MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
BOOKS Singer-songwriter/activist Billy Bragg doesn’t shy away from sharing his political views in lyrics or in between performing his punk- and folk-influenced songs. He’s put his thoughts to paper in his new book, The Three Dimensions of Freedom, and he’ll discuss his call to action with Washington Post political correspondent David Weigel at Politics & Prose on Monday evening. This weekend, from Thursday through Saturday, Bragg will perform at the Birchmere. Politics & Prose: 9/16, free, 7 PM. Birchmere: 9/19-9/21, $55, 7:30 PM.
THEATER Mosaic Theater Company’s Locally Grown Mosaic reading series presents a reading of Bob Bartlett’s Anacostia Flats at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Set in 1932, the play follows a Howard University journalism student who observes thousands of World War I veterans protesting and demanding payment of their war bonuses—which is based on a real protest. $15, 7 PM.
POETRY The Folger Shakespeare Library kicks off its 51st season of the O.B.Hardison Poetry Series with readings by three different poets: Fanny Howe, Ilya Kaminsky, and Danez Smith. Stick around after the readings for a discussion and book signing. $15, 7:30 PM.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
THEATER The trailer for the upcoming Cats film (with Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, and more) was highly ridiculed due to its absurd special effects and bizarre-looking feline/human anatomy. If you love the Andrew Lloyd Webber score—can you hear “memories, all alone in the moonlight” playing?—but want to avoid the CGI-heavy movie characters, see it onstage at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House. It’s the musical’s first-ever Broadway revival tour. Through October 6. $49-$149.
BOOKS New York Times columnist Carl Zimmer’s book She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity explores the impact of hereditary traits and how they’re passed from one generation to the next. Zimmer will discuss his research at the National Museum of Natural History with museum director Kirk Johnson. $5, 6:45 PM.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
LECTURE Who would win the title of “worst president ever”? While some recent names might jump to mind, University of Maryland College Park history professor Michael Ross argues we have to look further back. In his Profs & Pints lecture at the Bier Baron, Ross will examine President Andrew Johnson’s career. Johnson was a questionable choice for Lincoln’s running mate from the beginning and he holds the esteemed position of being the first president ever to be impeached by the House of Representatives. Ross will describe the political climate after Lincoln’s assassination, how Johnson handled Reconstruction, and the lasting impact on race in America afterwards. $12 in advance or $15 at the door, 6 PM.
THEATER The comedy School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play portrays a group of students—including a new transfer student from the United States—who are all vying for the title of Miss Ghana 1986. Based on the real 2011 pageant when an American-born light-skinned woman won, the play explores colorism and this production features an all-female cast and creative team. The play runs at Round House Theatre through October 13. $32-$73.