Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (August 17-20): A Chili Cookoff, Chuck Brown Day, and the DC Black Film Festival

The short film Tales From Shaolin: Pt 1 "Shakey Dog" interprets the works of the Wu-Tang Clan as a crime-filled action dark comedy. The film screens as part of the DC Black Film Festival. Image courtesy DCBFF.


FILM The first annual DC Black Film Festival takes place this weekend at the Miracle Theatre in Eastern Market. The festival features blocks of films that analyze the black experience, showcase the filmmakers, and highlight DC through films about or by directors from the city. Post-screening discussions include topics like “What Is Black? Analyzing The Black Experience Through Film” and Saturday’s “Making Black Lives Matter Through Film.” Tickets $15-$75. Through Saturday.

MUSIC Mandolinist Sierra Hull has been drawing attention in the bluegrass world since she released her debut album at the age of 10. The accolades keep coming; her most recent album Weighted Mind was nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album last year. Hull performs at the Birchmere; the Bumper Jacksons Duo opens. $25, 7:30 PM.


FIELD DAY With most DC students going back to school next Monday, the John Wall Family Foundation is hosting a Back to School Field Day at the Rosedale Community Center & Library. In addition to interactive games, vendors, and music, 250 students from first through eighth grade will receive backpacks filled with school supplies. Wall will speak at 3 PM. Free, 2 PM.

MUSIC The Rock & Roll Hotel celebrates its 11th anniversary this month with a series of special concerts. North Carolina soul singer Lee Fields started releasing music in the 1960s and released his most recent album, Special Night, last year—quite a prolific career for a man known as “Little JB” for his physical and vocal resemblance to James Brown. Fields will be joined by his backing band The Expressions; Aztec Sun open. Tickets $25, 9 PM.


FESTIVAL The first annual Capital Chili Cookoff takes place at the Bullpen at Half Street Fairgrounds. The chef who cooks up the winning batch will represent DC in the World Chili Cook-off Championship in Nevada in October. Admission includes free chili samples, the ability to vote for the winner in the “People’s Choice” category, and unlimited beer samples from local breweries, including DC Brau, Atlas Brew Works, RAR, and Brewer’s Art. Tickets $45, 3 PM.

MUSIC Godfather of Go-Go Chuck Brown would’ve celebrated his 81st birthday on August 22. The Third Annual Chuck Brown Day will take place at Chuck Brown Park. There will be food trucks on site while local bands We Are One Tribute Band, EU (featuring Sugar Bear), and the Chuck Brown Band play Brown’s classic hits. Free, 3 PM.


SKATE The RFK Campus Block Party takes over the Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Local pro skateboarder Darren Harper will be on hand, as well as Mountain Dew skaters Chris Colbourn and Jordan Maxhamthe Shaw Boyz, and all-female skater group Skate Girls Tribe. Watch demonstrations, play games, enjoy food, and watch the unveiling of a new mural on RFK’s Skate Park. Free, 12 PM.

BEER DC Beer Week begins Sunday. There are tons of events all week long, but ease into a week of drinking with “Drink the Extinct”, a history lesson (and tasting event) about the beer your great-grandparents drank. At Gordon Biersch Navy Yard, sample two old recipes: DC Brau’s Heurich’s Lager, first brewed in the 1870s, and Gordon Biersch Rockville’s Potomac Porter, a beer manufactured by German immigrants in English breweries. $15, 6:30 PM.