News & Politics

Where & When: What to Do This Weekend

A free chocolate tasting, a Beverly Hills 90210-inspired dance party, an oyster festival, and actor Ryan Gosling’s band.

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Thursday, October 15: One of our favorite low-key bars is celebrating its second birthday, so we’ll be throwing back a few cheap beers. Red Derby in DC’s Columbia Heights will have a party tonight with drink specials to mark the occasion. Stop by anytime.

Find your grungiest flannel shirt, most inflatable Reebok pumps, and cutest denim overalls, because Dahlak Restaurant (1769 U St., NW) is bringing back the best of the ’90s at a free Peach Pit Dance Party on Thursday. Doors open at 10. For more information, whip out your oversize Zack Morris cell phone and call 202-332-2110.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum hosts Take Five!, an after-hours event in the Kogod Courtyard with live jazz and drinks. The band Afro Bop Alliance will perform. The event is free, and no tickets are required. 5 PM.

If you haven’t yet watched Jefferson Smith, played by James Stewart, take on rampant political corruption with good old-fashioned patriotism—not to mention cinema’s most dramatic filibuster—then don’t miss this. It’s the 70th anniversary of the 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is celebrating with a free screening at 7. The film, directed by Frank Capra, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. Robert Osborne, a film historian and a host of Turner Classic Movies, will introduce the movie, being shown at the William G. McGowan Theater (700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW). Reservations aren’t required. Call 202-501-5000 for more information.

Reel Affirmations, Washington’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender film festival—starting today and running through October 24—showcases shorts, documentaries, and features. The festival will screen more than 40 films at venues throughout the area, including the Harman Center for the Arts and the AFI Silver Theatre. The opening-night film is An Englishman in New York, starring John Hurt—as the writer Quentin Crisp—as well as Cynthia Nixon and Swoosie Kurtz.
Friday, October 16: Celebrate two of our favorite things—autumn and chocolate—with a free chocolate tasting at the newly opened J. Chocolatier in Georgetown. From 6:30 to 9, you can try treats such as pumpkin truffles and fleur de sel caramel.
Saturday, October 17: The 42nd annual St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival marks the official beginning of oyster season and celebrates the harvest of one of the Chesapeake Bay’s most prized commodities. Where else will $5 admission get you live music and access to oyster shucking and oyster-cookoff competitions plus a variety of seafood vendors? The weekend festivities, held at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds (42455 Fairgrounds Rd., Leonardtown), kick off on Saturday at 10 and Sunday at 11. Click here for more.

The annual Bike DC event offers 12- and 25-mile routes throughout Arlington and DC—and there’ll be no cars on the streets for the entire ride. The longer ride starts at 8, the shorter at 9. Both loops start at Tenth Street, Northwest, between Pennsylvania and Constitution avenues. $35 for advance registration; $45 on Saturday. Register here through Friday.

Love The Notebook? Think you and actor Ryan Gosling are meant to be soulmates? Then we expect we’ll find you tonight at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue to catch Dead Man’s Bones, Gosling’s musical act that features gothic-folk stylings and a children’s choir (for real). Tickets are $16 in advance, $19 the day of the show; get them here.

Which dead congressman haunts the Capitol dome? What representative’s ghost is famous for levitating grand pianos? And who was allegedly invited to dinner—as the main course? Learn the scandalous, sinful, and supernatural side of Congressional Cemetery on a free tour Saturday at 11, 11:30, noon, and 12:30.

Sunday, October 18: Featuring the work of 180 artists and craftspeople from around the country, the Bethesda Row Arts Festival is a juried outdoor display of ceramics, fabrics, glass, jewelry, metalwork, paintings, and more. Art will be on sale to benefit NIH Children’s Charities, and there’ll also be artist demonstrations, children’s art activities, entertainment, street performers, and food vendors. The festival opens at Saturday 11 to 6, Sunday 11 to 5.

Running low on inspiration for Halloween-costume ideas? (What? Have you not checked out our Halloween Guide yet?) Head to what sounds like the greatest costume sale of all time: The Washington National Opera is offering more than 1,000 costumes from previous shows. 10 to 5. 6925 Willow St., NW, third floor.

Today is one of your last chances to experience jousting! And mead! And gnawing on giant turkey legs! That’s right, the Maryland Renaissance Festival closes next weekend, so get thee out to the fairgrounds before it all closes up. 10 to 7; $18.

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Staff Writer

Michael J. Gaynor has written about fake Navy SEALs, a town without cell phones, his Russian spy landlord, and many more weird and fascinating stories for the Washingtonian. He lives in DC, where his landlord is no longer a Russian spy.