Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (October 12-15): The Wharf Opens, a Halloween Festival, and Kara Walker at the American Art Museum

Kara Walker’s "Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats" will be on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s new exhibit of Walker's work through March 11.


MUSEUMS The National Geographic Museum’s new exhibition Wild: Michael Nichols looks back at the career of wildlife photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols. This is the first major exhibition of Nichols’ work, featuring his images of apes, elephants, big cats, and the landscapes of the Congo Basin and the American West. Nichols’ image of surfing hippos in Gabon, which Time included in its “100 Most Influential Images of All Time,” is among the photographs on display. Through January 15. Tickets $15.

FESTIVAL Washington City Paper hosts its annual Bacon & Bourbon whiskey festival at The Showroom on 14th Street. As the title suggests, the event features a variety of whiskey tastings as well as bacon dishes from local restaurants. Tickets $55, 7 PM.

MUSIC If you missed out on the Foo Fighters opening the new Anthem theater at the Wharf, you can can still attend the first concert at the Pearl Street Warehouse. The venue’s opening night will feature soul artist Booker T. Jones (without the M.G.’s). Tickets $75, 9:30 PM.


MUSEUMS The artist Kara Walker first used her cut-paper silhouette style to interpret images in Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War in 2005, presenting exaggerated caricatures that reflect racial and gender stereotypes and the origins of racial inequality in the 19th-century South. The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s new exhibit Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) shows Walker’s works alongside a selection of the original prints on which they are based. Through March 11.

HALLOWEEN Friday, October 13 is a fitting day for the opening of the Halloween festival CarnEVIL at Merriweather Park in Columbia. The festival features a scary Abandoned Circus in the woods, games and prizes, cocktails, and musical accompaniment from local bands and DJs. Not recommended for children under the age of 10, although the first available trip into the Abandoned Circus each night is a less-scary, “kid-friendly” show. Through November 5 on select days. Tickets $40.33.

PHOTOGRAPHY ArtWorks for Freedom founder and artistic director Kay Chernush is presenting a photography exhibit, “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking” at an outdoor exhibit at the Dupont Circle fountain. These photographs, taken from the perspective of the men, women, and children caught up in this web of human slavery, challenge viewers to imagine the desperation and horror that is the reality for hundreds of thousands of people. Through October 20. Free to attend.

FOOD José Andrés has spent the past several weeks in Puerto Rico providing meals to victims of Hurricane Maria. His charity, World Central Kitchen, focuses on providing chef-driven solutions to hunger and poverty; on the organization’s fourth annual World Food Day, more than 150 restaurants around the country will donate 10 percent of their proceeds to the group’s projects in Puerto Rico and Haiti. Participating DC restaurants include all of Andrés’s establishments, as well as Momofuku, Lebanese Taverna, Graffiato, and others.


FESTIVAL Artists from all over the country will sell their work at the 20th annual Bethesda Row Arts Festival. The festival includes nearly 200 artists working with media ranging from glass and ceramics to photography and sculpture. Free; Saturday 11 AM to 6PM, Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM.

MUSEUMS After months of renovations, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery host a re-opening celebration this weekend. IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures will include a food market with live performances outside the galleries, as well as demonstrations and interactive activities. Inside, the newly-renovated galleries are opening with several new temporary exhibitions, including cats of ancient Egypt, Buddhism in Asian art, and a large installation by artist Subodh Gupta. Saturday 5 PM to midnight, Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM.

COMEDY Comedian Jason Weems, best known for his “Good Ass Jokes,” performs two shows at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Weems competed on Last Comic Standing in 2015 and has appeared at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. The early show on Saturday night will have sign-language interpreters. Tickets $25; 7:30 PM, 9:30 PM.

KIDS The National Building Museum’s Big Build day will introduce kids to electricians, landscape architects, woodworkers, ironworkers, and other tradespeople. Visitors aged 5 to 10 can experience hands-on activities such as splitting wood, creating a wind chime, and pouring cement. Free, 10 AM to 4 PM.


FESTIVAL The third annual Takoma Langley Crossroads Diwali Festival celebrates the Hindi festival of lights and will expose visitors to a variety of Indian cultural experiences, including food, henna tattoo art, and children’s stories. Free, noon.

MUSEUMS The philanthropist Bunny Mellon was known for—among other things—designing the White House Rose Garden for her friend John F. Kennedy and for her family’s art collection, much of which now belong to the National Gallery of Art. Author Meryl Gordon will speak about Mellon’s public and private lives at the gallery’s East Building Auditorium, citing the research for her recent biography Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend. A book signing will follow the lecture. Free, 2 PM.