Culture Vulture

A weekly roundup of interesting—and most important, free—cultural events around town.

Tuesday, May 25
In anticipation of Sunday’s Celebrate Hawai’i Festival, the National Museum of the American Indian hosts a viewing of Na Kamalei: The Men of Hula. The film sheds a spotlight on Robert Cazimero, the legendary kuma hula who headed the island’s only all-male hula school. Breaking the stereotype that hula is just for girls in grass skirts, Cazimero led his boys to compete in the 2005 Merrie Monarch Hula Festival. Catch the flick in the Rasmuson Theater at 3:30.

Wednesday, May 26
The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage plays host to the Pan-American Symphony Orchestra, the first orchestra in the country with a repertoire comprised entirely of pieces that honor Latin America’s musical heritage. Cosponsored by the Embassy of Argentina, the event celebrates the bicentennial of that country’s 1810 Revolución de Mayo. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. 6 to 7.

Thursday, May 27

Maybe Rihanna would be interested? The Smithsonian American Art Museum screens Umbrellas, an interesting look at environmental artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s 1991 project the Umbrellas, which involved the installation of more than 3,000 umbrellas in California and Japan. The film is at the McEvoy Auditorium; no tickets required. 6:30.

Friday, May 28

It’s officially summer: Jazz in the Garden kicks off tonight with a performance by jazz vocalist Leslie Summey. Those familiar with the Washington institution know to arrive early at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden and stake out a good spot close to the action. 5:30 to 8:30.

Saturday, May 29
Today and tomorrow are your last chances to gain free admission to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a weekend promotion through May. Be sure to check out the sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle while you’re there. Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday noon to 5.

Sunday, May 30
Aloha, Washington! Take a walk on the tropical side with a three-day festival celebrating Hawaiian culture in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The Celebrate Hawai’i Festival at the National Museum of the American Indian features Hawaiian cooking demonstrations, short films from the state, hula lessons, and more. 10:30 to 4:30.

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