Things to Do

The Lookout: Embassy Events Galore

The Lookout gives you a heads-up on the best events taking place around town. Today we give you our guide on taking advantage of (some surprisingly cool) events at embassies.

You probably walk past them every day—stately buildings lining Massachusetts Avenue or Dupont Circle, with flags flying out front and cars with diplomatic license plates in the driveways. But it turns out that embassies have a lot more to offer than just diplomacy.  There are lots of fun events going on there, too. Here’s our roundup of  events, from music to art exhibitions to seminars, taking place at embassies around Washington in March.

Until March 16
Shojo Manga! Girl Power! “Girls’  Comics from Japan”
Japan Information and Culture Center, 1155 21st St NW

Girl power, without platform shoes, is on display via manga, the popular Japanese cartoon style.  The cartoons date from World War II to today and tell the story of change for Japanese women in the past 50 years.  The cartoons illustrate young women, love, and beauty, but also their struggles for empowerment and how they balance their societal roles with their desires.

March 3, 8 pm
Mendelssohn Piano Trio
Embassy of Austria, 3524 International Dr. NW

The Mendelssohn Piano Trio is a resident trio for the Embassy Series concerts, made up of Peter Sirotin, violin; Ya-Ting Chang, piano; and Fiona Thompson, cello.  They will perform Schubert’s trios and are likely to give a stunning performance.

Many more events after the jump.
March 4, 8:30 am to noon, start times vary
Vasaloppet bike race
House of Sweden, 901 30th St. NW

This bike ride mimics the famous Vasaloppet Cross Country skiing race, which takes place on the same day in Sweden.  Riders can choose one of the non-competitive routes and cruise through Northwest DC at their own speed.  The 56-mile Vasa ride starts at 8:30 am, the 28-mile HalvVasan starts at 9, and the 18-mile KortVasan starts at 9:30.  The embassy will serve the Vasaloppet’s traditional, intriguing blueberry soup after the ride.

March 5, 7 pm
Chopin Goes Jazz
IFC Cultural Center, 2121 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Less than a week after Chopin’s 197th birthday, the Embassy of Poland celebrates his life with jazz interpretations of his work.  The Andrzej Jagodzinski Trio will perform along with Grazyna Auguscik, a contemporary female jazz singer.  There is no fixed admission, but donations to the Polish Heritage Foundation are welcome.  Seating is limited, so call and reserve your spot at 202-234-3800, Ext. 2111.

March 12, 6:30 pm
Duo Andrea Cardinale (violin) and Alessandro Magnasco (piano)
Free, RSVP required by March 9
Embassy of Italy, 3000 Whitehaven St. NW

The first half of the program focuses on the 17th-century Italian violin school and includes a Vivaldi’s sonata, while the second half is dedicated to the famed 19th-century violinist Paganini.  Cardinale and Magnasco are have performed more than 300 concerts together.

March 17, 9:30 am
All-day seminar: Gross National Happiness with Matthieu Ricard
La Maison Francaise, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW

If St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t inspire enough happiness for you, stop in and see if Matthieu Ricard can help you.  Ricard is a French-born Buddhist monk who works as the French translator for the Dalai Lama.  The seminar will focus on how to find lasting happiness in a society that sees wealth and success as measures of joy.  The seminar is in English and includes lunch and an exhibitionof Ricard’s photos from Tibet.

March 23, 7 pm
La Grand Fete de la Francophonie
La Maison Francaise, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW

The last hurrah of the month-long Francophone festival, a celebration of French-speaking countries worldwide, includes representatives from more than 30 embassies.  The cultures mesh through music, food, and fun.  This year’s musical entertainment is The Casablanca Band, which plays Middle Eastern and North African music and includes a belly dancer, and DJ Tass.

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