Things to Do

What to Do This Weekend: March 15 to 18

St. Patrick�s Day parties, the circus, museum fetes, and more.

Catch Cheeky Monkey Sideshow at Red Palace this Friday. Photograph by Flickr user Heather F.

Thursday, March 15

BOOKS: With four books turned straight into Lifetime movies and a fifth turned into a Cameron Diaz tearjerker, it’s safe to say Jodi Picoult‘s books aim for the heartstrings. She’ll be talking about and signing her latest, Lone Wolf–an uplifting tale of siblings who fight over whether their near-death father should be taken off life support–at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. Lovely. Tickets ($28) are available online, and include a copy of the book. 7 PM. 

CALCULATE: With Brightest Young Things’ parties at the Newseum and other spots around town, drinking at a museum isn’t impossible like it once seemed. The Smithsonian is getting in on the mix with Mingle at the Museum–tonight, check out MathAlive!, an interactive exhibition aimed at showing middle schoolers how math is used in their everyday lives. I’ve been, and it’s an impressive exhibit, and surprisingly fun for adults. Admission ($40) includes a drink, light food, and a behind-the-scenes look at how the show was conceived. 6:30 PM.

Friday, March 16

VIDEO GAMES: If you can skip out of work early, head to the American Art Museum to learn more about the opening of “The Art of Video Games,” which features stills, videos, and playable demos of some of the most popular video games of all time. Chris Melissinos, the curator of the exhibit, will talk about the past, present, and future of the platform. Free. 3 PM. 

ART: The Target Gallery is going to have a “pub-like atmosphere” at Friday’s Art Party. Expect games, music, drinks, pizza, and a wing-eating contest. Art is discounted $50 all night, and proceeds will support the March of Dimes. Tickets are available online for $15 or at the door for $20. 7 PM.

FREAKS: One of Washington’s best-known sideshow troupes will head to Red Palace, Washington’s best freakshow spot. Cheeky Monkey Sideshow’s “Freaks, Flesh, and Fun for Food” promises plenty of sword swallowing, fire eating, contortion, and magic. Proceeds benefit the Capital Area Food Bank; tickets are $10, or $5 with a nonperishable food item. Doors at 9 PM. 

DANCE: U Street Music Hall is celebrating two years in the biz with some of the biggest-name deejays it can grab. Friday you’ll get French electronic music DJ Alan Braxe and Derrick Carter, who is huge in the house music scene. Tickets ($10) are available online. 10 PM.


Saturday, March 17

PARTY: It’s a rare year that you can party to your heart’s content on St. Patrick’s Day and not have to worry about waking up for work tomorrow. If you don’t have plans yet, check out our guide to St. Patrick’s Day events.

DANCE: Black Cat’s Right Round dance night is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a turn in the big room—as always, DJ Lil’e spins the best of the ’80s, ’90s, and alt-pop starting at 9 PM. Tickets ($10) are available online.

FILM: Cherry-blossom-seeking tourists are about to overwhelm Washington, but before you curse them, learn more about the trees at AFI Silver as part of the Environmental Film Festival. In The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, director Lucy Walker explores the tree’s symbolism in the wake of a terrible disaster—and uses its ability to rebloom each year as a metaphor for Japan’s ability to heal from the destruction. Buy tickets ($11.50) online. 7:45 PM.


Sunday, March 18

TRAVEL: If you’re a jet setter or just can’t bear to listen to politicians spouting off about birth control any longer, take an early step to gettin’ outta here at the Travel & Adventure Show at the Convention Center. The convention will feature discussions and book signings by top travel writers and reporters, including the Travel Channel’s Samantha BrownPauline Frommer, and more. Talk with tour operators, see cultural performances from around the world, and learn how to get the best deals. Tickets ($9) are available online. 11 to 4 PM.

CIRCUS: In a world where Cirque du Soleil gets all the attention, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s circus still manages to plod along. The act, at the Verizon Center, offers plenty of high-flying and death-defying stunts—wait till you see what their motorcyclists can do. Tickets ($14 to $110) are available through online through Ticketmaster. 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM, and 7:30 PM 

MUSICAL: Speaking of sideshows, Rocky Horror is probably one of the most overperformed hot messes out there. But the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington takes a crack at it at Lisner Auditorum this weekend—and with a group of men who can actually sing and perform, our money is on this being worth the price of admission. Tickets (starting at $30) are available online. 3 PM.