Monday, June 30, 2008

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2008

Click on pictures for more detail in the pictures.

Every year around the time of the Fourth of July Celebration on the Washington D.C. Mall the Smithsonian Museum hosts the National Folklife Festival. Each year's festival highlights at least one foreign country and one U.S. state. Last year's festival was outstanding. Northern Ireland, the four countries that border the Mekong River (China, Vietnam,Cambodia and Laos) and the state of Virginia were the themes for the food, music, dance and displays. This year's featured places all in some way have a connection to Texas the featured state for this year. Texas I assume was chosen as a tribute to President Bush's last year in office. I didn't know NASA was a country or state but it was chosen because of its 50 anniversary this year. And of course, it has a Texas connection with the Houston Space Center.
The one foreign country featured this year is the little known country of Bhutan which is wedged between China to the north and India to the south and which stretches from tropical jungles in the south to cold Himalayan mountain passes in the north. And if you want to go to a place in the U.S. to learn about Bhutan, go to the University of Texas at El Paso where all the campus buildings are built in the style of Bhutan Buddhists architecture. (Who knew! Not me!) In the pictures posted here you see the U.S. Capital and the Mall and a replica of a Bhutan Buddhist Temple. A brochure I picked up shows the campus of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with the same style of architecture. Kathleen Worrell, UTEP's first dean, had the campus's first building built in this style in 1917 and nearly all other UTEP buildings followed this style of architecture. The top photo shows a group of Bhutan dancers doing a skull dance. We also had the opportunity to see an antler dance and the Buddhist monks black hat dance.
The fifth picture down was taken inside the tent labeled the Texas Dance Hall. Jack and I were transposed in our minds back to 1975 when we attended the wedding of an army auditor at El Paso whose post wedding reception was held at El Paso's Red Dog Saloon. The two artists up on stage playing and singing are Lloyd Maines and Teri Hendrix. Lloyd Maines besides being a Texas country artist in his own right is now probably best known as the father of Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks who had a few strong comments to make about President Bush's invasion of Iraq when she performed in London in 2003. Final note. We try to attend the Folklife
Festival each year. On a scale of one to five stars I would give the 2008 festival four stars and the 2007 just five stars plus. Jack and I both noticed that while there were many local people and tourists in town for this annual event there seemed to be a lot less then in previous years. I think gas prices and food costs are having a big impact on tourism.


Anonymous said...

Your photography is, for this festival event, very nice and intereting for me to get a chance to see.

My son and I were in Washington when he was a senior in high school and he was in a competition for some awards in drawing and drafting and engineering.

While there we got to see many of the attractions and the museums.

But this was back in 1974 and much of the city was off limits after dark. We were warned not to leave the hotels at night and not to do much of anything unless we went in a certain cab and was picked back up by a certain cab.

We stuck to broad daylight adventures and the popular places.

The moat was sea green mostly with moss and duck week and there were a score and ten of little wagons on wheels selling everything from hot dogs to funnel cakes.

I didn't enjoy Washington, DC in those days as it reminded me of the occupation of Japan when soldiers walked everywhere with guns.

The city was crawling with police. I never saw so many.

I and still don't like the corruption in Washington.

But aside from all that, I assume things have changed over the past three decades.

Your photographs are nice to see because it does show scenes of peace, happiness and tranquility we never got to see. I didn't see a single police officer in your photos.

I enjoy trying to imagine what you were thinking about while looking through the viewfinder when you were snapping the pictures. What made you choose a particular location to stand where you stood—things like that.

Again, thanks for your visit to my blogs and for the comment there.

I do my best to repay visits with visits and comments with comments.

Abraham Lincoln
Brookville, Ohio

fishing guy said...

J&J: Looks like you got some great pictures even if you rated it lower this year.

Jack and Joann said...

First impressions of a city mean a lot to a person and if the first impression was negative, it is hard to erase that bad impression and replace it with a positive impression. Washington is like every major city in the U.S. in that there are safe sections and non-safe sections. And what is safe in the daytime may not be safe at night. People can and do have fun in D.C. and so much is free for them to enjoy. There is so much traffic on the mall now that it needs 100 million dollars in repairs I read the other day in the Washington Post. Thanks for stopping by here.

Wanda said...

Thanks for a most excellent tour...I enjoyed all the pictures.