Ms Cravens Goes to Washington

December 1996

Just got back from Washington, D.C., from a meeting of the key players in this program I'm working on. DC was fun, although I really wish I had been here when UT beat Nebraska... I HATE Nebraska football. Also, I missed the heck out of my dogs... this is the first time I've left them in our new home... my new neighbors took care of them.

Since I did the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington tour the last time I was in D.C. several years ago (Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, etc.), I decided to do the indoor thing this time. I only had Sunday to sightsee, so I opted for the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in the morning and the Smithsonian American History Museum in the afternoon.

Wow. Bitchin. Totally. Everything.

Actually, I had to really restrain myself alot from crying (due to recent events, I cry at the drop of a hat lately). Something about seeing a small crowd form EVERY TIME the little video outside the luner module showed the film of the first men on the moon, and all of these people of all sorts of ages and all sorts of nations standing there, still and staring at the screen, in awe and remembrance....

Loved seeing the space capsules and clothes and other junk, loved seeing the space shuttle stuff in the IMAX theatre (when the film started and it said, "narrated by Leonard Nimoy, the foreign guy behind me laughed and turned to his friends, saying in whatever language they spoke, "Yadda Yadda Yadda Spock!" Then they all laughed). Loved all the displays, even though they don't have anything really since 1990 except that IMAX film, loved all of the little films going on all the time everywhere... but the big news... IS... a scaled down version of the Star Wars exhibit, the full version of which I saw in San Francisco, will be up in October 1997. C3PO, R2D2 & an Imperial storm trooper are already there. In San Francisco, I cried when I saw Chewbacca, and I wasn't even depressed then. It was an AMAZING exhibit in San Francisco, and I would love to see it again.

American History museum was equally awesome, though much less attended. Had to hold back tears once again upon seeing the lunch counter from Woolworth's. I must have stood there staring at it for 10 minutes. Who says that you can't change a world with simple, powerful, nonviolent acts? That counter is as important as dumping tea over the side of a ship in Boston. And it was right there in front of me... There was also a temporary exhibit on the migration of blacks from the Southern USA to the North that was fascinating and disturbing. At one point, the only way to go from one part of the exhibit to another is to go through a mock train station. And there are just two doors -- one for "whites" and one for "coloreds." And I stood there and thought, I not only find it it repulsive that this used to be the way things were in the USA, but which door do I go through?! I won't go into all of the other displays, because there are a ton, but they are all wonderful and educational and powerful and I highly recommend it. And, yes, I did see all the cheesy stuff too, like Archie Bunker's furniture. Yawn.

I stayed with my boss, and the rest of the time I worked, played with my boss's kids and played with her dog. MAJORLY missed my dogs. They are very happy I have returned. And so am I.

Finished "Last Train to Memphis", a book about the rise of Elvis Presley. WHAT a book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So insightful into the merging of country and blues music that made rock and roll, as well as into the musician side of Elvis that seems all but forgotten nowadays.

I have a time travel fantasy that involves going to see live performances of the past: the Beatles in Hamburg, Germany; Gram Parsons anywhere that he performed and wasn't too stoned; "The Pirates of Penzance" at the Public Theatre with Linda Rondstant and Kevin Klein, "Phantom of the Opera" in London with Michael Crawford, "Les Miserables" with Colm Wilkenson and Patti Lapone in London, "Les Liaisons Dangerous" with Alan Rickman at the RSC... and now, Elvis Presley at the Louisiana Hayride.

Anyway, that's how I've spent the last few days. Now, I'm almost done with Al Franken's book, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot". It is absolutely hysterical and a must-read for everyone.

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