Friday Favorites: {Guest post by Katie}

Friday, November 2, 2012

Katie listens to music, takes pictures, and explores Washington DC. [She also throws epic Pie Day parties.] She blogs at Gentlewoman of the Road.  

Favorite Ways to Find New Music.
I could talk about music all day long. But I won't today. I will, however, let you be a music snob with me.

1. NPR Music. NPR Music is a daily read for me. It is a treasure trove of all types of music from classical to jazz to world to rock n' roll, to I don't even know what that is, but I love it. There are blogs, interviews, album previews, concert footage, and my favorite of all, The Tiny Desk Concert Series. Musicians come and play a couple songs at the [tiny] desk of All Songs Considered host, Bob Boilen. I've seen the actual tiny desk, and might of squealed upon it's sighting, definitely a DC bucket list highlight.  One of my life's goal is to figure out how to get bands to come and play at my work desk, I could even supply the tambourines. 

2. Daytrotter. Discovering new music is the whole point of Daytrotter. Musicians, both pretty mainstream and those that are nowhere near the stream, stop by the Daytrotter offices (based in Illinois, Heartland high fives!) to record four song sessions. And since many, if not all of these groups are in the midst of touring when they stop, there is a special rawness in the sessions, something more closer to friends jamming in your living room, than a venue show. Because even art needs funding, Daytrotter is a subscription/membership service. But don't worry, there aren't any members only jackets (not even ironic ones), and a yearly membership is only $24, and that includes the ability to download the sessions, which breaks down to 50 cents a song, (see what I just did there, it's called math), so it is beyond reasonable . I also love the daily emails they send out to members about upcoming sessions, it's pretty convenient for someone to just send you a list of bands you should be listening too. 

3. Seeing the Opening Band. Headliners usually have influence on the bands that they tour with, so opening bands at concerts are hand picked by the band you have a ticket for in your hand. In other words, always, always, always get to a show early enough to see the opening bands.  I have been going to concerts for awhile now, and have seen probably hundreds of opening acts, and not all of them of good (oh, so you're the reason why people make fun of the accordion), but I have discovered a lot of new bands and music. The opening bands are usually well aware that the audience aren't there to see them, so they will put on one hell of show, giving it every ounce of heart and soul, to be memorable. And when that formally unknown band makes it big, you can be a true hipster and say that you saw them way back when. 

Favorite Photo Apps.
I am not a phone person, or I guess, I am not a talk on the phone person. If you ever get an actual phone call from me, instead of text, email, or carrier pigeon, consider yourself a very special snowflake. But I've got sucked into the machine revolution (when people would rather look at their phones than the people seated two feet away from them, the machines have already won). I take an embarrassing amount of pictures on my phone, and I have found a couple of fun apps to edit these little snapshots of my life. (Disclaimer: I have an iPhone, so I don't how these apps work on other phones/devices)

1. Snapseed. Snapseed is by far my favorite app to edit pictures while standing on a subway platform or under a tree or eating pie (which is a little complicated, but doable).  The tools are pretty comparable to the editing tools (iPhoto) I use on my desktop.

2. Camera+.This app is all about the filters, they are plenty of them, and they all fun. 

3. VSCO Cam. I have only been playing around with this app for a little while now, but I love the softness of the filters and tools. 

Favorite Museums in DC.
Washington DC is a great town. And one of the reasons for its greatness is all of our fine and free cultural institutions. 

1. The East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. I love modern art. I really can't explain why I have more of an emotional reaction to a canvas with just red lines, than I do to a painting with a pretty landscape, but I do. The East Wing is where the National Gallery keeps all the Jackson Pollacks, and Alexander Calders and Cy Twomblys. The gallery is close enough to my job that I can walk over during the lunch hour and just set there and absorb all the art. Also, the lighted walkway connecting the two museum wings makes you feel like you are traveling through hyperspace. 

2. The Renwick Gallery. The Renwick, also known as the "Arts and Crafts" Smithsonian, is one of the lesser known of the Smithsonian museums, but it is one of my favorites. It houses, "American contemporary crafts and decorative arts from the 19th to the 21st centuries." Like I said, arts and crafts.  It's one of those places that you walk around, maybe seeing an installation made out of doll heads or a ghost clock, and say, "Huh, look at that."  The gift shop is also one of my favorite museum gift shops, I will fully admit, one of the reasons I am a Smithsonian member is so I can get a discount on their Folkway Music collections.

3. The United States Holocaust Museum. I used to volunteer at the Holocaust museum, and I can honestly say that it changed me. I have  talked to several people that are leery about visiting a museum whose subject matter is so dark, sad and uncomfortable. But genocide is uncomfortable, to say the least. It is important to acknowledge what humanity is capable of. We are capable of destroying each other, or saving each other. 

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