Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

The Obama Concert at the Lincoln Memorial January 18, 2009 Part One

January 23, 2009

So I went down to the pre-inauguration festivities at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday ( January 18, 2009) as I wanted to be a part of history ( and it goes without this writing that to witness such events sometimes you have to travel into them).

Luckily, at onetime I resided in the District of Columbia and with that foreknowledge I made a strategic decision to drive in.  This personal vehicle of deployment was oppurtune for by arriving early enough there was parking on the  street which runs besides the mall right by the National Gallery of Art’s famous I.M Pei designed east wing .  Also just upon Our arrival (again with my freind Neil Stevenson) the rehearsal run through for the inaugural swearing in was taking place at the South end of the capitol.

Change has Finally Come

Then after walking over to watch the run through and listen intently to a tape of John Williams’ composistion “Air and Simple Gifts”  ( written just for the occassion and performed later at the actual event by Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma , Anthony McGill, and Gabriel Montero) and then stops at the National Arboretum and the Museum of the American Indian.

At the American Indian Museum we had a lunch of beat salad , some type of Native American sweet potato pie,  green chilli soup, and Washington state wild salmon.  Then it was down to the concert  for the next course which was musical and the wait of course was worth it.  Meanwhile throughout the day the people watching was excellent cowboys mozying in ten gallon hats and tight fitting levis, yokels from the provinces saying by the medicinal plants in the botanic gardens “as you said it is better to kill it than to cure it”  ,  and soldiers with anti-aircraft missles ready at the base of the Washington monument (itself upon a summit).

Security

Biden and Obama appeared monarchy style ( though with families in tow) as a military trumpet corps played  Richard Strauss’s “Also  Spach Zarathutra”  better known as the theme from “2001 A Space Oddessey”.(and itself a musical adaptation of Fredric Nietzche’s  “Thus Spoke  Zarathutra”.  A stiff looking Bruce Springsteen was the first musical guest  singing “The Rising” with a gospel choir who did not seem to have had the time or he either with them to get into a smooth unison( though the Boss did finally seem to get his groove on by the time he got to the line about a catfish on his line and was right in tune withPete Seeger on the great sing-along  alternative national anthem “”This Land is Your Land” later on).

There was an endless stream-team of Hollywood actors up to talk and introduce the performers  and from this observor’s point of view the solo speakers were the best including Denzel Washington Jr. (with his beautiful voice) and Jamie Foxx who did a dead-on Obama imitation redux).    Tom Hanks meanwhile looked like he was reading script for the HBO television event this was while making no attempt to play it off for the crowd presently before him.  Though the Forrest Gump portrayer’s reading from Lincoln’s ‘Gettysburg Address” (which is chiseled into the memorial itself was as ever moving).

Close behind one performer I had never seen  Mary J. Blige ( in a pink suit which who looked well radiant against the classic marble of the monument )was another performer I had never seen lite rock giant James Taylor ( I’ve seen fire  and I’ve seen rain but I had never seen him) who was joined by Sheryl Crow and John Legend for ‘Shower the people you love with love. And for this number Taylor went electric with a green and white guitar strumming merrily to the embracing tune.

Not that long after the next performer was a John Cougar Mellancamp who finally set the crowd to rocking.  The hoosier whose name might read as a camp for large fruits who want to learn how to “hurt so good” of course sang little pink house and  seem to  nod to the lyrics which got him to give this song upon that day the nod “Well theres a young man in a t-shirt
Listening to a rockin rollin station
Hes got a greasy hair, greasy smile
He says: lord, this must be my destination
cuz they told me, when I was younger
Boy, youre gonna be president
But just like everyting else, those old crazy dreams
Just kinda came and went”…..

Up soon after was a blue bedecked Garth Brooks who as if part of a tabelaux was dressed to blaze into a flag pattern along with the choir dressed in red.  The singer was determined to kep the vast crowd rocking and opened with an abridged version of “American Pie” the Don Maclean  classic (which Neil said he “massacared” so it really was “bye bye Miss American pie”) followed bv his version of “Twist and Shout” (it felt like somebody really rich had rented out the Memorial for the worlds’ largest Bar Miztvah and Garth was the band).  But he is an enternainer and he entertained.

Soon after it was Stevie Wonder (yeah!) who was joined by Usher and Shakira for a rousing version of “Higher Ground” this alone was worth the trip) .  Then Samuel l. Jackson walked to the stage and introduced an Irish group who wrote song about Martin Luther King jr. and of course it was U2 and they broke out into “Pride/In the Nmae of Love” and the vast sea of people overflowing erupted.  Bono made his usual battle cry speeches and then he thanked the then still President-elect  Barack Obama for making the next song one of the campaign themes and on came “in the City of Blinding Lights” and its’ refrain “Oh you look so beautiful tonight”

The Scene at the Lincoln Memorial During U2's "The City of Blinding Lights"

and the closing salvo from Bono “Thank you America”.   Biden spoke at some point (its hard to remember) about the pirde and dignity of the American worker and later Obama about the his commitment to going forth with what he came to Washington to doas in ” the  theme of the day”We are one”).

