Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Week (March 19-21): The National Cherry Blossom Festival, an All-Female Bartender Battle, and Psychedelic Rock

Photograph courtesy National Cherry Blossom Festival.


FESTIVAL The National Cherry Blossom Festival officially kicked off this past weekend and runs through April 15. While peak bloom is expected to be March 27-31, the festival includes many more events beyond simply Instagramming the pink trees. Enjoy daily performances starting at noon at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area and ANA Performance Stage, the Blossom Kite Festival on March 31, and the inaugural Petalpalooza celebration with live music and fireworks on April 7. Free to attend.

BOOKS Washington Post food and dining editor Joe Yonan’s recent cookbook, America: The Great Cookbook, captures signature dishes and family favorites from chefs and food producers around the country, and the collection supports the No Kid Hungry campaign. Yonan will be at the S. Dillon Ripley Center to discuss cooking in America alongside several of the local contributors to the book: Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne of Georgetown Cupcake, New York Times contributor Joan Nathan, and Jerome Grant, executive chef at the African American History and Culture Museum’s Sweet Home Café. $45, 6:45 PM.

DRINKS The Mid-Atlantic regional division of the all-female bartending competition Speed Rack will take place on Monday at Union Stage. Attendees can sample a number of different punches and drinks made by local and regional bartenders. Proceeds benefit breast cancer research and education. Must be 21 to attend. $25 in advance or $30 at the door, 5 PM.


BOOKS The Human Rights Campaign’s National Press Secretary, Sarah McBride, was the first openly transgender woman to work at the White House (in 2012) and to speak at a major political convention (in 2016). Her memoir, Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality, recounts her journey and the loss of her husband to cancer in the context of the LGBTQ community’s battle for equal rights. McBride will be in conversation with Massachusetts representative Joe Kennedy at Politics & Prose. Free, 7 PM.

MUSIC San Diego psychedelic rock band Earthless has changed its sound on its newest album, Black Heaven, with the addition of vocals. The resulting songs mesh the trio’s riffy instrumental jams with lyrics, and their show at the Rock & Roll Hotel will likely feature tunes from both sides of the group’s career, decked out with trippy and colorful visuals. $20, 8 PM.


FILM Algerian director Karim Moussaoui’s first full-length feature, Until the Birds Return, tells three complementary stories set and filmed in contemporary Algeria. The three protagonists—a property developer, a young woman, and a doctor—all contribute to the film’s portrayal of a region rebuilding after years of turmoil. A Q&A with Moussaoui will follow the screening at the Avalon. $12.50, 8 PM.

LECTURE The Library of Congress and Arena Stage are presenting a series of interviews with American playwrights whose work has been commissioned for Arena’s Power Plays series. The next playwright to be featured is John Strand, whose new musical Snow Child is based on the Pulitzer-finalist novel The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. The play follows a couple living in the Alaska wilderness in the 1920s and opens at Arena Stage in April. Hear from the playwright and director Molly Smith on Wednesday at the Library of Congress’s Mary Pickford Theater. Free (registration required), 7 PM.