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Thursday, March 25: In anticipation of a benefit party Saturday (see details below), Artini—the monthlong competition among 12 of the area’s top mixologists to create the most artistic martini inspired by the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s current exhibit “A Love of Europe: Highlights From the William A. Clark Collection”—wraps up its feature-night series at Rasika. From 6:30 to 8:30, bartender Jason Strich is showcasing a drink inspired by J.M.W. Turner’s painting “Boats Carrying Out Anchors to the Dutch Men of War.” Twenty percent of bar sales goes to the Corcoran’s ArtReach program. For details about Artini, including how to vote for your favorite drink and/or bartender, click here.
Since her arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Michelle Obama has been under the close watch of Washington Post fashion editor Robin Givhan. Now Givhan’s musings on the First Lady can be read in her latest book, Michelle: Her First Year as First Lady. (Read an excerpt here.) Givhan is signing copies of the book at a reception organized by the Fashion Group International of Greater Washington at Lord & Taylor in Chevy Chase. Tickets for the event, which starts at 6:30, are $24.95 for FGI members, or $34.95 for nonmembers, and include a copy of the book.
Filmmaker Jessica Oreck explores Japan’s fixation with creepy crawlers in the film Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, which screens in the Hirshhorn’s Ring Auditorium at 8. Oreck will be in attendance to discuss the film after the screening. Free.
George (3251 Prospect St., NW), the guest-list-only bar in—where else?—Georgetown, opens its doors to all guests for the Smithsonian Young Benefactors’ happy hour. From 6 to 10, there’ll be $5 rail drinks and $4 beers. The suggested donation is $10, which benefits the organization’s Culture4Kids Fund. For more information about the event, e-mail email@example.com.
In “Gertrude Stein: Face-to-Face Portrait Talk,” National Portrait Gallery curator Wendy Wick Reaves discusses the work of writer and poet Gertrude Stein. The event, part of the museum’s weekly portrait-talk series, starts at 6. For more information, click here.
As for concert recommendations: Forgive us if we can’t, ahem, hold it in, but the formerly local band (now based in Philly) Jukebox the Ghost is back in town for a show at the Black Cat’s mainstage. Tickets for the show, which also features the bands Tally Hall and Skybox, are a wallet-friendly $13 and available here. Just a few blocks away at the Velvet Lounge, Deleted Scenes, a group that still calls DC home, plays alongside Savoir Adore as part of the indie-rock venue’s Pop Gun Showcase night. Tickets are $8 at the door. Both shows start at 8.
Rough week at work? Mosh all your stress out at the Black Cat’s No Control Punk Rock Slam Dance Party. DJs Steve EP and Denman promise to play bands such as DC-based Minor Threat and New York’s thrash-metal group Leeway. The event, in the club’s backstage area, starts at 9:30.
The 18th annual Environmental Film Festival wraps up this weekend, so make sure you catch some of its offerings. Tonight, A Chemical Reaction, which tells of a community initiative to end the use of chemical pesticides, screens at the AED Globe Theater (1927 Florida Ave., NW) at 6:30 and is free. Also showing as part of the festival: Frogs: The Thin Green Line at the National Zoo’s visitor center at 7. This film is also free, but you must register in advance here. Filmmaker Allison Argo and others will host a discussion following the movie.
U Street’s favorite DJ, Will Eastman, is teaming up with hipster-favorite beer Pabst Blue Ribbon to present US Royalty at the Mansion at Strathmore from 8 to midnight. The standing-only show features the visual artist Kelly Towles and $2 16-ounce PBRs from 8 to 9. Tickets ($12 at the door or $10 in advance) are available here.
The Flaming Lips meet Apollo Sunshine when the Silver Spring quartet Ravenous takes the stage at the Red & the Black Friday at 9. Tickets ($8) include performances by Fox Japan and Caustic Casanova.
Saturday, March 27: We hope you found some spare time to make a kite this week, because it’s the 44th Annual Kite Festival. Meet at the Washington Monument with your best designs—registration is at 10 AM. There’ll be a handmade-kite competition, a tricks showdown, and a Rokkaku competition, in which teams compete to cut down opponents’ kites (click here for the rules). There’ll also be a display of handmade kites from around the world, kids’ lessons from the National Cherry Blossom Festival calligraphers, and a chance to make stingray-shaped kites with the National Aquarium. 10 to 4.
The National Archives hosts a screening of Amelia, director Mira Nair’s 2009 biopic about pilot Amelia Earhart. The film stars Hillary Swank and Richard Gere. The movie, which is free, starts at noon in the William G. McGowan Theater.
It’s cherry-blossom time! The National Cherry Blossom Festival kicks off today, and we’ve got quite the handy guide for the event, with everything from cherry-blossom basics, roundups of activities near the Tidal Basin, where else to see blooms around Washington, where to get sake, and the best sushi happy hours in town. The festival’s opening ceremony takes place at the National Building Museum at 4 with plenty of Japanese-inspired activities. Free.
Are you there, vodka? Because comedian and late-night host Chelsea Handler is in town to promote her latest book, Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. She’ll sign copies at the Borders on the corner of 18th and L streets, Northwest. 3 PM. No word if Chelsea Lately sidekick Chuy will be around.
In addition to featuring all 12 cocktails crafted by the competing mixologists, the Artini benefit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art has a dessert buffet and hors d’oeuvres available for attendees. DJ Chris Nitti will provide the entertainment. Tickets ($100) must be purchased in advance. For more information, click here.