After Hours at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Seeking to infuse a bit of culture to my Friday night, I headed out to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum for an after-hours celebration of the new Irving Penn exhibit thrown by Bright Young Things.  It was the first time I had attended an event in the stunning museum courtyard, the beauty of which was accentuated by well-placed ambient lighting.  If you have any excuse to attend an event there, take it immediately! The myth of DC as an gray fashion-less wasteland was laid to rest by all the elegantly glad attendants, whose chic attire reminded me, yet again, that I have no idea what I’m doing.


DC’s cocktail scene was out in force with Zentan, Daikaya, the Riggsby, Tico, McClellan’s Retreat, Barmini, and Espita Mezcaleria participating.  The demand was heavy so I wasn’t able to get to all of them before supplies ran out, but I did snag some interesting drinks including the “Aviation” cocktail from Barmini, a mix of gin, lemon, crème de violette, and maraschino that yielded a good, slightly bitter taste with a nice citrus echo.  Zentan offered “Lillian Gish Lips” with rum, lime, vanilla shrub, tiki bitters, and coconut foam; this was actually very strong, lush, and challenging (I noticed some less veteran drinkers gave up half way through) but I liked its unique flavor.  I grabbed some good punches and a Mai Tai from (I believe) Daikaya, and stared at the remnants of Mclellan’s Retreat’s spooky, smoky drink.  I wasn’t able to grab newcomer Espita Mezcaleria’s “Espita Copita” but a friend praised it to the stars.


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I wasn’t that familiar with Mr. Penn’s work and don’t have much experience with photography as art, but I’m glad I took a hour after the drinks and revelry to tour the exhibit.  I was just struck by the ethereal, stark beauty of many of the shots, particularly his treatment of women sipping wine and children with herd animals.  It was really a treat, and I’d recommend novices give the exhibit a try.  A lively and enlightening evening!


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