Monday, May 07, 2007

Da Vinci Goes to the Air and Space Museum

The blend of work and pleasure has happened to me more than once, but the past week was one of the most memorable such blends. I hope it is also a sign that the future holds even more opportunities where work and pleasure co-exist for your humble narrator.

I'll explain some of the details of the how and the why in a later post. For now, let me just offer some tantalizing examples of why I had a fine week.

Imagine getting an offer to fly to Washington DC and stay at the ritzy Washington Court Hotel, all expenses paid, and to spend my working hours entertaining folks as a historical character -- in my case I performed as a Russian Cosmonaut and as Leonardo da Vinci. Added bonus - I was told I would be performing the da Vinci role at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, which would be closed for the evening for a private catered party.

I had to pinch myself more than once at Air and Space. It's a place which I had visited before, spending hours wandering thru the exhibits and gawking at the displays of planes and rockets which made history. To be strolling casually through it, sipping wine and acting as da Vinci ("I invented everything here, you know. I never finish, I just make a sketch.") while a jazz combo played just under the heat shield of the Apollo 11 Command Module ... and to be paid while doing all that ... it makes you say Life is Good.

It also made me think if I ever do go to space, I want a jazz combo on board playing the whole time. Jazz and Space. Each compliments the other.

As I mentioned in my previous post , my camera wasn't working, but fellow performer MountainGirlXD was kind enough to share the photos she took. So here you are -- first, me as daVinci. The costume wasn't too uncomfortable, but man that hair and beard took some work so it did not look like Santa. A little bit of make-up was needed too, so that the wig did not look Mamie Van Doren's hair and too much would have made me look like Bob in Twin Peaks. One thing I learned was that about half of those I talked with thought that da Vinci painted the Sistine Chapel. And just for the record, I doubt there would much difference between da Vinci's astonishment inside that museum and mine.

Sadly, as exciting as the exhibits were, I hate to think we now see space exploration as merely an exhibit in a museum, part of our past. It must remain part of our future, too.

Here's a shot of the X-1, which broke air speed records when piloted by Chuck Yeager.

I admit to being stunned when thinking that a company could rent out the museum for the evening and have dinner catered. I'm sure I could live quite well for years on what that must have cost.

In the next post, I'll have more on how I landed the job last week and other tales from Washington, so stay tuned.

Oh, and why not take a peek at MountainGirlXD as she played the role of Amelia Earhart?


  1. Life is good, amen. I get to sleep with Amelia Earhart...not many men alive can say that.

  2. Finally Amelia Earhart has been found!
    And Leo, what a striking pose you make..
    I can't wait to hear how in the world you copped a gig like that!

  3. "I get to sleep with Amelia Earhart...not many men alive can say that. "

    Actually, I wish you hadn't said that...Blows another fantasy.