Things to Do

Culture Vulture

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

Monday, June 15 
Experience the emotions, thoughts, and daily routines of American soldiers throughout history at the National Museum of American History’s Letters Home. This free theatrical performance, held in the in the Clara Barton Ambulance room, takes place four times (11, 1, 2:30, and 4) every day in June.

Tuesday, June 16  
Laura Izibor, the 20-year-old Dublin native dubbed “the soul of Ireland,” is headlining the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in a free concert tonight at 6.

Additional Emerald Isle celebrations today include a free reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses at Mackey’s Pub. The Washington version of the Irish Bloomsday Festival, which is responsible for the event, isn’t quite as involved as its Dublin counterpart (elders tramping around in old-fashioned garb are nowhere to be found), but the reading did attract a rather large, enthusiastic crowd of literary buffs last year. 7 PM. Call 202-331-7667 for more information.

Wednesday, June 17
Opened Memorial Day weekend, Flora: Growing Inspirations is the newest exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden.  If weather permits, take a long lunch and stroll through a highly stylized series of gardens featuring contemporary sculptures inspired by and celebratory of the role of plants in culture.   The Conservatory is free to the public and open from 10 AM to 5 PM daily, including all weekends and holidays. 


Thursday, June 18
Live and Let Die headlines the NoMa James Bond Film Festival tonight, held at the parking lot adjacent to the New York Avenue Metro. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and your best Bond-girl costume—the Bond Challenge and Oddjob Challenge contests, held before the movie, dole out prizes for most convincing character rendition. At 7 PM, the James Bond Dancers perform, and you’ll have a chance to judge the Bond lookalikes yourself before the movie, which starts at 8. Contest participants are asked to arrive at 6:30. The complete festival schedule is available here.Win Wenders’s 1999 documentary, Buena Vista Social Club, about the famous band of Cuban musicians, shows at the free outdoor film festival in the NoMa neighborhood. Films are shown next to the New York Avenue Metro on L Street between Second and Third streets, Northeast, at 7. Music documentaries and feature films, such as Ray and Dig!, will be featured throughout the summer.

Friday, June 19
Spy movies not your thing? Crush on Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson all over again with the Rossyln Film Festival’s screening of brat-pack favorite The Breakfast Club. Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie, screens as part of this ’80s-themed outdoor film festival. Show up early for an ’80s-themed pre-show, games, and prizes. The movie begins at dusk at Gateway Park, two blocks north of the Rossyln Metro, and plays rain or shine. Click here for complete film schedule.

Saturday June 20
There’s storytelling, music, plays, and art workshops at the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Earth First Family Day event. If you’ve been short on spending money but dying to walk through Maya Lin’s impressive “Systematic Landscapes” exhibit, this is your chance: Admission to the museum is free from 10 to 2. 500 17th St., NW.

Sunday, June 21 
The Sacred Festival, held on the summer solstice, is a celebration of arts, culture, activism, and healing. From 10:30 to 7:30 at Meridian Hill Park, there’ll be ethnic foods, mural painting, a poetry slam, drum circles, face painting, stilt-walking activists, various performances, and art displays. Visitors will also find information about the work of community organizations throughout Washington. Arts, performances, and healing-arts practitioners located in the nearby Josephine Butler Center (2437 15th St., NW). The park is at the intersection of 15th and Euclid streets, Northwest. For more information, e-mail

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Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.