Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (May 3-6): Embassy Tours, Marvin Gaye Day, and Bill Nye the Science Guy

Bill Nye will be at Alice Deal Middle School on May 4. Photograph by thepanamerican via Flickr.


MUSEUMS The National Building Museum is opening a new exhibit, “Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project,” to explore the three “secret cities” which housed the Manhattan Project. In 1942, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discreetly acquired vast stretches of land in remote areas of Tennessee, New Mexico, and Washington state. These rapidly-created communities hosted the development of the atomic bomb, and yet for several years they did not appear on maps and were not acknowledged by the federal government. The exhibit addresses the design and construction of each of these communities as well as their stories after the Manhattan Project. Through March 3, 2019.

COMEDY Washington Improv Theater is pairing its improvisers with artists from other disciplines in its new production Interplay. Every show will feature a different mash-up of an improv performer with a special guest from the world of music, puppetry, poetry, or dance. Through June 17 at the DC Arts Center. $15.


BOOKS In honor of Children’s Book Week, Politics and Prose is bringing Bill Nye the Science Guy to Alice Deal Middle School to celebrate the release of the third book in his Jack and the Geniuses series, Lost in the Jungle. In addition to the story (for ages 8-12), the book includes an experiment that kids can do at home. Nye will be in conversation with Planetary Society member (and P&P bookseller) Michael Triebwasser. Free, 6:30 PM.

LECTURE Celebrate May the Fourth (aka Star Wars Day) at the International Spy Museum’s annual “Star Wars or Spy Wars: Who Needs the Force When You Have Good Intel?” lecture. Museum historian Dr. Vince Houghton will delve into the the intelligence operations (or lack thereof) in the Star Wars empire, including the uses of deception and covert operations in the newest film, The Last Jedi. $15, 6:30 PM.


THEATRE Catch the DC premiere of The Undeniable Sound of Right Now at the Keegan Theatre. The play, written by Laura Eason (a screenwriter for House of Cards), follows a guitar player and rock club owner whose daughter begins to date a rising DJ, all the while touching on the bond of family and the generation gap caused by changing musical tastes. Through May 27. $35-$45.

OPERA The Washington National Opera presents Leonard Bernstein’s take on Voltaire’s satire Candide at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House. Naive and optimistic, Candide travels around the world discovering all sorts of human wickedness and natural disasters along the way as his path regularly crosses with the baron’s daughter he wishes to wed. Through May 26. $45-$275.

EMBASSIES Visit over 50 countries’ embassies as part of the 2018 Around the World Embassy Tour. Experience food, art, music, and culture—plus, get a rare peek inside their embassy buildings. Many embassies will also host demonstrations; previous years have included sari-wrapping lessons and dance performances. Free, 10 AM to 4 PM.

FESTIVAL DC’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and DC Department of General Services (DGS) celebrate the opening of the Marvin Gaye Recreation Center with the first Marvin Gaye Day festival. The block party starts with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of Gaye’s family, and there will also be live music by Black Alley and Gaye’s original group The Marquees. Free (with registration), 2 PM.

COMICS Free Comic Book Day takes a different approach from Record Store Day: RSD is a commercial endeavor, but on Free Comic Book Day, participating shops give out free comic books—no purchase required—to encourage more readers. Use the FCBD Store Locator to find participating shops; local stores include Big Planet, Fantom Comics, and Alliance Comics. Free, hours vary by location.


FESTIVAL Corresponding with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Fiesta Asia festival in downtown Silver Spring celebrates the growing Asian population in Maryland. The festival highlights all Asian cultures and features music, dance, martial arts, crafts, and—of course—food. Free to attend, 10 AM to 6 PM.

FILM Experimental filmmaker Ernie Gehr will discuss his work and show some excerpts from recent films at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium. Inspired by the work of Stan Brakhage, Gehr has been making films for over fifty years, creating abstract depictions of the familiar. Free, 4 PM.