Things to Do

Culture Vulture

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

Monday, July 6
Get ready to rock out in DC’s Tenleytown: Local bands Go Home Robot, Sea Monsters, and Power Pirate take the stage in tonight’s installment of the Fort Reno concert series. 7:30 PM.

Tuesday, July 7
Volunteers from the Annapolis Quilt Guild demonstrate quilting, piecing, and other quilt-making techniques and explain related tools from the textile collection of the National Museum of American History. Fashion design it ain’t, but anyone interested in the mechanics of cloth-based construction should consider checking it out. 11 AM to 1 PM.

Wednesday, July 8
The importance of cursive in the professional world may have been the biggest sham of your elementary-school years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate a little pretty handwriting now and then. Round up those you know ages 8 to 14 and join them for a free calligraphy lesson with Omani scriptor Saleh Shukairi at the Sackler Gallery’s ImaginAsia classroom. Activity books will be passed out after the demonstration for some hands-on practice in the art of letter-writing and traditional Islamic decoration. 2 PM.

Thursday, July 9
At the National Museum of American History, historian Monica Smith discusses the invention of the electric guitar, shares stories of the musicians involved in its development, and explains how it has become the instrument we still swoon over today. Second floor.

Invite 30 Facebook “friends” you’ve never met to the Black Cat’s B.A.R.F. (Be a Real Friend) Party. There’s no cover, and music is always a perfect conversation starter. 8 PM.

Friday, July 10
The Made in Hong Kong Film Festival kicks off today with a 7 PM showing of Sparrow, the comedic tale of a group of Cantonese pickpockets whose slick ways unravel when a beautiful stranger enters their midst. English subtitles will ensure you’re privy to the jokes, but that won’t matter—the achingly beautiful set design, evocative of a Hong Kong long since passed, may keep you from noticing the dialogue altogether. Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis an hour before the show. Limit of two tickets per person. Call 202-633-4880 for more information.

Saturday, July 11
Get an early start with a free tai chi class at Lincoln Park (E. Capitol St. between 11th and 13th sts., NE). Taught by Dr. David Walls-Kaufman, a Capitol Hill chiropractor, this exercise session starts at 8 AM. Call 202-544-6035 for more information.

Once you’ve finished revving up your muscles, head to the Ballston arts-and-crafts market (across from the Metro) to explore the wares of 70 local artists, artisans, and independent designers; 10 to 4, with a guest deejay spinning at 2. For more information, visit

Sunday, July 12
We’ve been looking forward to the arrival of the movie Medicine for Melancholy for a while now, and the excitement factor was upped exponentially once we found out it was free. Catch the 5 PM screening of the film—an honest, understated love story that springs from bicycles, one-night stands, and the reconciliation of hipster identity with African-American culture in San Francisco—at the National Museum of the American Indian’s Rasmusen Theater. There’s a discussion with the filmmaker—whose work was nominated for Best First Feature and Best Cinematography at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards—immediately afterwards. Free, though seats are doled out on a first-come, first-served basis.

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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.