Things to Do

Culture Vulture

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

Monday, April 27
Former George Washington University president Stephen Trachtenberg brings his memoir, Big Man on Campus: A University President Speaks Out on Higher Education, to Reiter’s Books at 6:30. Trachtenberg draws on his 30 years of experience to candidly explore the challenges of running a university.

Tuesday, April 28
Stop by the National Air and Space Museum’s Lockheed Martin Imax Theater for a free screening of Dogfights: Hell Over Hanoi at 7. Following the film, retired Air Force Brigadier General Dan Cherry will talk about his recent experience meeting Nguyen Hong My, the Vietnamese aviator he shot down in 1972.

Wednesday, April 29
The Library of Congress screens the world premier of Ed Thigpen: Master of Time, Rhythm, and Taste in its Mary Pickford Theater at 7. Thigpen, a jazz drummer best known for his tenures with Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald, played on more than 900 albums with almost every great jazz musician of the 20th century.

Thursday, April 30
Bird Fest 2009, the National Zoo’s celebration of International Migratory Bird Day, begins with a talk by conservationist Nigel Collar in the zoo’s visitor’s center from 7:30 to 8:30. Collar, who has worked with BirdLife International for the past 30 years, will discuss his work with threatened species and his latest book, Birds and People: Bonds in a Timeless Journey.

Friday, May 1
As part of its celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the American Art Museum has invited artist Jean Shin to discuss her groundbreaking work converting castoff objects such as empty pill bottles into exhaustive site-specific assemblages. The event takes place in the McEvoy Auditorium at 7.

Saturday, May 2
The National Gallery of Art screens Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi’s Half Moon at 3:30 in its East Building auditorium. The movie, filmed in Kurdish and Persian with English subtitles, follows a Kurdish musician and his band as they travel through the Iran/Iraq border to attempt to stage a concert.

Sunday, May 3
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kirstin Downey, formerly with the Washington Post, brings her biography of Frances Perkins, The Woman Behind the New Deal, to Politics and Prose at 5. Perkins became the first female Cabinet member when FDR appointed her Secretary of Labor in 1933. Perkins was the architect of unemployment insurance, minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, and social security.

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