Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Labor Day Weekend (August 30 – September 3): Anacostia Park’s 100th Birthday, the National Book Festival, and A Play About a Toxic Workplace

Dive into the cutthroat culture of a magazine office in Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play "Gloria," at Woolly Mammoth from September 3-30. Photo by Cade Martin.


CEMETERIES Join Sabrina Sholts, a curator of biological anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, at the Historic Congressional Cemetery for an overview of the outbreaks and epidemics that affected so many of the Cemetery’s residents. In conjunction with the NMNH’s exhibit “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World”, Sholts will talk about how pathogens work and how some outbreaks spread; author and noted Twitter personality Tim Krepp will then highlight the illnesses of some of the more notable people buried at the Cemetery. This event is presented by Atlas Obscura Society D.C. and is suitable for those 15 and older. $25, 6:30 PM.

FILM The 2006 Australian drama Ten Canoes is the first movie ever filmed in Australian Aboriginal languages. The film follows ten men out on a hunt, who tell stories about a pair of brothers in the past; when one brother’s wife was kidnapped and he sought revenge on the wrong tribe, he had to pay a price. The film, partly in color and partly in black and white, will show at the Phillips Collection. $15, 6 PM.

COMEDY Comedian Steve Byrne will perform this weekend at the DC Improv. Known for developing and playing the lead role in TBS’s sitcom Sullivan & Son, Byrne has also put out numerous half-hour and hour-long specials on Comedy Central, Netflix, and elsewhere. Through September 2. $20-$22.


CELEBRATION Anacostia Park is celebrating its 100th birthday as a national park this weekend; the 1200-acre park will light up with events, starting with a go-go concert on Friday (Chuck Brown Band, Trouble Funk, and Reminisce All Stars) and continuing on Saturday with yoga, boat tours, and a disco skate party. Through September 1. Friday: 6:30 PM. Saturday: 9:30 AM – 8 PM.

BOOKS New York Times Magazine critic-at-large Sam Anderson presents a social history of Oklahoma City in his new book Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis. Starting with the “Land Run” in 1889, Anderson details the city’s fast growth and bad luck, touching on its triumphs, tragedies, and famous residents such as Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. Anderson will speak about Oklahoma City at Politics and Prose, where he’ll be in conversation with New Yorker writer Kathryn Schulz. Free, 7 PM.


BOOKS The 18th Library of Congress National Book Festival takes place on Saturday at the Washington Convention Center. The event will feature over 100 authors, including US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, novelist Amy Tan, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. There will be stages for many different genres, from fiction to history/biography to poetry; there will also be stages for children and teens. Check out the full schedule for specific times. Free, 9 AM.

MUSIC The Lincoln Theatre presents its third family-friendly Labor Day Music Festival, with free entertainment sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Friday is Latin Night, featuring Jason Cerda, Pablo Antonio y La Firma, the DCBX Dancers, and more. Saturday’s performance is GoGo Fusion Night, with DuPont Brass, the JoGo Project, Full Throttle Band, and The Experience Band. Through September 2. Free (first come, first served – doors open at 6:30 PM), 7 PM.

THEATER The Kennedy Center has offered its Page-to-Stage Festival for 17 years as a forum for the theater community to workshop new plays. Performances range from new play readings to rehearsals of plays in development. Through September 3. Free.


FESTIVAL Immerse yourself in Syrian food, dance, and music at the second annual Syria Fest. Centering around Freedom Plaza (Pennsylvania Avenue NW and 14th St NW), the family-friendly festival will highlight the country’s heritage and culture; there will be plenty of kid-friendly activities as well. Free to attend (advanced tickets recommended), 11 AM – 7 PM.

LECTURE/BOOKS Film scholar Robert P. Kolker delves into the work of Stanley Kubrick in his book The Extraordinary Image: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and the Reimagining of Cinema. Kolker will argue against the notion that Kubrick’s films are too distant at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium; he will show Kubrick clips that reference specific works of art and show deep emotion. A book signing will follow. Free, 2 PM.


THEATER Gloria marks the third Woolly Mammoth production of playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins; the theater also presented his works An Octoroon and Appropriate. Gloria depicts the cutthroat office environment of a New York magazine, with its gossiping and backstabbing culture. A gruesome tragedy at the office leaves the remaining characters working to figure out who deserves to tell the story. Through September 30. $20-$64.

THEATER As part of the Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage Festival, Signature Theatre is presenting a concert of songs from up-and-coming musical writers at the Millennium Stage. The concert will also feature songs from John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe‘s world premiere musical Blackbeard, which will open at Signature in June 2019. Free, 6 PM.