appropriately themed for the city.

This DC themed mural is the work of Jeff Gress from Hawaii

This DC themed mural is the work of Jeff Gress from Hawaii

From there, it wasn’t far until the next wall, the  Crucible Wall by Cory Oberndorfer (a.ka. Sweet Uncle Cory) at 16 M Street NE. Why the Crucible you ask? Well, that was the name of the alternate lifestyles/BDSM Private Club that used to be in that building…  The club closed down recently (though it’s searching for a new home apparently) and the whole thing will be torn down soon so I wouldn’t wait too long to go check out Cory’s mural if I were you.

Kelly Towles explains the history behind the Crucible Wall in NoMa

Kelly Towles explains the history behind the Crucible Wall in NoMa

Just around the corner from the Crucible Wall at 42 Patterson Street NE is a large, colourful wall that was practically done by the time we saw it. Dave Persue (pictured below telling us about the piece) collaborated with Yok & Sheryo on this homage to Washington, complete with historical figures like president Lincoln and a tribute to standout D.C. graffiti artist Cool “Disco” Dan (Dan Hogg). 

IMG_1446

My absolute favourite wall was the absolutely trippy work done to the old Ibiza nightclub by Douglas Hoekzema aka HOXXOH. I cannot wait to see the final wall! It’s right on First Street (1222 First Street NE) and I’m petty sure that very soon it’s going to pop up ALL over my instagram feed. Check it out:

HOXXOH new mural on the old Ibiza building in Washington, DC

Douglas Hoekzema aka HOXXOH is a Miami based artist known for his striking murals that seem to mix art and science

IMG_1549

The next wall was just as striking but for completely different reason. It’s the tallest of all the murals that have come up as part of Pow! Wow! DC and uses a captivating bright pink-purple hue that’s impossible to miss. Drew Merritt and camera shy London based artist INSA teamed up for this beautiful large scale portrait.  

Drew Merritt and INSA collaborated on this large scale mural in North East DC

#IfIWasYourGirlfriend collaborative wall by Drew Merritt + INSA at 41 New York Ave NE

The next two walls were a little further away, closer to the tunnel you go under to get to Union Market. There’s a companion piece to the No Kings Collective mural at the Colonel apartments in Shaw, made with old go-go posters, coming up at the new Elevation @ Washington Gateway building. And then there’s a bunch of different pieces coming up on a section of the 900-foot Metro Branch Trail wall. Local artists Decoydc, Matt Corrado, OneEightyOne (pictured hard at work below) and Jacob Eveland were hard at work on different sections of the wall when we walked by. I’ll definitely go back and take more pictures of all the different parts once they are completed!

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Finally, there were a couple of smaller scale pieces that weren’t included on the walk. Puerto Rican artist Vero Rivera is working on a cool illustration behind the 52 O Street Studios. There’s also a Yoda themed garage door mural by Wooden Wave that I didn’t get to see (yet!)  We did make one last stop to see two final pieces a little tucked away from the other ones, on walls above a parking lot at 1215 3rd Street NE. 

I love a girl who can rock a wall, and Hong Kong based Caranotoes is doing just that! 

Caranotoes from Hong Kong talking about her mural at 3rd street NE

Caranotoes from Hong Kong talking about her mural at 3rd street NE

IMG_1546 IMG_1547

Right next to her wall, DC-Based Artist Naturel is working on perhaps one of the most political piece of the lot. Artists participating in Pow! Wow! DC were specifically asked to refrain from controversial topics since there was quite a bureaucratic process involved in getting authorization from the city to use the walls, etc. He’s currently working on his interpretation of the upcoming Harriet Tubman $20 bill, which is more of a political statement than a political controversy. 

Are you as excited as I am about all these new murals in NoMa? Washington hasn’t had a large scale murals festival, yet, and I loved that Pow! Wow! DC brought in some international muralists from all over the world, while still showcasing some of the best local street artists from around the DMV. As I mentioned, most of the pieces I saw on Thursday, May 26, were still work in progress and if you want to check out the final works, there will be one more artist-led organized happy hour and walk on June 2nd. You can also do your own walk by using the Pow! Wow! DC map on NoMa Bid’s website. I know I will as soon as I’m back from Los Angeles in a few weeks!

 

Postcard from the District: Mr Brainwash Mural at Union Market

You know the first lady is pretty cool when you find out about new murals from her instagram feed 😉

Michelle Obama and Mr Brainwash at Union Market

 

Michelle Obama marked International Women’s Day and the first anniversary of Let Girls Learn, a U.S. government initiative aimed at educating girls around the world, at Union Market. She was joined by famed Los Angeles-based French street artist Mr. Brainwash, who had been commissioned by The Girls Lounge to do a mural on the theme of women education.  The murals are full of colorful hearts, similar to the bleeding hearts/love wall graffiti by James Goldcrown, portraits (including renderings of Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein) and inspiring slogans like “Life Is Beautiful,” “Follow Your Heart” and “Love Is The Answer.” 

Mr Brainwash Mural at Union Market

Laetitia Brock at the Union Market Mr Brainwash mural

Mr Brainwash Mural at Union Market

 

 

 

 

 

Union Market Celebrates International Women's Day with Michelle Obama and Street Artist Mr. Brainwash; Photo Credit: Gary Williams

Union Market Celebrates International Women’s Day with Michelle Obama and Street Artist Mr. Brainwash; Photo Credit: Gary Williams

Unfortunately, some of the art is already gone, like Einstein’s legs or the bottom half of the Life is Beautiful pink heart above.

Thierry Guetta, aka MBW, was quoted saying that he’ll be back in the District because he feels that “Washington, D.C. needs it.” I agree! Apparently, we have many “blank walls that could have messages for people to see life more beautifully.” Again, I agree and I can’t wait to see more of his murals pop up all over town!!