Culture Vulture

A compilation of interesting—and, most important, free—lectures, cultural events, and more throughout the week.

By: Matt Carr

Monday, December 1: Jose de Venecia Jr., former speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, will discuss his 50 years in the Philippine political arena at Borders at 18th and L streets in downtown DC at 6:30. His life story, Global Filipino: The Authorized Biography of Jose de Venecia Jr. by Brett M. Decker, came out today.

Tuesday, December 2: Cheryl R. Ganz, chief curator of philately at the National Postal Museum, discusses her new book, The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair: A Century of Progress, at 6 in the museum’s atrium. A signing with refreshments follows the lecture. Call 202-633-5502 or e-mail dorink@si.edu for reservations for this free event.

Wednesday, December 3: The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s documentary film series screens Identity at 6 in the McEvoy Auditorium. The 60-minute film is from the award-winning series “Art in the Twenty-First Century” and features conversations with artists William Wegman, Bruce Nauman, Kerry James Marshall, Maya Lin, and Louise Bourgeois.

Thursday, December 4: Busboys and Poets at DC’s 14th and V streets screens Helvetica at 6:30. Sounds scary, right? In the film, first time director Gary Hustwit investigates Helvetica, which appears on your computer, the subway, tax forms, and corporate logos of giants such as Target and Crate & Barrel. But don’t worry, it’s just a type font.

Friday, December 5: The Freer Gallery screens The Mourning Forest at 7 in the Meyer Auditorium as part of the series “Another Side of Japanese Cinema.” The film, with English subtitles, won the Grand Prix at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of a widower and her young caregiver who accompany each other on a day trip, which turns into a spiritual quest.

Saturday, December 6: Have you checked out the newly renovated American History Museum? Bring your kids to a book signing at 2 with legendary journalist Helen Thomas, author of the children’s book Great White House Breakout, and then take a stroll around the museum’s improved facility.

Sunday, December 7: Physicist and journalist Margaret Wertheim discusses her crocheted coral-reef project at 1 in the Natural History Museum’s Baird Auditorium. She and Nancy Knowlton, chair of marine science, will discuss reefs, ocean conservation, and the art of crocheting a coral-reef replica. A free crochet workshop follows at 2:30.