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I spent the morning attending a networking event that was held at McLean Bible Church that ended at noon. Afterwards I decided to drive to Tyson’s Corner Mall mainly because I was just a few miles away and I don’t get to that mall too often so I decided stop there since I was in the area anyway.

I was last at that mall just a couple of weeks ago but I wasn’t able to take too many pictures because of the current problem with my smartphone camera.

For this latest trip to Tyson’s Corner, I decided to pack my older and heavier Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera. I made every effort to charge my battery the night before. So I arrived at McLean Bible Church and took the first couple of photos with my smartphone camera only to have it stop taking pictures while getting one of those dreaded “Camera Error” messages. So I switched to the Canon Digital Rebel and took photos of the church because it was the first time I had even entered a megachurch (you can read more about this in my last post) until the battery in that camera ran out.

So I drove to Tyson’s Corner Mall and left my Canon camera in the car. I decided to just take a chance with my erratic smartphone camera since it was at least fully charged.

Miraculously the smartphone camera started to work again. I was able to take a few pictures during my time at the mall, starting with this photo of some interesting looking cologne bottles.

What’s really cool is that Art Whino has a store in Tyson’s Corner. I still remember going to their original store at National Harbor. It’s pretty cool that they have expanded to a second location.

I was able to make a return trip to the American Girl Place, where I was able to take the photos that I wasn’t able to take a few weeks earlier. The next photo shows the newest historical BeForever doll. Her name is Melody Ellison and she’s supposed to represent the 1960s. The way she wears her hair reminds me very much of the hairstyle that Marlo Thomas wore in the 1960’s TV series That Girl. My grandmother used to watch re-runs of that sitcom during the daytime while she babysat me (both of my parents worked outside the home during the day) so I have vague recollections of that series. (I haven’t watched it as an adult so I have no idea how funny or even good that series is. I haven’t heard that sitcom airing anywhere in years.) The doll was released last year but I haven’t been able to make it back to the American Girl Place to see her in person until recently.

Here’s Maryellen Larkin, who’s supposed to represent the 1950s, next to a pink refrigerator. I’ve seen real-life vintage photos of pink refrigerators and other pink appliances. (I read on one website that there was this popularity surge in pink items because it was First Lady Mamie Eisenhower’s favorite color.) I showed an American Girl catalogue featuring the pink refrigerator to my mother last year and she remembered when pink refrigerators were actually popular.

American Girl has decided to unveil a new line of modern dolls that aren’t the Girl of the Year, which means that the dolls in this line will be on sale for more than one year. The first doll released in that line is Tenney Grant, who’s an aspiring country singer and musician. (Think of a pre-teen Taylor Swift.)

This new line has also led to the official release of the first male American Girl doll. His name is Logan Everett, he’s Tenney’s closest friend, and he plays the drums.

The release of Logan Everett has been controversial. One pastor says that the Logan doll is American Girl’s attempt to emasculate boys. Some Native Americans are peeved because Logan uses a face mold that was originally designed especially for another American Girl doll—Kaya, one of the historical BeForever dolls who is also the only Native American character that has been released. The face mold with the closed mouth smile was designed especially for Kaya because her tribe discourages showing teeth when smiling. Using the same face mold for a white boy not only removes the cultural impact but it also implies that Native American girls like Kaya are more “masculine” than girls of other races and ethnicities.

Having seen Logan in person, I have to admit that I’m underwhelmed by him. He wears clothes that are reminiscent of the 1990’s grunge era but, otherwise, I’m not much impressed by him. He’s okay but he doesn’t strike me enough to consider saving $115 to buy him.

Tenney is cute but she doesn’t impress me enough to consider shelling out $115 for her. Although I do love her turquoise guitar with the cool white floral design motif. If American Girl wasn’t charging $34 for that toy guitar, I would seriously consider buying it for one of my other dolls.

There were other new dolls that I wanted to photograph but my smartphone camera started giving out that “Camera Error” message again. I tried rebooting the camera app and the entire smartphone itself but I still kept on getting that same message. At least I was lucky that I was able to take pictures of the various dolls before my smartphone camera app started to act erratic again.

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I went to downtown DC for the first time in a few months (lately I had been spending more of my time in the Baltimore end of the Baltimore-Washington, DC area). I found out that Art Whino is having its annual G40 Art Summit and I last went there back in 2011. (Which now seems like another lifetime ago, when I was still married, my worst problem was my ongoing left hip issues, and my husband and I haven’t gotten our first smartphones yet. There were no photos from the last G40 Art Summit I went to because I didn’t feel like lugging my heavy Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera with me.)

Three years and three smartphones later, I’m back at the G40 event and this time I took a lot of photos. As I was boarding the Green Line Metro at the Greenbelt station, I ran into a couple of people I know. They were on their way to attend the DC Veg Fest that was also being held that day and it was also held near the same Metro stop and in the same general area as the G40. The only difference was that when I left the Navy Yard Metro Station, I was walking in the opposite direction from where the bulk of the crowd were headed.

As I walked north from the Navy Yard Metro Station, I took this nice scenic cityscape where, if you look hard enough, you can see the U.S. Capitol Building in the far background.

G40 Art Summit

I eventually made it to the building where the event was held. This building is a former church that has been given an extreme makeover on the outside.
G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

I was greeted by a man at the front door who said that I should make every effort to check out the upper floor of this building. I took his advice and I went upstairs first. I can see why he highly recommended it.

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

The visual art was on the lower level of the floor and it was really interesting. While there were paintings that were traditionally painted on canvas, there were plenty of others works of art that were done on wooden skateboards, cardboard, vinyl toys, and even a Rubik’s Cube. The level of creativity at this show was astounding.

