My standard reaction to most things American:
Every month, The Folklore Society of Greater Washington hosts an evening of American square dancing in St. Stephen’s Episcopalian Church near Columbia Heights. This is some good ol’ fashioned foot-stomping, rollicking, barn-shaking dancing, complete with a live band and caller. The caller was, after the fiddler, the most appreciated person in the room as everyone would otherwise have gotten completely lost between the many turns, lefts and rights and general hopping around in squares and circles.
Jolly dancers sitting down to receive instructions. Lovely blurry photo.
As a novice I quickly realised that the dancing experience became exponentially better better the older my partner was. So I made it a rule to only dance with men over 50. Then at least one of us would know what was happening and where we were going. My best partner was without a doubt a man in his early seventies. I think his name was Bill. Dressed in jeans and a white T-shirt with a red handkerchief in his back pocket, this old fox learned barn dancing at school in his native Maryland. And boy, did the man know what he was doing!
Our improvised barn reached boiling point and I stepped outside for some fresh air with Bill. This was on the 22nd of June, the night of the super moon and warm, gentle evening. Bill suddenly looked me square in the eyes and asked :”Can I take you for a spin?” nodding towards his motorcycle parked next to the church. High on dance-endorphins and moonlight I almost hopped on his bike, but, alas, reason stepped in and I kindly declined. I am not the kind of girl to go on moonlit bike rides with strange men. At least not when they’re in their seventies.
Some liquid courage for the shy stomper, served in a mason jar.
Boots that are made for dancing:
I carried on home solo and very very sweaty after the last dance and met two marines on the metro. We were going to the same pizza place so we chatted and compared our evenings. They had been to the cinema and seen the awful Man of Steel and were jealous of my dancing escapades. They were from Maryland and Virginia respectively and used to square dance back home. It turned out that they were both body bearers, meaning that when a soldier falls, they carry the casket to the funeral, wraps the flag, hands it over to the family and then shoots in salut. Thinking that this was a rather somber business to be in I quickly asked how long they were required to do that, as it in my mind seemed like something perhaps every marine has to go through to understand the importance of life, or something. They looked at me in chock and simply said: “Ma’am, it’s an honour”, i.e. this is their full-time chosen occupation. We chatted for a while whilst waiting for our pizzas and then I bid them good night.
The evening was far too beautiful to stay indoors so I called Brian to come and join me downstairs for some pizza on the moonlit benches. Reluctantly he dragged his ass downstairs and kept me company. The local DC cockroach population were of similar outdoor mood, and Brian did some improvised tap dancing on the aforementioned cockroaches during our evening stroll. Ah! Sweet, sweet summer memories!
Summer and Festival, perhaps the two most enjoyable words in the English language. Last May, a merry group of eight ventured to the Sweetlife Festival at the Merriweather Post Pavilion for some rain, music and mud. Once again I approached this excursion sleep-deprived and hungover (remarkable how often that happened in the US). That is what happens when you try to outdrink two US Navy Officers at a embassy intern party. Luckily there was coffee and excitements awaiting so I pulled myself together and seized the day
The day started off gloriously with sunshine and tailgating. However, it rather quickly became clear that Americans are not used to festivals, and as we entered the pavilion there were scores of people already passed out or vomiting at 2 pm (the gates opened at noon). There wasn’t either any of that amicable, cheerful ‘talk to random people’ atmosphere, but instead a rather uninterested and nonchalant feel to the whole thing. Perhaps it was because it was only a day festival and the majority of the crowd seemed to have just turned 18? There was simply no need for joyous frivolities with strangers. There was a strict dress code at the event: Hunter-boots, flowers in straightened hair, skimpy shorts and loose tops for the women and colourful sunglasses, tank tops with absurd messages such as YOLO, AIDS= CHOCOLATE and SWAAAAG, together with cool, floppy hair for the gents.
Yes, me and Angelica had the appropriate foot-wear as well. After having been laughed at at the parking-lot by our sandal- and flip flop- wearing companions, it was us who managed to keep or toes dry and mud-free by the end of the evening. Less of a fashion statement, more a practical solution drawn from previous festival-escapades. As the day progressed and the ladies bathroom turned into a swamp of questionable substance, I thanked myself for the choice of footwear.
The line-up was rather good with Solange Knowles, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Passion Pit, Kendrick Lamar and Phoenix.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs giving it all!
Love-birds being romantic.
