Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bing Soo

I want to start a new feature on tasty treats in D.C. and its environs. Annandale, VA is home to this area's Koreatown which holds its head high next to its sisters in NYC and L.A. Koreans love savory, pungent, rich and delicious foods but we also love light, delicious, subtle desserts. Green tea, red bean, light cream filled cakes and pastries fill Shilla Bakery, a place that reminds me of Seoul every time I arrive there. Usually, I stick with a pastry or two but this time around I decided to take Yelp's advice and try the Red Bean Bing Soo -- a GIANT mound of shaved ice, topped with red bean, tiny bits of rice cakes, chunks of fruit, and milk powder. Yes, it sounds odd but it is really refreshing and delicious, like eating ball of clean snow and the combination of all the toppings really works. If you are not as adventurous, pick up an excellent piece of tiramisu or a Pinkberry-esque tangy frozen yogurt and a cup of coffee. I only wish they would open a Shilla in the city. It would be an amazing alternative to Cosi.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hip-hop, history, and high art

Kehinde Wiley, Triple Portrait of Charles I

The National Portrait Gallery, once best-known for staid presidential portraits, has luckily abandoned its former "must be dead for ten years" rule for sitters whose countenances gaze at us from the historic walls of the Old Patent Office Building. Any of you who have visited NPG since its reopening (along with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, housed in the same beautifully remodeled edifice) will have noticed its decidedly fresh approach to showcasing American portraiture. A prime example of this is the current exhibition "Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture."

Kehinde Wiley's huge, stunning portraits are a standout. His subjects emit hard, icy stares while being engulfed by frilly technicolor wallpaper that jumps out from the behind them and swirls life-like on the canvas.

Another artist not to miss is Baltimore-born Shinique Smith. The mixed-media installation No Theif to Blame looks like a graffiti piece, an overgrown garden, and a teenage girl's bedroom wall all at once. It is juxtaposed with the Nikki Givoanni poem "Not Just a Situation" and "honors the warrior women who have fueled me with their distinctive cries" according to Smith.

The exhibition, which also includes video, photography, and giant swaths of graffiti, is on view through October 26, 2008.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

La Casa Tonight


For those who feel like strapping on some ice skates and gliding up to Mt. P to enjoy some great inventive music from current/former DC people. The pic is from a great Mi Ami post on the Fader website.

3166 Mt. Pleasant St. NW, Washington, DC
Doors at 8 PM 6 dollars

Food For Animals
(MD / gladiators of sound, hip-hop, on tour in support of new album Belly)
Mi Ami
(San Fran / global sweat, endless rhythms, ex-Black Eyes)
(DC / classy dubtechno love)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Object Lust

Kaj Frank Decanter from Cantilever Modern

Most beautiful decanter from Cantilever Modern, a District-based, high-end, appointment only 20th century design store. Their offerings are all impeccable and amazing. Check out eBay store where you may score some better deals.