I’m still catching up on sleep from my visit to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, but I just posted about the most incredible event of the weekend, the Societé de Sainte Anne parade on Intelligent Travel. My dear friend Susanne put this video together, so I’m watching it over and over again in an attempt to escape the dreary weather in Washington. Catch the entire series of Mardi Gras Moments, which I’ve been writing all month, here.
Archive for February, 2009
I just mailed out a half dozen Valentines this week in my attempt to keep the post office afloat, but then I found these lovely Valentine’s Day postcards on the Kate Spade website. Send one to your sweetie… or the favorite ‘stach in your life.
New York versus the District: Anybody that knows me knows that I’ve been having this internal argument with myself on regular basis since I moved here. So when I was asked to actually quantify the benefits of both cities – in the form of New York Mag’s 100 person poll (that’s 50 New Yorkers, and 50 D.C.-ites) – I took the bait, and stood out in the cold to do some old-fashioned man on the street reporting.
Things I learned: D.C. people are way friendlier when you ask them to fill out a poll. D.C. people have not really seen that many celebrities. The overall feeling of the city is optimistic. Far more people than I anticipated are not feeling like they’re overwhelmed with debt (gulp). For the full results, complete with great comments from the poll-takers (my favorite: “I saw Matthew Broderick having a celebrity sighting of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Matthew looked stoked.”) go here.
All of the talk about the economy tanking is depressing, so I prefer to look at greatness instead. One of the most fantastic things to come out of the first Great Depression (as Jon Stewart likes to call it) were the Works Progress Administration (WPA) posters that were designed to keep the public’s spirits high in the midst of our country’s lowest depths. Roosevelt created the posters through the Federal Art Project, and ReadyMade magazine did a fantastic tribute to them in their Dec./Jan. issue, asking contemporary artists to create their own posters based on the original designs.
American art has never been so liberally supported by government as it was during the critical years between 1933 and 1943. The FAP served a dual purpose: It gave unemployed artists work while demonstratively branding the virtues of the nation through rousing mass communication. The WPA Poster Division was mandated to promote the cultural and social programs that FDR’s administration took great pains to foster. The posters supported hygiene, education, sports, vacations, conservation, community, theater, dance, and music; they cautioned about workplace safety and venereal disease.
WPA artists turned to an early form of universal symbolism that involved a streamlined variant of artmoderne (or art deco), a hint of Russian constructivism, a smattering of cubism, and a dose of surrealism that gave the posters the aura of timely modernity.