The US Department of Labor Century of Service Honor Roll of American Labor Organizations in the lobby of the Francis Perkins Building. Marble wall with the seals of every pertinent labor union.

12 Months of Love and Labor

U.S. Dept. of Labor Century of Service Honor Roll of American Labor Organizations Top Row, 2nd from the Left: The American Federation of Musicians Happy Labor Day! On this day one year ago, I embarked on my “Labor of Love” Challenge. Every month from then until now, I attended two events. One, a cultural event where classical music wasn’t the only art-form involved. The other, a labor event that didn’t exclusively involve the musicians union, the American Federation of Musicians. The purpose and spirit of this challenge was Solidarity. Solidarity with those … Continue Reading

The cover of the program for "An Octoroon" by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Two African American women on either side of an African American man who has a paint brush in his hand with white paint on it, which has just put a streak down his face. The ticket for the performance is below the program.

Month 11: Books and Books

Cultural Event: An Octoroon Last month, I paid my first visit to the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. Truth be told, it wasn’t until I got to the theater and started reading my program that I learned the word “octoroon” is a derogatory term for someone who is 1/8th African American. An Octoroon is Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s adaptation of the1859 work The Octoroon by the Irish author Dion Boucicault. The original play, an adaptation of yet a different work, is an expression of Boucicault’s life experience being 1/8th minority in his time. Jacobs-Jenkins has made changes … Continue Reading

Protestors outside the White House Mansion during the Equality March for Unity and Pride. The sky is blue and cloudless, and people are holding signs and wearing clothes in honor of LGBTQ and Gender Rights.

Month 10: Books and Banners

Cultural Event: Library of Congress Pride Pop-Up Exhibit Last month, most every major metropolitan area in the U.S. was decked out in rainbows in celebration of LGBTQ Pride. Washington, DC was certainly no exception. The Library of Congress presented a powerful pop-up exhibit, which displayed a representation of the astounding amount of LGBTQ-related facets of their collection. Sections of the AIDS Quilt. Photographs from historic events. Books, music, and scripts authored by members of the LGBTQ Community. Legislative reference materials pertaining to homosexuality, dating back over 500 years. As a classical musician, I got … Continue Reading

Five people introducing legislation in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. From left to write, a Union worker, Senator Al Franken, Senator Tammy Baldwin, the president of the Machinists Union, and Bernie Sanders. Sanders is at the podium, which has two labels. "Keep our Pension Promises Act" with the Capitol Building above the seal for the U.S. Senate. People taking photos gather around.

Month 9: Athens and Washington

Cultural Event: Timon of Athens Last month, I decided to return to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s theater for a second visit. Back in January, I attended As You Like It. This time around, I went for the lesser-known Timon of Athens, in which we learn that friends aren’t truly friends if they only like you when you are giving them things. (Are you listening, Washington DC?) This was my first time repeating a cultural venue for this challenge, and incidentally I’m now toying with the idea of becoming a Folger subscriber. It’s fun being a patron. … Continue Reading

People from a labor march, mostly in red t-shirts, stand with the DC WWI Memorial behind them. There are two banners in front. On the left, it says "We are Equal", and on the right it says "NoVA Labor". Most people are holding small signs saying "We are Equal" or "Unite Here".

Month 8: Artwork and Airwork

Cultural Event: The Phillips Collection Anyone who has a “Museum Bucket List” for Washington, DC knows that it can seem ceaseless. This past month, I was able to check off one of the more prominent items off that list: the Phillips Collection. Located a tad off the beaten path of typical DC tourism, this mansion-turned-museum was one of America’s first modern art collections. In addition to works by familiar artists (de Kooning, Frankenthaler, etc.) that are permanently housed there, you can also enjoy the rotating exhibits. At the moment, George Condo is featured, whose … Continue Reading

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