It is almost the inauguration. I wanted to see DC prepare for this grand happening, so we went to the National Mall. It was all dressed up–Obama, Obama, Obama EVERYwhere.
We first headed to the National Museum of the American Indian for the “Out of Many”: A Multicultural Festival of Music, Dance, and Story, a three-day celebration in honor of the presidential inauguration, co-presented with the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Asian Pacific American Program, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. After lunch at the always-excellent Mitisam Cafe, we were just in time to see Alma Boliviana perform a fiery Bolivian dance.
This was followed by the powerful Japanese taiko drumming of Nen Daiko (I look forward to seeing them again at the Cherry Blossom Festival in March). The women of the group were especially impressive, leading the action on the very large and loud drums. I loved seeing the eyes of little girls in the audience light up watching them.
As we were leaving the museum, the KanKouran West African Dance Company began brightening up the Atrium, drumming and dancing to chants “USA!” and “Barack Obama!”
Outside, the inaugural stage called out. This will be restricted territory during the inauguration–the tickets-only area. Today, wave after excited wave flowed through.
We walked down the blocked Pennsylvania Avenue, decorated for the inaugural parade. A festive mood reigned the street.
Our stroll concluded at the National Portrait Gallery. In honor of the 2013 inauguration, the Gallery is showing off two tapestries by Chuck Close, created to raise funds for the reelection campaign. The tapestries are on loan from private collectors through 3 March, and photography is allowed with these eight-foot tall Obamas. Hurry up! Unlike the Federal City Balls, the Portrait Gallery is always free.