Then Springsteen appeared again for what appeared to be the closer and introduced “the father of American folk “Pete Seeger and then went into “This Land is your Land” as we began to make our way back to the car and then “America the Beautiful’ wailed and I was no longer in sight of the stage or the video screens but heard it (later this itinerant blogger found out it was Beyonce making it the second time I had heard Beyonce without actually seeing her the other at the Venetian hotel/casino in Macau.).  Finally if there were a couple of performances he did  not describe this blogger was testing the medium and going after the highlights.

Voting and Back to Florida

November 5, 2008

So I had to vote and did so after eating breakfest thus just leaving enought time to get to the airport and go to Florida again. 

I saw the new Jet Blue JFK terminal which was more streamlined and less thematic than I would have thought though I did not really have the time to sample all the restaurants and I found the bars and coffee stands right in the seating areas at the gates amazing (though I try not to drink before or on flights any longer).  The flight on Jet Blue meanwhile was wonderful with a great variety of snacks and beverages and all those channels on the personal viewing screen (though headphones are a dollar I managed to talk myself into a pair for free).

I watched the election results come in until landing and got a toyota minvan as my rental (I have a toyota solara myself in New Yorkand after over a hundred and eighty five thousand miles though I have only driven it for over a hundred and fifty it is still like wow!).  I made it south from West Palm to Boynton Beach and found that the Catalina Holiday Inn during metamorphosis had become a Courtyard by Marriot (so goodbye Pete Rose Ballpark restaurant goodbye bases loaded French fries (oh jalapenos, melted hot cheese, sour cream, scallions, bacon bits-no good for me anyway but remembered fondly nevertheless- and yes there is another Pete Rose restaurant in Boca I will have to google as to whether it is still open).

Watched the election all night McCain of course is an admimarble man but hallelujah!….. Lets see what this country can do trying to do the right thing again (of course I am doing the writing thing again). Congratulations from this blogger to Barack Obama the President elect (and to be the forty fourth President of the united States).

I had a champagne in the courtyard lobby all spanish mission california contemporary red and yellow color schemed with silver starfish objets d’art and even a calcified alligator skull (teeth and all).

Also I must enter that last week finding the time to go to Broadway this itinerant blogger got to make use of the newly opened Times Square revamped TKTS pavillion….  and chose to see the fantastic restaging of Peter Schaefer’s Equus starring Daniel Radcliffe (of Harry Potter fame) and Richard Griffiths (from the History Boys) who (and lets be honest) should really shed a few pounds and stop smoking even if just for the sake of drama.  While it seems everybody older than I had seen the original Bway production with the very late Richard Burton I did not so being an Equus virgin it was an approached with much internal fanfare.

The staging while minimalist was fantastic especially the actors playing horses donning the metal masks hung overhead at the beginning of the play.  The acting was excellent and the interplay naturalistic. The ponyboys could have been in a Madonna video. Bravo!

The Next Day Friday Still in Florida

October 7, 2008

Again the next day Friday I had the day free and started it as has become my tradition by drinking three venti green ice teas unsweetened at Starbucks.  With a a whole day I thought I would definitley make it to South Beach before having to turn around to watch the debate in my hotel room in the Holiday Inn (and the hotel p.c was finally working by now).

I decided this time to visit the four for one combination outdoor world/ BASS Pro shop. Divers Direct/International Fishing Hall of Fame in Hollywood which I had wound up bypassing on my Seminole Hard Rock cafe hotel casino complex (all built on the proceeds of decades of bingo) trajectory the day before.  First however I had to cover my tracks and visit the gardens and greenhouse of the American Orchid Society (where I discovered the Bottle Nose Palm from Madagascar and the Chenille plant from Malaysia with a hot dark pink fuzzy streamer of a blossom among other varieties of flora too numerous to mention ).

When i got to the everything about the great outdoors complex tucked behind a Tri-rail station and adjacent to a Marriot Courtyard Hotel I chose to go to the International Fishing Hall of Fame where I caught the feature legnth documentary ‘Sharkwater” by the young Canadian Diver, photographer, adventurer, and shark savior Rob Stewart (who is in tip top no body fat shape and does a mean athletic free dive into the depths to swim with great predators).

Here I saw what seemed funny in Hong Kong (shark fin soup everywhere) unmasked as tragic (ninety percent of the worlds’ sharks have been killed in the last few years to provide this delicacy which the Chinese believe has curative properties).  Only two real havens for sharks remain (the Cocos Islands off of Costa Rica and the Galagapos) and even these are threatened.  This movie presents the evidence and the information and has begun to help to turn things around.

Afterwards this itinerant blogger had dinner at the Islamorada fish company restaurant (fried tuna in wasabi sauce), tried on a couple of thick wetsuits, saw a magnificent sunset, and turned around to watch the presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Made it back in time to watch the debate saw the opening slavos and fell asleep.  Then stayed up for Dancing with the Stars night three and then was off (as I have failed to mention) as I had at every morning and evening oppurtunity to loosen up my back muscles and thus breathing with the pulsating jets of the the hot tub and starlight as I did yoga moves in the aquatic atmosophere of the  swimming pool gazing up at the heavenly bodies.