Archives for posts with tag: Corcoran Gallery of Art

It’s spring.  Spring is when a slew of new books are released.  That means book signings are hot springtime events.

Basically there are three types of book signings:  in-store, in somebody’s home or in some unique space such as a museum or gallery.  Lately, I’ve been going to less in-store signings, maybe because there are less bookstores.  House parties and museums are popular locations nowadays.  With everyone writing a book from actors to artists to TV anchors and animals—signing events are the best place for authors to push their passions and sell books.  Really, how can you not be seduced into buying an autographed book after meeting and hanging out with the author, hearing her reading, eating the food and drinking the wine?

In the last two weeks, I’ve gone to two book signings in the Greater Washington area.  One was a fabulous Maryland house party for my long-time friend, Sheila Banks, whose debut novel, Bittersweet, came out this month.   The chocolate and champagne themed 3-hour signing was the perfect outing on a weather perfect Sunday afternoon. Champagne  flowed, chocolate was abundant and the guests were a wonderful mix of old friends and new fans.  Although more than fifty guests attended, the spacious, art-filled home exuded a warmth that created a very intimate event and wonderful feelings.   The local bookstore providing the books, Politics and Prose, sold out of all they brought and easily could have sold more.

This photo shot by Marc Silber of www.silberst...

This photo shot by Marc Silber of Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous photographers alive today. She shoots for magazines, was Rolling Stone's photographer, and has made images of many of the world's most famous people. Español: La fotógrafa estadounidense Annie Leibovitz posando ante el retrato de Demi Moore en su exhbición "Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005" en San Francisco, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week later, I attended another Sunday book event given by the Corcoran gallery and billed as a graduate symposium on creativity with celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz.  Despite the rain, a standing-room-only crowd packed the auditorium to watch Ms. Leibovitz’s visual discussion of her latest book, Pilgrimage.  Although the crowd made the activity appear less intimate, Ms. Leibovitz provided a certain intimacy to the event through her personal insight into how she sustained her creativity overtime and why she photographed certain photos, “it was a renewal.”   She gave us two hours of her time, leaving just before the reception began in the Corcoran’s atrium.  Wine and a mix of cheeses, fruits, and sweets were served to a hungry crowd of Corcoran students and patrons.  Pre-signed books were for sale.  Most sold.  But maybe the $25.00 charge for attending the event and the early departure of the author missed selling out.

Hmm…..are signing events passé as e-books replace books?

Todd Gray's Muse Menu

Today, my friend Yolanda treated me to a launch, brunch, libations, and a leisurely look at contemporary art all under one roof—the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.   It was the launch of the Sunday market brunch at Todd Gray’s Muse, the famed Washingtonian chef’s latest food experience that’s part of his reinvention of the Corcoran’s cafe.   The atmosphere was perfect—a mix of contemporary art and artistically prepared sustainable and seasonal foods from local farms including the White House garden, right across the street.

Lively with two packed seatings, the launch brunch buffet offered a fresh, healthy mix of salads, egg creations including a Quiche made with market produce from the White House and “other muses.”  Tom’s buttermilk scones made of dried mission figs and caramelized sugar and the baked vegetable frittatas with zucchini, baby spinach and fontina cheese were my favorites on the market-inspired brunch menu.

More than the great mimosas and Bloody Marys, the piano player and singer  (who had a great voice despite the poor atrium acoustics), the friendly, personal, and consciously gracious service by Chef Tom, his family and team made the launch brunch exceptional.    Look, Tom and his wife, Kassoff, are busy people serving the Greater Washington community, running other businesses as well as two top restaurants in D.C.—Equinox and Todd Gray’s Watershed.   But today they showed up and showed out, as the saying goes.  And we enjoyed it.

Todd Gray's Muse @ The Corcoran Gallery

Art fused with food was an inspiring twist to the typical, staid Sunday brunch.  Good eats followed by viewing great art including the “30 Americans”  exhibition and Chris Martin’s big paintings really awakened my muses even if the photos don’t reflect it.

"Light Brahma Stomp" by Chris Martin