Me, disturbing the love-birds. The rain-filled clouds were ominous at this point.
Yup. It started pouring. I bought a fancy see-through-parka for $10, very good investment it turned out.
After rain, there is sunshine! And then some more rain, and thunder, and then sun. Just general festival-schizo-weather.
Affection and beer keeps you warm. Beer got a bit watered-down by the rain though.
I had never heard of Kendrick Lamar before, so his gig was a great discovery. An absolutely amazing and humble performer, Kendrick engaged with his audience by being chatty and asking what everyone wanted to hear and telling little jokes and anecdotes. It was also amazing that as soon as he came on, there was a wall of weed-smoke fired up by all the people around us. Being white and middle-class in America is, after all, very tough.
Excuse me, do yo know where I can find… No? Oh. Ok. Thanks anyways.
One of the most important quests on American soil was to locate and consume the best burger. My mission reached a climatic success when I had a cheeseburger at The Good Stuff Eatery near Capitol Market. Juicy, succulent and perfectly balanced in flavours this bad boy was perfect! One of the things that was so perfect was the size, one could eat the whole burger, enjoy the fries frivolously and still be able to move at full capacity. Ordering the salted-caramel milkshake, however, was pushing the limits of my stomach. But I regret nothing! It was so very, ridiculously delicious!
All wrapped up in the best of America. Goodness, gracious me!
This establishment is a true DC-gem! After the excitement surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest had subsided (yes, I made my dear American friends watch this annual, visual mayhem) me and Mike went to the E Street Cinema midnight showing of The Big Lebowski. A cinematic masterpiece and no doubt one of the most relevant, and quotable, films of all time. This was my second time at the E Street Cinema and they are truly fantastic: cocktails, cult classics, fancy, and not so fancy, snacks. Mike ordered us some double, and very large, Caucasians (or White Russians as I call them) and we joined the rather rowdy audience for two hours of solid quote-along movie history.
Mike is a bit Camera-shy and refuses to participate in any cinema-selfies. He is not shy to drinks though, which made the movie experience even better. There’s a good boy.
I learned a few fun facts before the film started: the movie actually did terribly at the US box office and have only over the last couple of years risen to cult status, and it is based on work by Raymond Chandler. Now you know.
Apart from showing fun, and slightly silly, classics such as Batman (Tim Burton version), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (complete with live performers) and The Sound of Music, The E Street Cinema also shows the latest releases from Tinseltown. Not that I would abide to such commercialism, for those who know me know that I prefer Danish existential dramas from the 1930s. However, exceptions are made when one can join the other night owls of the city, sip cocktails and contemplate the importance of having a good rug.
My exact reaction as I entered the flat when Syracuse was playing:
Although I must admit that I, to a certain extent, understand the excitement: Young men in college running up and down a field wearing the equipment equivalent of a small stealth submarine is indeed a vision that rattles even the most steadfast personality. Yet, the combustion of orange, shouts and general commotion in the apartment made me fear for my life.. But hey! Happy days when there is football! I remember when me and Angelica went to New York and I saw a neon sign advertising the Super Bowl in 254 days and my immediate reaction was: What is wrong with these people? How can this sport be better than rugby? Than NORMAL football? Some small advise to all to-be US travelers: NEVER question the importance of football, it may well be the last thing that you do.
The title inspires several inappropriate jokes, which I will refrain from at this instance. One is, after all, a mature young woman who knows what is right and wrong in this world. Who am I kidding? The day I stop barking out indecencies and obscenities is the day I die! Hot n’ Juicy? Add in a bit of ‘bothered’ and you have your average Saturday night at 3 am.
Joking aside, this is not about the state of women near bar closing but rather a wonderful restaurant in Adams Morgan that Kara and I went to a few days before I left DC. They specialise in Crayfish in true Louisiana fashion, meaning: it’s spicy, it’s wet, it’s a lot of work. All in all a very intense food experience. We ordered one of their specials: Crayfish, Shrimp, Andouille sausages, corn on the cob and potatoes. All of it swimming in Hot N Juicy Special seasoning, strength: Spicy.
Kara rocking the bib-look. They keep it rather simple here, which is nice. You get the food in a plastic bag, get a bib, a roll of papertowel and a bucket to toss the shell in. Straight to the point.
It was delicious! Exquisite company and food, perfect for a warm summer evening.
Posing with the bag before the mayhem of sucking, ripping and devouring the poor creatures commenced.