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

G40 Art Summit

When I was there that day, I noticed that I was one of only three or four other people who were there. When I spoke to the same man who suggested that I check out the upper floor just before I left, I mentioned to him that there seemed to be few people and I speculated that the DC Veg Fest must have taken the bulk of them. The man told me that there were not one but TWO festivals in the same place at the same time. The DC Veg Fest was the one that promoted veganism and it was being held at the Yards Park. The Capitol Bacon Festival was, as you can guess from the name, a celebration of eating bacon in everything and has a message that’s the complete opposite of the DC Veg Fest. The bacon event was held exactly one block away from the vegan event at the Half Street Fairgrounds and there was some media attention over this bit of strange scheduling.

I thought that sounded so hilarious that, as I walked the four blocks towards the Navy Yards Metro Station, I began to toy with the idea of making short appearances at each event and take a few photos. I didn’t plan on staying long at either event mainly because I was tired from doing all that walking and viewing the art at the G40 event. When I did a search on both festivals on my smartphone, I ended up scuttling that idea altogether. While the vegan event was free admission, the bacon event charged a General Admission fee of $25 and I balked at that. I felt that for the same amount of money, I can go to the nearest supermarket, buy several bacon slabs, and go on an all-bacon diet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next three or four days. I ended up skipping the vegan event while the next few photos that I took through the windows of the Half Street Fairgrounds (with some of the shots were set on Zoom) were as close as I got to attending the bacon event.

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I basically walked past the front gate where the bacon event took place (which you can see in the above photo) and took the next Metro train home.

By the way, the G40 Art Summit is opened weekends until October 4 and the admission is free. For more information and directions, click here.

Last Saturday Art Whino was holding a reception at its gallery at National Harbor and, as part of the festivities, it was offering a free drawing session with a live model. I decided to take Art Whino up on the free drawing session and I headed out with my drawing supplies.

There were a few minor snags on my way to the gallery. First of all National Harbor was full of traffic because it was holding a "Bourbon & BBQ Festival" that looked like it was very popular. I had to go way up to one of the top levels of the parking garage because it was so full of cars and I saw a very long line of cars waiting to leave the garage.

Once I found parking, I made my way to Art Whino. I had only been to that gallery one previous time so I walked over to where I thought it was located. Except there was a different store in the area where I thought Art Whino was located. I checked one of the street directories and Art Whino was still listed as being located where that different store is located now.

So I started walking from one end of Waterfront Street to the other in the hopes of finding Art Whino in a different location. I was unsuccessful so I decided to walk back down Waterfront Street towards the parking garage where I had parked my car. As I was walking, I briefly glanced down one of the side streets and I found Art Whino’s new location.

So I ended up arriving late but I found one empty seat so I took it. I did a bunch of drawings of the model while she did a bunch of poses in different outfits. Here are the results.

Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Model, Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011

Towards the end of the drawing session, the model’s two young sons came over and they became curious about what the drawings of their mother looked like. So I volunteered to show them my work and one of them said that he thought that they were good.

Unlike Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School (which prohibits photography at its events), Art Whino had no problem with people taking pictures of the model. So I pulled out my camera and took a few photos towards the end of the free drawing session. You can compare my drawings with what the model really looked like. The first two photos show the model on the right receiving instructions on which pose to make.

Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011

The model is hard at work.

Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011

A drummer is testing his equipment before providing the music for the evening while the model is doing her pose for the artists.

Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011

Here’s a close-up of the drummer.

Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011

Once the drawing session ended, I stuck around a little longer as I viewed the art on display and took a few more photos. The next few photos are of shelves full of customized urban toys. It’s amazing to see the creativity in creating and/or customizing unique vinyl toys.

Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011
Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011

Here are some drawing supplies that were provided for people who wanted to take part in the free drawing event but didn’t bring their own supplies.

Art Whino, National Harbor, June 18, 2011

As I was on my way back to the parking garage, I decided to take a quick photo of the Potomac River at twilight.

National Harbor, June 18, 2011

The one thing about National Harbor is that, with the number of upscale bars and restaurants, it draws enough cars on a Saturday night to create a traffic jam that resembles weekday rush hour on the Capital Beltway.

National Harbor, June 18, 2011

Even though the day was still cloudy from the long line of thunderstorms that have been plaguing the Washington, DC area for the last several days, I managed to see some pink during the sunset.

National Harbor, June 18, 2011

Last night my husband, who’s the treasurer at our Unitarian Universalist congregation, had to participate in the annual Board of Trustees retreat so I was on my own for dinner. I decided to check out this art show in downtown Washington, DC that had been going on for the last few weeks and last night was the final night for the entire show.

It was called G40: The Summit and it was amazing. There were three floors full of art ranging from abstract 3D installations to photography. I saw paintings that were done on skateboards, customized tennis shoes, customized toy train cars, and customized urban vinyl toys. I haven’t seen this much diverse art all gathered together in one place since Artomatic 2009.

Right now I really regret waiting until the last night before I even checked it out. That’s because, like Artomatic, G40 also features a diversity of live events ranging from movies to fashion events. I hope there’s a next time because I will make every effort to visit at least two times and I won’t wait until the very last day.

Art Whino, the art gallery responsible for G40 is having another event tonight at its main gallery in National Harbor that includes a free sketching session with a live model from 6-8 p.m. My husband is doing another day of the Board of Trustees retreat so I’m just going to leave dinner for him on the table, grab my drawing pad, and head down to National Harbor.

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