Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Week (August 6-8): Strange Smithsonian Jobs, a Songwriting Circle, and Anime for All

Ruby Slippers curator Dawn Wallace will speak about her work at the American History Museum on Monday at the S. Dillon Ripley Center. Photo by National Museum of American History Photographer Jackie Nash.


LECTURE If you’re curious what actually goes on behind the scenes at the Smithsonian museums, check out the “Strange and Curious Smithsonian Jobs” lecture at the S. Dillon Ripley Center. In this session, Smithsonian Sidedoor podcast host Tony Cohn will chat with the experts behind some of the Smithsonian’s most sparky assets: the National Gems and Minerals Collection and Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers. Dawn Wallace is the object conservator at the American History Museum who preserves Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers by analyzing the materials in the shoes to create a controlled and sustainable environment for them. At the Natural History Museum, geologist Jeffrey Post, chair of the mineral science department, works to acquire new gems and minerals and analyze them for scientific research. $45, 6:45 PM.

BOOKS Concussions aren’t the only downside to playing in the NFL: research scientist Robert W. Turner II explores the league’s policies in his new book, Not for Long: The Life and Career of the NFL Athlete. Drawing on his own experience (playing in the United States Football League, the Canadian Football League, and briefly in the NFL) and interviews with over 100 current and former NFL players, Turner writes about the labor agreement that provides few long-term benefits and leaves players with chronic pain and limited options for their futures. A professor of clinical research and leadership at George Washington, Turner will speak about his research and findings at Politics & Prose. Free, 7 PM.


MUSIC Check out five local/regional singer-songwriters—and hear the stories behind their songs—at a songwriter circle at Pearl Street Warehouse. Performers include E.P. Jackson (of the WeatherVanes), Olivia Mancini, Bronsen Euard, Sara Curtin (of the Sweater Set), and Conor Brendan (of Conor & The Wild Hunt). $10, 7 PM.

FILM Richard Rodgers Tribute Gala celebrates the centennial of the Broadway composer’s birth in this recording from London’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane of song and dance performances by Judi Dench, Sally Burgess, and Kim Criswell. Hear some of Rogers’s greatest hits, including “Some Enchanted Evening,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Sixteen Going On Seventeen,” and “Oklahoma!” The film will screen on Tuesday at Landmark’s West End Cinema. $15, 7 PM.


FILM Russian poet Anna Barkova was a rising star in the early 1920s, but ended up imprisoned in the Gulag system for over 20 years after being openly critical of Soviet life. The 2017 film 8 Heads of Madness (8 hlav šílenství), screening on Wednesday night at the Avalon, tells the story of her life; the film is divided into eight chapters, each of which has a different visual style and inspiration. $12.50, 8 PM.

MUSEUMS The Library of Congress is hosting a celebration of east-Asian pop culture and mythology called “Anime for All.” Over three days, join a series of events showcasing Japanese storytelling traditions, starting with a musical performance by The Washington Toho Koto Society (8/8, 11 AM). Thursday’s events will feature a display tracing the history of Japanese storytelling into the modern day (8/9, 10 AM to 3:30 PM), a screening of the film The Tale of Princess Kaguya (1 PM), and a lecture by writer/actor Kihara Hirokatsu (5 PM). Young fans can get involved on Friday with a storytime event with Japanese stories, music, and art (10:30 AM). Through August 10. All events are free, but advanced registration is recommended.