Things to Do

Culture Agenda

The culture of caffeine, chilly World War II history, and a literary renaissance woman are up for exploration this week

Monday, October 4
Even in the race for best soda, the road to the top is often littered with collateral damage, and we’re not talking about discarded cans. In his book The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink, Michael Blanding makes his case against the soda giant Coca-Cola. Blanding claims that through exclusive contracts with schools and bottling operations in Mexico and India, Coke is making American kids fatter and doing lasting damage to the environment through pollution. And that’s not to mention allegations that Coke has sided with Colombian paramilitaries to quell union resistance. He brings the argument to Busboys and Poets at 6:30.

Tuesday, October 5
Though the words “Alaska” and “rainforest” may seem mutually exclusive, fans of the Tongass National Forest know that’s not the case. Nature photographer Amy Gulick speaks about her experiences exploring and shooting the rainforest, which is the nation’s largest, at the National Zoo. 7 to 9:30.

Wednesday, October 6

In the summer of 1942, a squadron of American warplanes departed the United States to aid besieged England. But after an emergency landing and evacuation, the planes were abandoned on the ice sheets of Greenland for the next 50 years. When the planes were eventually rediscovered—under 25 stories of ice and more than a mile from their initial resting places—aviation enthusiasts decided to resurrect one of the lost fliers. Bob Cardin led the team that excavated the P-38 bomber, now nicknamed “Glacier Girl.” Hear Cardin and Rod Lewis, the plane’s owner, recount the story at the National Air and Space Museum. Get your free (and required) tickets here. 8 PM.

Thursday, October 7

Maxine Kumin is quite the literary renaissance woman. As a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry, Kumin has made much of her mark in verse, but she has also written children’s books, a mystery novel, a textbook, and a memoir. Kumin discusses her latest works, Where I Live: New & Selected Poems 1990-2010 and The Roots of Things: Essays, at Politics and Prose tonight. 7.

Friday, October 8

Celebrating the completion of the first American Craft Week, the Smithsonian American Art Museum hosts Crafting a Nation, a two-day enthusiasts’ symposium. From printing and weaving to needlework and collage to jewelry to painting, panels and discussions look at every possible meaning of the things Americans make. 9:30 to 5.

Saturday, October 9
In honor of its country’s history of gymnastics, the National Danish Performance Team combines tumbling, acrobatics, dance, and theater. The crew of 28 performers, which travels the world as an unofficial arts attaché of Denmark, takes to the Kennedy Center’s free Millennium Stage this evening at 6.

Sunday, October 10
For a break from the typical American coffeehouse and tearoom, check out DC’s Sidamo. Every Sunday afternoon, the shop hosts a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, complete with free samples of java. Experts teach guests about the nature of the ceremony, its process, and the role it plays in Ethiopian culture. 2 PM.