- - Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pick of the Pack

Exhibit: ‘Attachments: Faces and Stories From America’s Gates’

If you saw Michael Pupa on the streets of Cleveland today, you likely would have no idea of the hell he went through to get there. Mr. Pupa’s journey to the U.S. started in 1942, when his parents were executed in a Polish ghetto. He spent the next two years hiding in the forests of Poland. When the Soviets came through, Mr. Pupa made his way to a displaced persons camp run by Allied forces. Eventually, he was sent to Cleveland, via New York, then to a foster family. In 1957, he became a U.S. citizen. Mr. Pupa’s story — a classic in the American melting pot genre — was a mystery even to his own children until the National Archives began preparing “Attachments: Faces and Stories From America’s Gates.” A photo of Mr. Pupa at age 13 was among the 31 case files on display in the exhibit. When National Archives researcher Miriam Kleiman saw the name and the photo, she reached out to a friend she grew up with in Cleveland — Jill Pupa. Michael, it turns out, is her father. And even she had no idea how incredible his story is.

“Attachments: Faces and Stories from America’s Gates” is on display through Tuesday at the National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Phone: 877/444-6777

Web: www.archives.gov/nae/visit

Book Talk: Paul Tough

Prospective parents tend to have a list of attributes they would like to pass on to their children. But even more than they hope to pass on mom’s metabolism and dad’s hair, they want their offspring to be smart. After all, in a down economy and a global workplace, what better advantage can a child have than innate intelligence? In “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character,” Paul Tough argues that there’s more to success than being brainy; that determination, discipline and an adventurous spirit are equally as important, if not more important, than performing well on standardized tests. Mr. Tough’s findings are not a consolation prize for parents of middle-of-the-pack students. Rather, “How Children Succeed” makes the case for reforms that focus not just on academic performance, but also life performance.

Paul Tough speaks Wednesday at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

Phone: 202/364-1919

Web: politics-prose.com

Concert: Annie and the Beekeepers

The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, which offers free events every night of the week, can be a little hit or miss. Even at such a prestigious institution, it’s sometimes the case that you get what you pay for. With Annie and the Beekeepers, you’re getting far more. Cape Cod, Mass., native Annie Lynch has perfectly adopted the lonesome wail of the Southern folksinger, and made it her own. With her beekeepers (a fellow vocalist and an upright bassist), Miss Lynch is able to crank out tunes that span the dial, from folk to Americana to the blues. If you want a taste before you go, look up “Come On” or “Again and Again” on YouTube. Fans of Joni Mitchell or the Wailin’ Jennies will want to see this show.

Friday at the Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW

Phone: 202.467-4600

Web: www.kennedy-center.org

Miscellany: Twilight Jumpers

For some strange reason, the revelation that Ann Romney is an equestrian was tantamount, in the eyes of the mainstream media, to her being a cannibal. It was as if her decision to ride an expensive horse, rather than a rented burro, told us everything we needed to know about the Romneys. Namely, that the family is too rich to reside in the White House. But as a letter writer to the Salt Lake Tribune noted earlier this month, “Horse ownership isn’t just for the rich; it is for the obsessed.” If you want proof, you can get it Friday night, when the High Performance Equestrian Foundation hosts its next Twilight Jumpers event. You see, equestrians love horses so much, that they will ride them at night, on a Friday. Even the price of admission for the event belies the claim that dressage is only for the wealthy: It’s $30 — not per person, but per carload.

Friday at Great Meadow Foundation, 5089 Old Tavern Road, The Plains, Va.

Phone: 540/253-5001

Web: equestrianfoundation.org

Concert: Ben Harper

Guitarist and soul singer Ben Harper’s greatest accomplishment is arguably the fact that he has outlasted Jack Johnson, the surf crooner whose career he helped launch. For a while, Mr. Jackson’s popularity with soccer moms and puka shell-wearers seemed to indicate he would overshadow the talents of the person who helped him get started. But as Mr. Johnson’s popularity has ebbed, Mr. Harper has stayed strong, penning increasingly more beautiful pieces.

Tuesday at Wolf Trap, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna, Va.

Phone: 703/255-1800

Web: www.wolftrap.org

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