Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Yesterday, I went to the Takoma Park Festival. To make sure I got there at a good time, I went to an early mass, came home, and put on some clothes suitable for the day, for it was a very hot day (indeed, it could have hit a record high). While I was there,  I decided I wouldn’t be able to stay for too long (I didn’t want to get heat stroke). So I went and watched various performers for a couple hours, and then returned home. The crowd this year was less than last, but that’s to be expected because of the heat. Yet, I expect more people would have gone after I left, so I might have missed the full turnout. 

There were some good acts, though the best this year was Radio Caroline:

While the theme of the song was odd, I thought the band had a really good sound to them. Indeed, I think they could go big if they wanted (and got the right people to promote them).


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Folklife Festival

I made my annual journey to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival yesterday. The highlight of this year’s festival is Bhutan (the other two sections at the festival were NASA celebrating their 50th anniversary, and Texas). Since I hope to make my way to Bhutan one day, I thought it was nice to see what they would like to highlight of their culture and way of life to Americans.

Much of it I already knew. Some of it I didn’t. One thing that really interested me was the history of their postal stamps. These were remarkable, and not what one would expected. While some actually pertained to Bhutan, many of them pertained to world history: from King Tut to NASA. They also had made 3-d postage stamps (in the 1970s). I never expected something like this.

I would say they had two central exhibits. One was the stage where they played music and did many of their dances. One which I found interesting was a monastic dance, The Black Hat dance. When I saw the hat, I couldn’t help but think they looked like Jesuit hats with a monstrance on top (of course it wasn’t).


The dance was very “acrobatic.” They were going around in circles, slow and fast, sometimes bringing their hats all the way down to the ground, sometimes jumping into the air.

The other highlight was a temple that was made and placed in the middle of the National Mall. It was, to be sure, a small temple, but it was enough for the monks to use for religious observances (which, when going on, can be heard from afar).

For food I tried an interesting pepper-cheese dish with red rice. I quite liked it. The cheese sauce was a little soupy, but good, and the pepper was quite spicy. There was also something else in it, I think a potato, but it could be something similar which is from Bhutan, cut up into round wedges also in the mix. It was better, and more filling, than some of the dishes I’ve had at previous festivals.

One of the panels I listened to, outside of the main stage, was about the history of Bhutan and how its king had, on his own, moved the country from a monarchy (which started in 1907) to a constitutional monarchy, when the people themselves were happy and satisfied with the monarchy. When asked why, he would tell his people “The time for change is when things are going well, not when things are falling apart.” In other words, if things are going well, it is easy to improve with wisdom, when things are going wrong, one will have to make quick fixes which might end up being worse than what was replaced.

All in all, my experience confirms I want to visit Bhutan. I just need to work on the credentials to do so as a scholar with a grant.

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I got a notice last week that the “Second Annual South Silver Spring Block Party” would be had on the 8th of June. It was to host food from local establishments, booths from people with art and crafts, and live music. I decided to check it out after church, after all, it was just down the street from my place.

When I got there, I noticed it was fairly small. I wasn’t impressed with any of the art (could be just not my style), and it was too hot to stay outside long to listen to the music. I did get some Ethiopian food and listen to one band, which was ok, while I ate. But once I was done, I came back home. If it were cooler, I might have stayed for the next band, especially since they were each given about twenty minutes to perform, so it wouldn’t have been long to wait. Yet, with the heat as it was, I knew I couldn’t stay out too long without it becoming unhealthy.

I did leave a bit disappointed. Yes, I knew it wouldn’t be the level of the Takoma Park Folk Festival, but I was hoping for something a bit more.

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