A compilation of interesting—and, most important, free—lectures, cultural events, and more throughout the week.
Cultural historian and author Steven Johnson brings his newest book, The Invention of Air, to Politics & Prose at 7. In the book, Johnson chronicles the life of Joseph Priestley, an 18th-century scientist who discovered oxygen and helped influence the Founding Fathers.
Tuesday, January 6:
The Library of Congress screens Pick Up on South Street at the Packard Campus’s Mount Pony Theater tonight at 7. Samuel Fuller’s 1953 film stars Richard Widmark as Skip McCoy, who winds up with a piece of a top-secret microfilm after picking the purse of Candy, played by Jean Peters. Call 202-707-9994 for more information.
Wednesday, January 7:
The Corcoran’s Wednesday Jazz Series continues with the Frank Russo Trio today at 12:30 in the Frances and Armand Hammer Auditorium.
Thursday, January 8:
In celebration of the birth of the King, researcher Warren Perry will discuss painter Ralph Cowan’s Elvis Presley portrait. The talk starts at noon in the National Portrait Gallery’s Reynolds Center.
Friday, January 9:
The Sackler and Freer Galleries will screen Banana Skin at 7 in the Meyer Auditorium as part of the Iranian Film Festival. Directed by Ali Atshani, the comedy follows Hamid, a workaholic, who finally finds time to enjoy life after a freak accident. Tickets are distributed one hour before showtime.
Saturday, January 10:
The National Postal Museum will show two films in its Discovery Center: Jezebel and Hallelujah. Jezebel, a Southern drama released in 1938, plays at 1. The film’s stars, Bette Davis and Henry Fonda, were both recently featured on US stamps. Hallelujah, the feature of a recent vintage black cinema stamp, plays at 4. The 1929 film was one of the first major studio works to use an all-black cast.
Sunday, January 11:
As part of the American Art Museum’s Steinway series, pianist Alan Mandel will perform a free concert in the McEvoy Auditorium at 3. He will play works by 19th- and 20th-century American composers, including Charles Ives.