Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gordon Parks

I just received word that Gordon Parks passed away today.

He once said that he "picked up a camera because it was my choice of weapons against what I hated most about the universe: racism, intolerance, poverty."

Las Placitas

Last night I juried the Capitol Hill Arts League show (will post prize winners later) and had two other things happen.

I got there a little early, and I found a primo Doris Day parking spot on the side street just a couple of minutes from the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. And so I parked, as I was (a) early and (b) ravenous, I decided to walk around 8th Street SE and look for a good, and new place to eat.

I ended up at Las Placitas Restaurant and it was superb!

When I got there it was quite early, and I was the only other person in the whole place, so service was immediate and good.

The chips and salsa were OK, and although the salsa was not the best I've ever had, it was fresh and tasty and I did scarf down the whole serving of chips and a second serving of salsa.

I then ordered a plate that they call "El Tipico," which in Spanish means that it is a typical Salvadorean dish. I also had a Tecate and then a Tamarind Juice drink.

I will admit that until I arrived in the DC area (first between 1987-1989 and then again for good in 1993), I had never tasted Salvadorean food.

El Tipico consisted of fried sweet plantains, a chicken papusa, fried yucca, white rice, black beans and Salvadorean style cole slaw (very spicy) and a dollop of sour cream for the plantains. It was a massive plate of food for about $10.

The food was good, plenty and fresh, and while I was there I noted a constant procession of people who had called their order in and were picking it up. It was obvious that La Placita is a "neighborhood" restaurant which does brisk pick-up business.

I also witnessed the sort of business acumen that makes one feel good about hard-working immigrants doing good in our nation.

This tiny lady came in and placed an order of shrimp salad to go. She sat and waited, and while the order was being prepared, the owner (I assume) chatted with her in broken English. It was soon evident that she had never tried "flan" and magically a flan appeared on the house, for her to eat while she waited.

As I listened in to the conversations between the owner, and the wait staff, two things became apparent:

(a) Someone called "El Gordo" had just quit from working in some nearby establishment because that establishment's owner was mistreating the staff.

(b) The restaurant pays $55 for a box of 20 chickens.

The chicken papusa was one of the best I've ever had, and whenever I eat one, I always wonder: just how do you make a papusa?

Essentially it is a stuffed tortilla, right?

I mean: do you make a circle of dough, then spread the stuffing on that disc of dough, and then place a second disc of dough on top, seal the edges and then quick-grill it on the pan? That seems to be a lot of work for essentially getting a papusa for a buck in most places.

But I digress; by the time I left, the place was fairly full of a very diverse crowd of locals eating what looked and smelled like delicious food.

Mine was!

P.S. I almost forgot; by the time I got back to my van, after jurying the show, I found a nice parking ticket from the city, as I had overstayed my two hours on a DC residential street.

Art Donations for BRITE Auction

Irvine Contemporary's Heather Russell is curating artwork donations for a fundraiser for BRITE in NYC.

The event will be held on April 5 at the Scandinavia House at 58 Park Avenue at 38th Street in New York City from 6.30-9:00 pm. You can learn more about BRITE here.

All donations of artwork are to be dropped off to Heather here in DC at Irvine by March 29th. Works on paper, sculpture, painting, photography, digital prints, and original works encouraged in the $500-$1000 retail range. Works can be mailed or hand delivered to her at the gallery. Flat works must be framed or matted. As this is an organization for supporting children, she kindly asks that each artist keep that in mind when selecting a work to submit!

Please email jpegs and bio to Heather directly at heather@irvinecontemporary.com.

She has 17 accepted submissions already, and is limited to about 30-40 works of art, so hurry! All artists are invited for free to the event itself and their personal contact info will be listed that night, available to collectors and patrons.

I intend to donate and hope that many of you do as well.

Kirkland on Manuel

Thinking About Art reviews Nathan Manuel at Flashpoint.

Read Kirkland's review here.


An alert reader noticed that the Whitney's official list of Biennial reviews is missing both the Washington Post review and the Newsday review as well as ignoring the myriad of art blog reviews.

I've brought it up to their attention. You can read the Whitney's list here.

Update: The Whitney responds and says that "this is an ongoing compilation of selected press reviews and previews. Thanks for mentioning the missing reviews."

It's still a little odd to me; I mean, it's understandable if they want to skip a review such as the Newsday review, which basically trashes the show; but it's odd that they would skip (even initially) the review from the world's second most powerful newspaper.