Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (September 19-22): Film Festivals, Fiesta DC, and Museum Day

See the short film Swatted at the 2019 DC Shorts International Film Festival, 9/19-9/28. Film still courtesy DC Shorts.


FILM The 2019 DC Shorts International Film Festival features 156 short films from 38 different countries. The films are shown at 19 showcases, each of which includes 6-8 films that range from 2 to 29 minutes long and includes genres such as romance, horror, sci-fi, or documentary. The festival also includes a DC Shorts Screenplay Competition on September 27, where audience members will hear six short scripts performed by local actors and vote on their favorite. The winning script will be filmed and shown at next year’s DC Shorts Festival. Through September 28. $15 per screening or $140 for an all-access pass.

BEER Vermont’s Hill Farmstead Brewery makes some of the most sought-after beers in the country and has held RateBeer’s “Best Brewery in the World” title for five years running. It’s no surprise that the brewery is part of ChurchKey’s 10th anniversary celebration, where 20 of the Hill Farmstead’s hard-to-find beers will be on draft. Try the out-of-production 2015 saison Flora (with blackberries, black currants, and raspberries), several IPAs (including the IPA Society & Solitude #6), and over a dozen other elusive beers. Free to attend (beer prices vary), 2 PM.

MUSEUMS Two exhibits open at the National Museum of Women in the Arts this weekend. “Judy Chicago—The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction” shows feminist artist Judy Chicago‘s works of painted porcelain, glass, and bronze that she created inspired by her own mortality. “Live Dangerously” presents a series of photographs of women by women showing the female figure in natural surroundings. The exhibit includes a series of 100 large-scale photographs by Janaina Tschäpe called “100 Little Deaths.” Both exhibits are open through January 20. $10.

MONUMENTS After a three-year closure, the Washington Monument will re-open on Thursday with its newly-modernized elevator system. Same-day tickets are available starting at 8:30 AM; tours can be booked in advance starting on October 10.


PARTY Celebrate the “End of Summer Camp” with Brightest Young Things at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Browse the David Levinthal photography exhibit after hours, take advantage of the open bar, and hear music from DJ Dan Deacon. Plus, you can channel your camp nostalgia making friendship bracelets . 21+ only. $65, 8:30 PM.

MUSIC Three years ago, singer/songwriter/ukulele-player Grace VanderWaal won America’s Got Talent—and used her winnings to start a foundation, Little Miracles, that helps bring music education back to schools that couldn’t otherwise afford it. Now at the ripe old age of 15 (!), she’s getting ready to release her second album and star in the film Stargirl on the new Disney+ service. VanderWaal will perform on Friday at the 9:30 Club. $30, 7 PM.


FESTIVAL The 48th Fiesta DC celebrates Latinx culture with a two-day event that includes a Parade of Nations on Saturday and a festival on Sunday. The parade will showcase more than 25 countries with music and dance; the festival will have four stages with live music, plus booths for food vendors and community organizations. Parade (9/21, 1 PM – 5:30 PM): Starts at Constitution Avenue NW and 7th Street NW and ends at Pennsylvania Avenue NW & 14th Street NW. Festival (9/22, 11 AM – 7 PM): Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 3rd Street NW to 7th Street NW.

COMICS Comic book writer Greg Pak will be at Fantom Comics to talk about his experiences as an Asian American writer. His latest, The New Agents of Atlas, is a newly revamped Marvel superhero team made up of Asian and Asian American characters such as White Fox, Aero, and Luna Snow, a K-pop star with control over frozen elements. The discussion will be followed by a signing. Free, 2 PM.

MUSEUMS Check out participating museums for free at Smithsonian’s 15th annual Museum Day. Local museums—outside of the always-free Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art—are dropping their admission charge on Saturday, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the National Building Museum. Reserve tickets for yourself and a guest to any participating museum in advance.

MUSEUMS In its exhibit “Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece,” the Freer|Sackler highlights a single work: a gilt wood sculpture of Gwaneum, the most popular deity in Korean Buddhism. This piece, which is on loan from the National Museum of Korea, is the oldest surviving gilded wood sculpture that shows a figure in an “informal pose.” Through March 22.

OTHER FESTIVALS Clarendon Day (9/21), H Street Festival (9/21), Zoo Fiesta (9/21), Wiener 500 Oktoberfest (9/21), King Street Art Festival (9/21-9/22), Taste of Georgetown (9/22)


MUSIC Capture some of the essence of Lilith Fair at the HERA Festival at City Winery. The fest celebrates women in music and features over 35 female or female-fronted acts such as Jill Sobule, Zoe Ravenwood, Elizabeth II, The Fuss, and more. Proceeds will benefit the non-profit ProjectHERA which helps to encourage women in their musical endeavors. $20, noon.

FILM The March on Washington Film Festival, which was founded in 2013, seeks to celebrate and share stories about the Civil Rights Movement. This year’s festival, which runs primarily at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium, will have a special focus on the role women played during the movement. See the documentary Dolores, which spotlights Dolores Huerta’s pro-union work with Cesar Chavez (9/26 at GWU); Althea, about 1950s tennis star Althea Gibson (9/27 at GWU); and Amazing Grace: the Power of Aretha Franklin, which will also feature a post-screening panel discussion about the impact and power of gospel music (9/22 at Washington National Cathedral). Through September 29. Screening tickets are $5-$20.

LAST CALL: Here’s what’s closing this weekend

“The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement” closes 9/22 at the Phillips Collection.