Things to Do

Culture Vulture

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

Monday, August 10
Israeli artist Irit Zohar’s colorful canvases are on display through August 31 at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. The exhibit, called “Painting in Action,” can be viewed Monday through Friday 10 to 4.

Tuesday, August 11
Take the Portraits Alive! tour at the National Portrait Gallery with the museum’s Teen Ambassadors. Students who participated in an eight-week seminar will walk you through the gallery, stopping at nine portraits to perform their dramatic interpretations of well-known figures such as Rudolph Valentino and Angela Davis. Meet in the F Street lobby for the 2:15 performance, which takes place every day through Friday.

Wednesday, August 12
Could witchcraft hold the solution to all of your personal dilemmas? Find out by combing through a 16th-century book of spells at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s “Practical Magic” lecture. From 6 to 8 PM, Heather Wolfe, curator of manuscripts, will share stories from her work with the volume, and Folger docent Francie Owens will be on hand to discuss magical remedies of the Elizabethan era. Call the box office at 202-544-7077 for free tickets.

As part of the series “The Scientist Is In: Ask an Expert,” at the American Museum of Natural History’s Sant Ocean Hall, a museum scientist will talk with visitors about traveling to exotic locations for field studies and discuss what it takes to make a new discovery. There’ll also be a chance to see specimens under a microscope. 1 to 3 PM.

Thursday, August 13
Food-history buffs, this one’s for you. Weather permitting, a Smithsonian Horticulture Services employee leads a tour of the National Museum of American History’s  Victory Garden, which features a number of heirloom crops typically planted during World War II. There’ll be a presentation—rain or shine—of images that show how vegetable gardens have evolved from functional to decorative. Enter from the lower level Stars and Stripes Café to reach the West Terrace. Noon. For more information, click here.

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean is at Politics and Prose tonight to discuss and sign his book Prescription for Real Healthcare Reform. 4 PM.

Friday, August 14
For anyone who held off on paying the $10 to see Curious Case of Benjamin Button on the big screen, the visually stunning film is playing for free as part of the Comcast Outdoor Film Festival at Strathmore. The movie starts at 8:10 (grounds open at 6:30), but no worries if you’re running a bit late—the nearly three-hour film takes a while to pick up. Can’t make it out tonight? Click here for the week’s complete schedule.

Saturday, August 15
Hippies might want to head to the Mall today for the Woodstock 40th Anniversary Celebration. Hear the Paul Green School of Rock Music play covers of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead, and then jam to artists such as Led Zeppelin, who were invited to perform at the original event but never made it. Slyvan Theater, on the grounds of the Washington Monument. 10 to 6. For more information, click here.

Dance/MetroDC performs at the Carter Barron Ampitheatre. Groups featured include Aysha Upchurch /Life, Rhythm, Move Project, City Dance II, DCypher Dance Collective, Furia Flamenca, Shang Dance Productions, and Urban Artistry. 7:30 PM. Click here for more information about the venue.

Downtown Silver Spring hosts Street Glam, a fashion event including an expo, local and international designers, and a seminar on ethical fashion. There’ll be two European-style fashion shows—called Street and Glam. Standing-room viewing areas are free. For more information, contact Lilian Buie at or 301-455-5620.

Sunday, August 16
The Freer Gallery’s Made in Hong Kong film festival continues today with a 2 PM showing of Eye in the Sky, the directorial debut of Yau Na-hoi. The thriller, in Cantonese with English subtitles, tells the story of a secret agent in the Hong Kong police force who investigates a crime committed by a big-time gang. Meyer Auditorium. Free tickets can be picked up an hour before showtime 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.