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  1. The National Portrait Gallery has commissioned Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald to paint the museum's official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama. The two portraits will be unveiled at the museum in early 2018 and will be added to the Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. Kehinde Wiley received wide acclaim for his touring exhibit "Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic," which appeared at the Brooklyn Museum, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Seattle Art Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Toledo Museum of Art, and Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Amy Sherald is from Baltimore and is probably best known to DC folks for her First Place painting at The Outwin 2016.
  2. UEFA (Europe) Play-off draw has been announced. Leg 1 will be played Nov. 9-11, Leg 2 Nov. 12-14. These games are pretty much a toss up. Croatia has the easiest route against the weakest team in the playoff, Greece. Sweden is without The Zlatan, so that hurts them and now they need to beat a usually tough Italy, so I would expect Italy to advance out of that series. Would be nice to see both Irelands advance. Northern Ireland vs. Switzerland Croatia vs. Greece Denmark vs. Republic of Ireland Sweden vs. Italy
  3. I guess Berlin, MD material is part of the Ocean City thread. On an overcast Saturday we swung by the Berlin, MD Oktoberfest. Much of the historic downtown area was shut down to street traffic. The main stage featured traditional German Oktoberfest music, a second tent had more contemporary bands. The streets were lined with various vendors, food stalls, and a couple of beer tents. Burley Oak Brewery had the main beer tent, their porter was decent. Gilbert's Provisions was serving homemade brats with mustard, kraut, and/or kimchi. Island Creamery was dishing up some tasty ice cream. The Oktoberfest isn't large, but Berlin is definitely quaint and it was a fun way to spend a couple hours. Street parking was a little tough, but we found plenty at the nearby Stephen Decatur Park, which has easy access to Rt. 113 and is a short 5 minute walk from the center of town.
  4. Driving back from Ocean City we stopped off in Cambridge to visit RAR Brewing, in the historic downtown area. Vibe is hipster, craft brewer: the tasting room/brewery is a re-purposed pool hall and bowling alley, open garage door in front, painted murals on the walls (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), in the back is their production facility with a ten barrel system. There's a bar with about 15 seats and two long communal tables down the middle. It was quiet on a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately the beer we were interested in buying to-go was sold out in cans. They do offer growlers and oil cans, but only on their main beers, not their limited production brews. So we struck out there as well. But not willing to let a side trip go to waste, we saddled up to the bar and ordered half pints of the Slip On, an unfiltered American Pale Ale, with lots of grapefruit and pineapple flavors up front. It had the floral flavors without the hoppy slap in the face of many IPAs. Really smooth drinking. The two guys working the bar were very friendly and ready to answer any questions about their beer. The bar menu is pub grub with Chesapeake influences. We went with the Waterman Nachos - Old Bay potato chips with crab and melted cheese sauce. Disgustingly delicious in a I'm-going-to-pay-for-this-later kind-of-way. I definitely recommend, especially if you have a crowd. If you are looking for a quick pit-stop to-or-from the beach, RAR is worth the 3 minute drive off Rt. 50.
  5. Cookbook Recommendations

    The end-of-the-year cookbooks are beginning to roll out, just in time for people to start contemplating holiday gift ideas. I'll recommend Istanbul & Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey.* Written by Robyn Eckhardt with photography by David Hagerman, the wife/husband team behind the EatingAsia blog and whose work has appeared in the NY Times, Saveur, and many other foodie publications. It's a great read with beautiful photography. * Full disclosure, I was a recipe tester for this book...all five recipes I tested made the final cut. Fun experience!
  6. Who knows, it's all wrapped up in FIFA politics. For its relatively mediocre teams, CONCACAF is a surprisingly powerful confederation. When many of these decisions were made you had two powerful CONCACAF officials in the upper echelons of FIFA, Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer, who were both ousted due to corruption. It also has a large membership of 41 member nations, CONMEBOL has 10. Each of those little Caribbean islands gets a vote. And then you have the weight of the US market: money, TV broadcast rights, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales (for the past several WCs the US has had one of the top traveling fan bases). That said UEFA does have 13 spots and CONMEBOL 4.5 (which is more like 5, we'll see if New Zealand can beat Peru).
  7. Well that didn't go well. Everything that had to go wrong went wrong. USA loses to T&T. Panama and Honduras both win against the top two teams in the group. And the US crashes out. Qualified nations: Russia (hosts), Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Honduras, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Uruguay. Peru will play New Zealand in a home/away playoff series Honduras will play Australia in a home/away playoff series Africa concludes qualifiers in Nov. with three spots up for grabs. Four European spots still to be claimed in a home/away playoff series.
  8. Walla Walla Wine Tasting Help

    I'll be heading to Walla Walla area next month, does anyone have any recommendations on wine tasting? My understanding is downtown Walla Walla has tasting rooms, and considering our host is a teetotaler lugging around a 2 year, I suspect the tasting room route is all we will be able to manage. Thanks!
  9. Tom Sietsema's Reviews

    I feel like Komi has been slipping* in Sietsema's rankings. The format has stayed the same for years now. And as amazing as the grand finale is, has that changed that much recently? So far in the top ten, only Minibar is a restaurant that has been around for more than a couple of years. All the rest are shiny and new (relatively speaking). *I of course don't think it's slipping. It's still my favorite restaurant in DC. I'll go TuG for the win. But of course I could be wrong
  10. IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures Saturday, October 14, 5 pm–12 am Sunday, October 15, 11 am–5 pm Freer|Sackler, National Mall, and Haupt Garden | Free and open to the public Join us for a festival of Asian art, food, and cultures to celebrate the grand reopening of the Freer|Sackler. The IlluminAsia festival will transform the museums’ grounds with an Asian food market, interactive cooking and art demonstrations, live music by members of the Silkroad Ensemble, and creations by local and international artists. Inside, visitors can experience the reimagined galleries and innovative exhibitions, as well as performances, conversations, and other immersive activities. IlluminAsia kicks off on Saturday, October 14, with a night market featuring food and art and a stunning animated projection on the Freer Gallery façade. On Sunday, October 15, the food market will continue alongside cultural programming for all ages throughout the museums and outdoor gardens. IlluminAsia is copresented with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
  11. Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light "Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light restores this pioneering artist to his rightful place in the history of modern art. This groundbreaking exhibition presents fifteen of Wilfred’s spellbinding light compositions, shown together for the first time in nearly fifty years."
  12. Edvard Munch: Color in Context "In the second half of the 19th century, advances in physics, electromagnetic radiation theory, and the optical sciences provoked new thought about the physical as well as the spiritual world. Aspects of that thought are revealed in Edvard Munch: Color in Context, an exhibition of 21 prints that considers the choice, combinations, and meaning of color in light of spiritualist principles. Informed by both popular manuals that explained the science of color and theosophical writings on the visual and physical power of color, Edvard Munch (1863–1944) created works that are not just strikingly personal, but charged with specific associations."