Some multimedia work from 2009.
The day before Inauguration, I stumbled upon an “fair,” of sorts, in Dupont Circle. I followed the shouts and cheers of joy, and suddenly gazed upon a most wonderful expression of the First Amendment, depicted in the slideshow below. (I don’t want to ruin the surprise). As night fell, the crowd gathered to the podium and amidst the smell of hippie incense, sang a song of unity and fighting for peace.
An interesting moment occurred during my short interview with the man from the Backbone Campaign, the organization who sponsored the festivities. When I asked if I could record our conversation, he started ranting about a supposed fear of McCarthyism that persists to this day. It caught me off guard. While I wanted to assure him that I wasn’t about to sell his left-wing diatribe to the secret media police, I instead signed the Constitution, and left.
As I left, I overheard a father telling his small child wielding a shoe to “hit Bush in the nuts one more time, then we can go.”
At the “We Are One” Concert, the Sunday before Inauguration, I wandered the National Mall with a circa-1995 Walkman cassette recorder in hand. The mall was packed with people, most decked out in Obamarabilia bought from the hundreds of vendors in the area: Obama action figures, finger puppets, long underwear, posters, laminated newspapers from the day following election day. Everything contributed to what surely was a profitable week for D.C.’s economy.
Obama Lingerie (click to listen)
I, sadly, have no photos of the infamous Obama lingerie (shakes fist). But if you will lend me your mind, I will paint you a picture: Imagine an oversized, hot pink t-shirt with a photo of Obama’s face printed on the front and back. Now imagine said t-shirt, pockmarked with haphazardly cut holes. Now imagine pink fringe along the hem. How this is considered ‘lingerie’ both confuses and thrills me. And it was only ten dollars!
Produced for NPR Intern Edition, 2009. Photos by Galen Mook.
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For the 6th annual protest against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, thousands of people gathered on the National Mall on March 21 to march toward the Pentagon. Holly Gump led a group of 8 people who held cut-out characters from Picasso’s Guernica. A woman named Patricia sang the blues: “This is a rich man’s war/What is that poor man fighting for?” I told her that I hadn’t heard any good protest songs lately. She laughed, and kept right on singing. “Absolutely the arts have power,” Holly said. Don’t believe her? See for yourself.
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Can you imagine what it feels like to spin around at 30 times the speed of gravity?
Would you hate it? Love it? Puke all over yourself? Hope it becomes the next ride at Disney World?
Think of it like this: when you’re going around a turn on your favorite roller coaster, you’re probably going at about 1.5 Gs (that’s 1.5 times the force of gravity).
The centrifuge at the Goddard Space Flight Center, the NASA facility in Greenbelt, MD, is no longer in use, but it’s one of the largest in the world. It weighs about half a million pounds and measures 120 feet long, as it dauntingly stands in what Dan Ramspacher, a Propulsion Engineer, calls the “spacecraft bone yard.”
It’s intimidating stuff. The room itself murmurs, as if in awe of the vast machinery it houses.
To listen for yourself, click here. Hear my reaction to seeing the centrifuge in all its gravity-defying glory, as Dan talks a bit about its many uses at NASA.
Produced for NPR Intern Edition, 2009.