Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (May 9-12): A Harry Potter Marathon, Party Like a Queen, and the International Spy Museum’s Reopening

The International Spy Museum reopens in its nePhotograph by Dominique Muñoz for the International Spy Museum.


MUSEUMS The National Gallery of Art’s final “Evenings at the Edge” this season finds inspiration from its upcoming exhibit, “The Life of Animals in Japanese Art,” which opens June 2. Take speed Japanese lessons, stop by origami and calligraphy stations, learn how animals have inspired artists throughout history, and listen to a taiko drumming performance. Free (advanced registration recommended), 6 PM.

BOOKS Singer-songwriter and social activist Ani DiFranco reflects on her life—from emancipating herself as a teen to starting her own record label—in her new book, No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir. DiFranco will speak about her career centered on musical integrity with NPR Music’s Senior Director Lauren Onkey at Sixth & I. Note that the evening does not include a musical performance or a book signing (a limited number of pre-signed books will be available, first-come, first-served). $20 (ticket only) or $42 (ticket + book), 7 PM.

THEATER The Gala Hispanic Theatre presents the US premiere of the bilingual version of FAME the Musical, which follows a group of talented students at a performing arts high school. Performances will be in English and Spanish with subtitles in both languages. Through June 9. $65.


FILM Calling all Potterheads: the National Museum of American History is hosting a Wizarding World Film Festival (and party). Watch all 8 Harry Potter films and 2 Fantastic Beasts films over the course of 5 days. The film series kicks off on Friday with a themed party featuring food and drink, arts and crafts, and a cosplay contest, followed by a screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Through May 14. Individual film screenings: $15 each. Friday only: $53 for Sorcerer’s Stone and party, 6:30 PM. All films plus party: $99.

PARTY Brightest Young Things is hosting a party at the National Geographic Museum in conjunction with the exhibit “Queens of Egypt.” Walk through the exhibit after hours, hear a live drum set from musician Madame Gandhi, check out drag queen performances, learn from Nat Geo Explorers at lightning talks, and, of course, enjoy an open bar. 21+, $60, 8:30 PM.


MUSEUMS The International Spy Museum is reopening at L’Enfant Plaza with several events this weekend. On Saturday night, the museum will host a ribbon cutting and nonprofit gala: Hear speeches from the museum’s leadership and Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Mark Warner, plus enjoy food, drinks, music, and a first peek at the new exhibits. (Those who just want to hear the speeches can attend for free and stand in the back). On Sunday, the museum will host a family festival outside featuring the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship Program, magician Peter Wood, and make-up artists to “disguise” guests. Saturday opening night gala: $299, 7 PM. Sunday outdoor festival: free, 10 AM. Sunday museum tickets: $22.95 in advance or free for moms (via phone).

EMBASSIES The 28 member countries in the European Union (yes, still including the United Kingdom) will be opening their embassies on Saturday. Walk through the embassy buildings, taste local food, and learn about each country’s culture and customs. Plan your route with the map in the EU Open House’s online brochure. Free, 10 AM to 4 PM.

SPORTS The Caps weren’t the only one of Ted Leonsis’s teams to win a championship last summer: His arena football team, the Washington Valor, had a historic playoff run to win the AFL championship, despite having won only 2 of its 12 regular season games. The league is up to six teams this season (from four last year), and the Valor’s first home game of the season is on Saturday at Capital One Arena, where they’ll take on the Atlantic City Blackjacks. Stay abreast of the action with the AFL’s Rules of the Game. $18-$130, 7 PM.

MUSEUMS The Freer|Sackler Galleries’ new exhibit, “The Way of the Kami,” highlights the Japanese religion Shinto and its worship of kami (deities) that “reside in the landscape, natural phenomena, and deceased ancestors.” Through November 11.

DANCE CityDance is hosting its DREAM Gala at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday night. This event benefits CityDance DREAM, a tuition-free dance program that provides dance opportunities for students in underserved DC neighborhoods. The performance will include ballet star Brooklyn Mack, tap dancers the Syncopated Ladies, and Philadelphia dance company Philadanco!, among others. Those with a special ticket can head over to the after-party at the Thurgood Marshall Center. Lincoln Theatre performance: $25-$42, 8 PM. After Party: $250.

FLOWERS If you want some blooms to spruce up your home (or, ahem, as a gift for mom on Mother’s Day), head over to the Rosslyn Blooms! Flower Festival at Central Place Plaza. Pick up cut flower creations and live indoor plants, or go DIY with workshops led by the Lemon Collective, including crêpe paper flowers and spring wreath designs. Floral arrangements: $30-$80; workshops require advanced registration. 10 AM to 5 PM.

BEER ChurchKey turns 10 in October, but it’s starting the celebration early. True to form, the bar will have some crazy out-of-market IPAs on draft from some of the most well-known IPA makers in the country. Stop by to check out two of Hudson Valley’s sour IPAs, plus IPAs from Southern California brewery Monkish, Massachusetts brewery Trillium, Maine brewery Bissell Brothers, and Brooklyn brewery Other Half—in addition to regional favorite The Veil from Richmond. Free to attend (beer prices vary), 11:30 AM.


FILM The National Gallery of Art celebrates the institution of motherhood with a selection of historic and recent short films presented as a collection, “Mothering Over Time.” This 90-minute selection of films includes works by mothers about motherhood and by children about their mothers, such as 1952’s A Portrait of Ga, 1989’s Martina’s Playhouse, and 2018’s Mom’s Move. Free, 4 PM.

BRUNCH Closet full of bridesmaids dresses? Give them a second chance at Penn Commons’ “Bridesmaids Dress Brunch.” Wear an old bridesmaids dress (either beautiful or hideous) and enjoy brunch with bottomless cocktails at half-price. If your mom wants to join in on the fun, she can don her wedding dress if she’d like! Brunch prices vary, 11 AM.