Real “democracy” has always been a struggle. “Shayfeen.com” (“We’re Watching You”) was a film brought to my attention in 2009 following the last elections in Egypt. Can we connect the dots between then and now?
Note: This post has been updated to correct the spelling for the documentary.
Robert L. Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, a lobbying group, said in an interview on Monday that the arts provide 5.7 million jobs in the United States that generate about $30 billion in taxes, nearly $13 billion of which goes to the federal government. “If they’re serious about jobs and they’re serious about income, they would invest more in the arts,” Mr. Lynch said.
Like the President’s State of the Union, it appears the poll reflects strong support for home-grown domestic spending.
State of the Union
President Obama’s weekly address, “We Can Out-Compete Any Other Nation,” was a preview of his Tuesday State of the Union speech. Thank goodness the snow didn’t come until today. Perhaps that’s as much weather fact as metaphor when it comes to politics on the Hill.
BTW not only are we about to be deprived of bus service, and electricity in spots in this wintry wetland, the radio station just went off the air. Can we Out-Compete something as simple as snow?
The White House didn’t depend on carriage to get the message out this year. There was a central on-line command center of senior White House Officials answering questions. President Obama does his own YouTube Q&A tomorrow at 2:30 PM. You can vote on the top questions.
My interest in state dinners are all about details: protocols, attire, guest list, entertainment, menu. I’m collecting a little data from last night’s dinner honoring Chinese President Hu Jintao.
First Lady Michelle Obama looked FABULOUS
This dress outshines everything on the red carpet of the Golden Globes Sunday. (IMO)
House Alexander McQueen produced this stunning gown. The hands on-designer is creative director Sarah Burton. From a cultural perspective, the color was perfect – red, symbol of fire, courage, the south, fortune, success, passion, fertility, happiness. Red is good. Red is great! Red looks fabulous on the First Lady.
Blurb from NY Times Cathy Horyn: Made for the McQueen’s 2011 resort collection, the style originally came with short sleeves, which Mrs. Obama evidently had altered to suit her taste. Most of all, her choice had a just enough pomp to signal the importance of this state dinner.
UPDATE: This just in from Robin Givhan, now culture and style editor for The Daily Beast/Newsweek. Robin is settling into her new job after 15 years as fashion editor for The Washington Post where she became the first fashion journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Robin published her first article for today’s The Daily Beast. And I’ll quote:
In Mrs. Obama’s considered fashion message, her full-skirted dress, from a British design house worn in celebration of a Chinese president, struck a blow for creativity. In grand and sweeping terms, one could argue that it symbolized the ability of a designer’s imagination to cross borders, connect different cultures, and ultimately express itself in a singular moment of beauty.
Yes, those are human rights protesters you hear outside the White House gates. I guess that gave the Chinese president a little taste of our “free speech” customs.
It’s no accident that Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and designer Vera Wang (who has design houses in China) were on the guest list. Part of the talks included intellectual property issues. Fashion, IT and entertainment have been the commercial victims of China’s casual acquaintance with copyright, especially when the country’s national appetites for designer labels and the latest media gadgets and block busters are on the rise with a growing consumer class.
Two former U.S. Presidents were guests: Jimmy Carter and William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton (the Secretary of State’s date).
But this didn’t deter American business tycoons from attempting to get an audience with President Hu even if the Speaker of the House John Boehner declined attending the state dinner in favor of a meeting with Chinese president on his “Hill turf. Afterwards, President Hu goes to Chicago.
Dinner was in the Blue Room of the White House.
The official menu from the official program (interesting reading):
Surf-and-Turf, pears, spinach. This suspiciously resembles the Food & Folklore menu I posted yesterday. Hmmm.
A few weeks ago a friend sent me a link to an article published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The title was “The Newly Complicated Zora Neale Hurston” authored by two professors Glenda R. Carpio and Werner Sollors of Harvard University. My first thought was what makes Zora complicated? Zora doesn’t start with a swash-buckling “Z” for nothing.
Apparently, scholars have started digging into the writing to discover that Zora was a city girl. Well, yes, she left Eatonville, Florida and took up residence in Baltimore, Washington, DC and New York. Nothing complicated about that. The authors discovered a photo of Zora in the Ritz-Carlton at the table with the Harlem Renaissance heiress/philanthropist and “It Girl” A’Lelia Walker (daughter of Madame C.J. Walker); unpublished stories with city themes and characters. It’s suggested the field may have been too crowded on the urban theme among the “Nigerrati” (as she and Wallace Thurman referred to the artistic Negro intellectuals of their day). So Zora’s stories went south to the folk she grew up with; to Eatonville. But that didn’t deter her from kicking up her heels under the city lights:
“What do you think I was doing in Washington all that time if not getting cultured. I got my foot in society just as well as the rest.”
“So I came to New York through Opportunity, and through Opportunity to Barnard.”
That’s why this month Eatonville Restaurant‘s Food & Folklore is pulling back on the fried chicken and pulling out the Oysters Rockefeller for a “Zora in the City” themed event hosted by Zora’s niece Lucy Anne Hurston. This is an opportunity to ask a member of the family just how “complicated” Zora really was in the urban setting. Did Zora have a shoe fetish? Why were her parties the place to be? Did her Shrimp and Okra have anything to do with it? Or Zora’s homemade gingerbread?
Surf-n-Turf will be the main entree for the Eatonville event. Though Zora’s DC residency coincided with her studies at Howard University, she did do a bit a waitressing at the exclusive Cosmos Club. But you don’t have to be a member to be with Zora in the City.
WHAT: “Zora in the City” Food & Folklore with guest host Lucy Anne Hurston WHERE: Eatonville Restaurant, 2121 14th Street, NW WHEN: Sunday, January 23 at 6:30 PM COST: $45 plus tax and gratuity. Tickets available at this link. Or call 202-332-9672
Prix Fix Menu – Prepared by Eatonville’s Executive Chef Garret Fleming:
– Passed hors d’ouevres – Oysters Rockefeller and BBQ lamb sliders – accompanied by a special themed drink;
– Chilled Iceberg Wedge Salad with thick cut bacon lardons, avocado, cherry tomato, buttermilk dressing
– (Surf and Turf) Grilled Filet served with truffled au gratin potatoes layered with caramelized onions, pomme soufflé crisp; Jumbo shrimp stuffed with lump crab and crawfish, sauce Béarnaise and veal jus, Mediterranean spinach;
– “Jump-at-the-Sun” Upside-Down Pear Gingerbread Cake
Food & Folklore is the grand finale to Eatonville’s Zora-Fest, the month-long birthday celebration of “everything Zora.” Check their website for other food/drink events and specials.
Based on this trailer, this looks like an important film. I remember back in the day when people pronounced Muslim as “Mooz-lum” and family members would get a bit grumpy about someone changing their name and taking a pass on the pork.
In the bigger picture, the filmmaker is being deliberate about how people mis-interpret, mis-pronounce and sometimes stay willfully mis-informed. “Mooz-lum” is written and directed by Qasim “Q” Basir and produced by Dana Offenbach. Danny Glover, Nia Long, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Evan Ross round out the cast.
Here are the top ten cities (each with under 4,000 votes to date). It’s an interesting snapshot.
1. New York City metropolitan area
2. Chicago metro area
3. Atlanta metro area
4. Los Angeles metro area
5. Philadelphia metro area
6. Detroit metro area
7. Toronto ON
8. Houston metro area
9. San Francisco metro area
10. Dallas metro area
Maybe I’m clueless, but I’m a bit surprised Washington, DC is #11 after Dallas.