I am currently in Washington, D.C. researching for the Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C., as well as the TouringPlans.com coverage that (spoiler alert!) will be starting in a few months. Friday night I stopped by the Smithsonian American Art Museum to see a free concert because a concert inside an art museum sounded kind of rad. Here are some quick thoughts:
The concert was part of the Luce Unplugged, a series of music-related events that take place inside the Luce Foundation Center for American Art, located on the 3rd floor in the west wing of the American Art Museum. This particular event was a Community Showcase, meaning they had local bands play after hours (specifically from 6-8 p.m. — the museum closes at 7).
The featured bands were the El Mansouris and Elena & Los Fulanos. I only say Elena & Los Fulanos, but they were talented and although their brand of indy-rock was not my favorite, it was energetic and fun. In addition to the music, guests were allowed to browse the collection in the Luce Center (the rest of the museum was closing or closed), which contains about 3,000 pieces.
Snacks and alcoholic drinks were for sale, but the line was definitely a deterrent. What I did wait in line for was a free tasting from the Port City Brewery, based out of nearby Alexandria, Virginia. They brought 3 beers and gave out generous samples of each. The line for the sampling was long, but much shorter than the line to pay for beer, which always confuses me.
What I found most fascinating was the people watching. There was clearly a mix of fans/friends of the band, people who go to all the museum events, and random stragglers who wandered around a lot (that was me). I don’t know if I can necessarily recommend going to one of the Luce Unplugged events (which was totally plugged-in, by the way), but keep it in mind if you’re visiting D.C., especially in the winter. With the museums closing early, a low-cost alternative to sitting in the hotel is always nice and the gallery created a very unique environment.