Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (August 1-4): International Beer Day, Arcade Games at the SAAM, and the Asian American Literature Fest

Check out the SAAM Arcade at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Saturday and Sunday. Photograph by Libby Weiler.


PUBLIC ART Nancy Holt’s Dark Star Park in Rosslyn aligns with the sun every August 1st at 9:32 AM—coinciding with the anniversary of Rosslyn’s Founding—and the spherical structure casts fascinating shadows. This year marks the 35th anniversary of Dark Star Park and the celebration includes a world premiere piece performed by Janel and Anthony on site (9 AM), viewing of the alignment (9:32 AM), and Nancy Holt film screenings (8/1 at 12:30 PM and 8/3 at 2 PM) at the Hirshhorn. All events are free.

BEER As if we needed a reason to drink beer, International Beer Day is celebrated on the first Friday of August. Get the party started a day early at The Berliner with a tap takeover by Maine’s Allagash Brewing. Try six beers (five of which are rare and small-batch) alongside a tasting of hot dogs inspired by various countries such as Denmark, France, and Mexico. If you’d like to get more specific with your celebration, then stop by ChurchKey to celebrate National IPA Day (which is the first Thursday in August). The bar will have over 20 hoppy brews from makers that specialize in the trendy beers including The Veil, Other Half, Aslin, and Drekker. Both events are free to attend (beer/food prices vary). Berliner: 6 PM; ChurchKey: 4 PM.


BOOKS The 2019 Asian American Literature Festival will run this weekend at Eaton DC, The Library of Congress, and Smithsonian Freer/Sackler Galleries. Stop by the LOC for author lectures including poet Arthur Sze and novelist Monique Truong; the Eaton will feature readings and a live recording of the VS Podcast with hosts Danez Smith and Franny Choi. Through August 4. Free.

FILM/MUSIC Watch Steven Spielberg’s 1982 E.T. the Estra-Terrestrial at Wolf Trap with John Williams’s Academy Award-winning score performed live by the National Symphony Orchestra. Re-live the magical adventures and friendship shared between a lost alien and a 10-year-old little boy. $40-$65, 8:30 PM.


GAMES The Smithsonian American Art Museum is celebrating games with its fifth annual SAAM Arcade event. This year, the arcade will emphasize the diversity of gaming audiences with its “Breaking Barriers” theme. The Indie Developer Showcase in the Kogod Courtyard will highlight LGBTQ+ developers, games made by people of color, and games that deal with mental health and disability issues. There will be a variety of consoles, arcade cabinets, and new games created for old consoles; those who are interested in hearing more can tune into a keynote speech by Tanya DePass of the organization I Need Diverse Games (8/3 at 6 PM) titled “Barriers Are Made To Be Destroyed, Not Just Broken.” ASL (American sign language) interpreters will be available on both days of the event. Through August 4. Free, 11:30 AM – 7 PM.

THEATRE The musical Legally Blonde has been bouncing around on- and off-Broadway for about a decade, but it makes its DC premiere this weekend at the Keegan Theatre. Based on the novel and 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon, the musical follows Elle Woods as she pursues an education at Harvard Law to win back her ex. Through September 1. $63.

FILM Lithuanian filmmaker Jonas Mekas was the first film writer for The Village Voice and founded New York’s Anthology Film Archives, helping to champion and promote the work of avant-garde filmmakers over his fifty-year filmmaking career. Mekas passed away in January and, in his memory, the National Gallery of Art is showcasing a number of his films over the next few weeks. The screenings start on Saturday with two of Mekas’s earliest works—1962’s Guns of the Trees and 1964’s The Brig—with MM Serra (filmmaker and Executive Director of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative) and Mekas’s two children (Oona and Sebastian) in attendance. The series continues Sunday with a screening of 1969’s Walden, which shows scenes from the filmmaker’s everyday life alongside visits with friends such as Lou Reed and John Lennon. Through September 1. This weekend, see Guns of the Trees and The Brig on 8/3 at 2 PM and Walden on 8/4 at 4 PM. All screenings are free.

MUSIC DC Brau is hosting the third edition of its all-day ska festival BrauStomp on Saturday, featuring The Pietasters, Eastern Standard Time, The Loving Paupers, and more. Listen to ska all afternoon in DC Brau’s parking lot; food trucks and DC Brau beer stations will be available as well. The show is all-ages (must be 21+ to drink). $30, 1 PM.


MUSEUMS The National Museum of Women in the Arts denotes the first Sunday of the month as its Community Day. Stop by and see the museum with no admission charge. In addition to the museum’s current exhibits (“More is More: Multiples” and “Betsabeé Romero: Signals of a Long Road Together”), join the museum’s free “Fierce Women” tour and hear about trailblazing women artists whose works are in the museum. Community Day: 12 PM – 5 PM; Fierce Women Tour: 1 PM (sign up at the information desk). Free.

FILM The documentary film Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse describes how Monet and his contemporaries (Van Gogh, Matisse, and others) cultivated and were influenced by gardens in their art. The film will screen at The Avalon on 8/4 and 8/6; the 8/4 screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Phil Grabsky. $15, 10:30 AM.