Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (January 16-20): Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an Immigrant Film Series, and Punk Photography

See photography by Farrah Skeiky at the Transformer exhibit “PRESENT TENSE: DC Punk and DIY Right Now” from 1/18 to 2/29. Photograph by Farrah Skeiky.


THEATER Mosaic Theater’s Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival continues this week with Pilgrims Musa & Sheri in the New World. Written by Steinberg New American Play Awardee Yussef El Guindi, the play seems like a chipper romantic comedy on the surface: an Egyptian immigrant picks up a quirky American waitress after her shift. But as their relationship deepens, the characters are forced to examine their beliefs. Through February 16 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. $20-$65 (1/16 is Pay What You Can).

POETRY The Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop inspires incarcerated DC youth through reading and poetry writing, sparking healing through self-expression. Hear the poems of former and current inmates at a reading at the Takoma Park Community Center Auditorium. Free (donations to Free Minds will be accepted), 7:30 PM.


ART ARTECHOUSE’s newest exhibit, “Future Sketches,” brings the creative coding of artist Zach Lieberman to life with interactive installations that adapt during visitors’ movements or generate augmented masks for guests. Lieberman writes his own software for his artwork and has co-created an open source C++ toolkit called openFrameworks. Through March 1.

MUSEUMS Artist Delita Martin centers African American women in her large-scale, mixed-media prints. With a nod to African tradition, Martin’s artwork illustrates the connections between family generations and the spiritual world. An exhibit of her work, “Calling Down the Spirits,” will be on display at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Through April 19. $10.

THEATER Khaled Hosseini’s New York Times bestselling novel A Thousand Splendid Suns has been adapted into a play of the same name that opens on Friday at Arena Stage. Two Afghan women come together during the war, forming an unusual friendship and fighting together for survival. Through March 1. $56 – $115.


PHOTOGRAPHY The latest exhibit at Transformer, “PRESENT TENSE: DC Punk and DIY Right Now,” will showcase the photographs of Farrah Skeiky, who captures the local punk, hardcore, and DIY music scene. Skeiky aims to show that DC’s counterculture still thrives in the modern day; her first photo book (Present Tense: DC Punk and DIY Right Now) will be released February 22.  The exhibit will have a few special events throughout its run, including an artist talk with fellow punk photographer Cynthia Connolly on February 1, an all-ages DIY Day to benefit Girls Rock! DC on February 8, and the official book release celebration on February 22. Exhibit: Through February 29. Reception: 1/18, 6-8 PM. Artist talk: 2/1, 5-6:30 PM. GIrls Rock! DIY Day: 2/8, 1-4 PM. Book release: 2/22, 6-8 PM.

BASKETBALL Watch a high school basketball tournament at the Kevin Durant MLK Classic at The St. James in Springfield. See teams from the DMV (Archbishop Carroll, Bullis School, Sidwell Friends, Woodrow Wilson High School) and around the US and Canada compete on Saturday and Monday. $20 per day or $35 for both days.

CELEBRATE Woolly Mammoth is celebrating the five-year anniversary of Black Lives Matter DC with a “BLK Joy” dance party. Enjoy free food, drink specials, and DJed music at an event that also celebrates the theater’s LOVE DRIVE, an initiative that generated almost 4,000 love letters to Black people in the face of this anti-Black society. Free, 10 PM.


FILM The National Gallery of Art presents a series to show films by and about immigrants and asylum seekers. “Displaced: Immigration Stories” is presented in conjunction with the gallery’s current installation “Richard Mosse: Incoming”; the first screening will present The Foreigner’s Home, which shows footage of Toni Morrison in conversation with artists such as Kendrick Lamar and filmmaker Charles Burnett talking about race and identity during an exhibit she curated at the Louvre. The short film Over, about a crime scene in a London neighborhood, will also be screened. “Displaced: Immigration Stories”: through March 22. Over and The Foreigner’s Home: 1/19, Free, 4 PM.

MUSIC Hear the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” at the Washington National Cathedral. Dr. King’s words—“Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection”—are seen as a challenge to the white church during the civil rights movement. Ponder what has (or hasn’t) changed in the nearly 60 years since Dr. King wrote these words and hear musical performances from Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir and the Cathedral Band. Free, 4 PM.


LECTURE Get a crash course in current events in South America with American University research fellow Fulton Armstrong at a Profs and Pints lecture at the Bier Baron. In addition to a recap of recent news (including riots in Chile, strikes in Colombia, and a contested election in Bolivia), Armstrong will talk about the possible paths forward for these nations, from authoritarianism to other possible political systems. $12 in advance or $15 at the door, 6 PM.

VOLUNTEER The Rock Creek Conservancy celebrates MLK Day every year with a Weekend of Service to encourage locals to clean up neighborhoods around the Rock Creek together. Pick up trash, remove invasive plants, or cut back overgrown bamboo at various locations; each site and time requires sign-ups in advance. Free, times vary by location.

PARADE Celebrate the memory and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. with the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Parade, which has run annually since 1979. The parade will start at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE and Good Hope Rd. SE and will proceed through Anacostia on Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, ending at the campus of St. Elizabeth’s East with a Health and Community Fair. Free, 11 AM.

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

“Judy Chicago—The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction” closes 1/20 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

“Live Dangerously” closes 1/20 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.