Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 3.51.48 PM

Katherine Sifers’: Access/Index, an exhibit that comes face to face with the socioeconomic inequalities in Washington DC, is composed of still life’s of the freshest produce available for $25 at local markets. The exhibit puts into focus the price and availability of fresh food in different parts of the city forcing the viewer to step back and contemplate food access in Washington DC.

The Anacostia Arts Center(AAC) is situated in a dilapidated neighborhood both literally and figuratively miles away from the clusters of art galleries that innocuously pervade throughout DC. The desolate location of this gallery makes it all the more important for AAC to showcase exhibits like Access/Index.

Far from the decadent opulence of Dutch seventeenth-century still life (vanitas) paintings that the artist is admittedly inspired by, these Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 3.52.29 PMbeautifully lit arrangements possess a quiet humility. The misshapen produce listed as coming from the Dupont Circle Farmers Market appears especially ordain, until contrasted with the produce from Wal-Mart.  $25 accrued Sifers so little in groceries from the farmers market and yet the produce appears so much fresher when compared to the poor bounty of produce hauled from the Georgia Avenue Wal-Mart.

The Vivid Solutions Gallery itself is a calm space inside the bustle of the Anacostia Arts Center, a space that invites reflection and consideration. In this exhibit, Sifers’ works are displayed attractively on the walls with the use of overhead projectors. The dim lighting and streams of dust motes in the projector glow bewitches the visitor. The mechanism of projection creates an artificial distance between viewer and artwork until the viewer steps directly in front of the projector, shattering the image. A note of poetry must be noted having such vibrant images of food just within reach yet ultimately unattainable in the Anacostia neighborhood. The Access/Index Exhibition succeeds in forcing the viewer to step back and contemplate food access in Washington DC while remaining visually appealing in its own right.

Access/Index is on display at the Vivid Solutions Gallery at the Anacostia Arts Center from February 1st-27th.

By Emma Bilski

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 3.58.52 PM

The Folger Theatre’s production of Mary Stuart is a tense, complex show, not for the faint of heart. Brimming with the visual delights of historically accurate Elizabethan sets and costumes, and armed with a new translation of the text into modern-day English; the show will likely trigger a variety of powerful reactions among theatre-goers.

The opening set of Mary Stuart wraps the stage in foreboding dungeon walls trapping both actors and nearby audience in the literal and psychological prison in which Elizabeth has imprisoned the titular character, her cousin and rival monarch, Mary Stuart. During the prison scenes, a haunting echoing effect persists throughout each character’s speech capable of provoking claustrophobia in the small theatre. The eerie atmosphere of the opening scenes sets a funereal tone for the entire play. Just as the characters are forced to contemplate the inconvenient fact of Mary’s existence, the play forces the audience to consider profound themes of politics and emotional trauma. Charged with political and ethical commentary, Mary Stuart proves once more that the Folger still embraces the atmosphere of its political neighborhood: located just across the street from the United States Capitol and Supreme Court buildings. Ultimately, the Folger asks its audience to consider where power truly resides when a government fears its people; a dramatic question touched upon in its recent production of Julius Caesar and asked outright by the Queen of England in Mary Stuart.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 3.59.07 PMCostume designer Mariah Hale sticks closely to historically accurate costuming in this production, resonating with much of the drama in Mary Stuart stemming from its historical context. The juxtaposition of the elaborate Elizabethan garb of the actors and their modernized speech produces a jarring experience that can go either way for audience members. The most striking feature of this production may be Peter Oswald’s modern translation of Schiller’s 1800 original text. Oswald’s version is easier to understand, provoking lively audience response from giggles to gasps over the course of the night. However, it was undeniably strange to hear modern slang terms like “free-wheeling” and “the big man” in the context of the drama, especially coming from the mouth of Rajesh Bose’s magnificently cloaked Lord Burleigh and against the backdrop of Elizabeth’s gilded throne room. Whether or not the experience is elevated or muddied by the new translation remains for the theatre-goer to decide for themselves.

The acting, as can be expected of any Folger show, is absolutely top-notch. Kate Eastwood Norris and Holly Twyford play off each other royally as powerful female monarchs and alternate pathos with sass, breathing light into a dark and intricate story of international law, geopolitics, and espionage.

Mary Stuart by Friedrich Schiller and translated by Peter Oswald plays at the Folger Theatre through March 8. Tickets can be purchased by calling (202) 544-7077 or by visiting their website.

By Emma Bilski

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 4.07.22 PM

This Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Blind Whino hosts its annual art extravaganza, the Amazing Art Jam! Featuring a pop up arcade with over 15 console’s lined up, a cosplay fashion show on Saturday at 7pm, and exhibiting over 25 local artists; the amazing Art Jam is sure to be spectacular and sensational. Marvel Curator, Ackshun Jackson, christened the event in homage to his heroes, the Amazing Spider-Man and Stan Lee. Full bar and food will be available. The event goes from Sat Jan 17th 12pm-1am and Sun Jan 18th 12pm-7pm. Tickets may be purchased at Eventbrite. Children 10 and under receive free admittance.