Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (February 28-March 3): Mardi Gras, the DC Brewer’s Ball, and a Psychedelic Light Show

Director Phillip Noyce and actor Michael Caine on the set of The Quiet American, which will screen during the DC Independent Film Festival (3/1-3/10). Photograph courtesy DCIFF.


DANCE The Washington Ballet’s production of The Sleeping Beauty tells the fairy tale of Princess Aurora and the timeless battle of good against evil—sealed with a true love’s kiss—against the music of Tchaikovsky. Through March 3 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre. $25-$160.

BOOKS Cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij spent three years traveling through her homeland of Iran to source her newest book, Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Kitchen Secrets. In addition to over 250 recipes, her book includes photos of the region and stories of local traditions. Batmanglij will speak about her recipes and her travels at Politics & Prose at Union Market. Free, 7 PM.


FILM The DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, continuing to showcase independent films in multiple genres while hosting seminars and workshops as well. This year’s schedule highlights Australian director Phillip Noyce, who is holding a master class on 3/2. Three of his films will screen throughout opening weekend; screenings will also include discussions with Noyce. The festival continues through March 10. All-access pass: $210; individual films: $9-16.

MUSEUMS The National Museum of the American Indian is celebrating Women’s History Month with The REDress Project by Jamie Black. This haunting outdoor installation of red dresses highlights missing or murdered Indigenous women. Through March 31.

THEATRE JQA takes on the complicated life of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president. Adams is recognized more for his political career outside of his single-term presidency—he was Secretary of State beforehand and became a congressman after. The play, written by Aaron Posner (Stupid F**king Bird), imagines confrontations between JQA and other political figures during his lengthy career, such as George Washington, his father John Adams, and his rival Andrew Jackson. In this world premiere at Arena Stage, each member of the four-person cast will take on the character of JQA and other historical figures at various times. Through April 14. $92-$115.

MUSEUMS The National Geographic Museum’s Queens of Egypt exhibit presents over 300 ancient Egyptian artifacts that help capture the lives of seven different Egyptian queens (such as Hatshepsut and Nefertiti). There’s also a 3-D virtual tour of one of the most well-preserved tombs in the Valley of the Queens. Through September 2. $15.


CELEBRATION Mardi Gras is officially next Tuesday (3/5), but you can celebrate early at The Wharf’s Mardi Gras party. The event features activities and crafts for kids and a parade at 3 PM that will include the Eastern High School Marching Band, stilt walkers, and the Washington Nationals Presidents. The evening will conclude with fireworks at 5:45 PM. Free, 2 PM – 6 PM.

PARADE Old Town Alexandria is also ahead-of-the-curve with its St. Patrick’s Day Parade coming a couple weeks before the holiday, which might be for the best as no one is sick of green beer quite yet. The event features over 2,000 participants, from pipe-and-drum bands and Irish dancers to dog rescue groups and historical re-enactors. The event starts at Market Square with a Fun Dog Show of costumed doggos to benefit the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (11 AM to 12 PM). The parade kicks off at 12:30 PM at King and Alfred Streets. Free.

BENEFIT Try craft beer for a good cause at the DC Brewer’s Ball at the National Building Museum benefitting the DC chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation. The event features over 40 breweries (such as Old Ox, Port City, and Brookeville Beer Farm); beers will be paired with food from 30 different restaurants, including Ambar and Ivy City Smokehouse. $150, 7 PM.


MUSEUMS Art/technology collective USCO (or “The Company of Us”) used lasers, projections, and music in performances in the 1960s; famously, the group collaborated with Timothy Leary on a 1965 performance Psychedelic Explorations that tried to recreate the LSD experience. USCO co-founders Michael Callahan and Gerd Stern will speak about their work at the National Gallery of Art; the two will also perform a rare live collaboration (using their original equipment!) and screen films of some of their past performances. Free, 2 PM.

THEATRE/KIDS Strathmore hosts the new original musical American Girl Live, where five campers take wisdom and advice from the various American Girl dolls they’ve brought with them. Musical numbers reflect each girl’s historical era. $30-$76, 2 PM & 6:30 PM.