Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (July 20-23): PJ Harvey, Hamlet Fan Fiction, and Shakespearean Body Paint

Photo caption: ArtSoiree’s MidSummer Night’s Dream BodyArt show celebrates summer with bodypainted fairies and other festive costumes. Photograph by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades.


MUSEUMS Video-art pioneer Nam June Paik would have turned 85 July 20, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum is celebrating with a lecture by sound art advocate Barbara London, Yale University’s media arts critic and a former associate curator at MoMA. London established the Museum of Modern Art’s video collection and was the editor of their first major exhibition of sound art, Soundings: A Contemporary Score. Her lecture on Thursday at the Smithsonian’s MacMillan Education Center is titled “What’s Technology Got to Do With It?” Free, 5:30 PM.

THEATRE The a cappella quartet The Kinsey Sicks bills itself as “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet”, and the irreverent singers are bringing their latest show Things You Shouldn’t Say to Theatre J. The new show puts Trumpism and racism in the barrel, alongside a variety of other subjects, from giraffes to Bette Midler, all with the Kinsey Sicks’ signature brand of humor. Through July 30. $52.


MUSIC PJ Harvey’s most recent album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, is a reference to a federal program aimed at revitalizing distressed public-housing developments. One song in particular, “The Community of Hope,” was influenced by her visit to Anacostia with Washington Post reporter Paul Schwartzman, and caused a bit of a tut-tutting from DC’s chattering classes. Harvey performs at Wolf Trap with the Union Temple Baptist Church Choir, which is featured prominently in the video for “The Community of Hope.” $35-$60, 8 PM.

BEER Belgian National Day is celebrated on July 21 and commemorates the start of Belgium’s independence under a constitutional monarchy and parliament in 1831. Several local bars are jumping in with celebrations of their own. City Tap Penn Quarter is partnering with Cooperstown, New York Brewery Ommegang on a tap takeover featuring many of its Belgian-style beers; the bar will also have specials on Belgian food all weekend. Brasserie Beck will have rotating specials every two hours on Friday.

THEATER Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri’s Play to tell my story: a hamlet fanfic premieres at the Silver Spring Black Box Theatre. It’s a reimagining of Shakespeare’s play in the mind of a teenaged girl, with political backstabbing playing out on social media a story of a murder can be re-told in increasingly outlandish ways. Through July 30. $30.


DANCE Even if the summer heat has you down, Art Soiree has a fantastical night planned with its MidSummer Night’s Dream BodyArt show at Liaison Hotel. The Shakespeare-themed event features body-painted fairy creatures, dancers with festive costumes, and live performances including music and a fire artist. Ages 21 and up. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 day of, 8 PM.

FILM/BOOK The National Gallery of Art is screening the 1955 film House of Bamboo in its East Building Auditorium. The film shows a postwar landscape of ethnic contrasts, as an American military cop infiltrates a gang of dishonorably discharged GIs, trying to learn more about the death of an Army official and growing close close to the official’s Japanese widow in the process. The film will be introduced by North Carolina State University film professor and author of Film Is Like a Battleground Marsha Gordon, who will follow the screening with a book signing. Free, 2 PM.


FILM In conjunction with the Ai Weiwei’s exhibit Trace, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is screening the film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry on Sunday afternoon. Film director Alison Klayman gathered footage of the artist while she was working as a journalist in Beijing; this portrait explores both contemporary China and one of its most compelling and outspoken critics. Free, 2 PM.

FESTIVAL The 30th annual Arlington Peru Festival, or Festival Peruano de Arlington, will take place on the outdoor soccer field of Gunston Middle School. The festival is a daylong celebration of Peru’s music and dance, culture, and cuisine. Free, 11 AM.