Things to Do

Culture Vulture

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

Monday, November 30
In conjunction with National Geographic’s “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor” exhibit, the National Theatre is hosting the Chu Shan Chinese Opera. Director Zhu Chu Shan, originally from Shanghai, has been showing off the traditions of ancient Chinese opera in Washington for more than 17 years. The show, which includes storytelling, costumes, and performances about Chinese culture, starts at 6 in the Helen Hayes Gallery. Free tickets are available 30 minutes before the show on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, December 1
Journalism powerhouse Walter Isaacson presents his new book of essays, American Sketches: Great Leaders, Creative Thinkers, and Heroes of a Hurricane. Isaacson, the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, has worked as an editor at Time magazine, chairman and CEO of CNN, and a biographer of Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Henry Kissinger. In this newest book, Isaacson sheds light on household names such as Bill Gates, Ronald Reagan, Woody Allen, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. The event starts at 7 at Politics and Prose. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, December 2
Barbara Ehrenreich will discuss her book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, at 6:30 in the Langston Room at Busboys and Poets at 14th and V streets, Northwest. After witnessing the business of positive thinking during her battle with breast cancer, Ehrenreich wrote this book to challenge what she considers to be a national and cultural trait. For more information, call 202-387-7638.

Thursday, December 3
James Kronzer, a Washington-based scenic designer, has built theater sets in Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore and has received more Helen Hayes Awards than any of his local peers. Most recently, he designed the set for Signature Theatre’s production of Show Boat. Bring your lunch to Signature’s Mead Lobby from 1 to 2 to learn more about his career at the theater’s Brown Bag Thursday. For more information, click here.

Friday, December 4

The Smithsonian’s retrospective on manga artist Osamu Tezuka continues at the Sackler Gallery with a kamishibai, or “paper drama,” performance by Yassan, one of Japan’s foremost performers of the ancient art form. At noon, he’ll perform The Golden Bat from Tezuka’s famed Astro Boy story. For more information, click here.
Saturday, December 5
Dana Ellyn’s cartoon-like work may seem light and comical on the surface, but the subject matter is much more intense. In her newest exhibit, “Divinely Irreverent,” at Evolve Urban Arts Project (Pierce School Lofts, 1375 Maryland Ave., NE), the artist questions American religious and social traditions, mixing in serious undertones with darkly humored paintings and drawings. The show follows Ellyn’s last exhibit, which opened on a provocative holiday—International Blasphemy Day. The new show opens at 4. For more information, click here.

Sunday, December 6
Catch some talented young Washington musicians at the DC Youth Orchestra Program’s Intermediate Concert. The performers will showcase their abilities in their first concert of the season and will be joined by the Young Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra—a collection of students selected to participate by invitation. The event starts at 4 at the DC Youth Orchestra Program (6315 Fifth St., NW). For more information, click here.

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