Things to Do

Things to Do in DC This Weekend (January 23-26): Gwendolyn Brooks’s Life, DC Record Fair, and an Underground Pop-Up Market

Manual Cinema performs “No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks” on Friday night at Strathmore. Photograph by by Julia Miller.


MUSEUMS The Art Museum of the Americas is pairing 20th century abstract works from its permanent collection with works from contemporary painter Freya Grand. “Landscape and Abstraction: Freya Grand and AMA’s Permanent Collection” shows the similarities in composition and color between Grand’s landscapes and the abstract works by artists living and working in the Americas. Opening Reception: 1/23, free, 6-8 PM. Exhibit: Through April 26.

LECTURE What defines a portrait? Artist Sheldon Scott’s performance and video work are included in the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibit “The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today” and reflect the history of African enslavement in the Americas. Scott will be in conversation with fellow artist Jefferson Pinder about how performance art can be a kind of portraiture. Free, 5:30 PM.


THEATER Astronomer Henrietta Leavitt worked at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s as a computer working to calculate the brightness of stars. She found 2,400 new variable stars and her work changed how we understand and measure the Milky Way. The work of Leavitt and her fellow female computers is captured in the drama Silent Sky, which runs through February 23 at Ford’s Theatre. Recommended for ages 10 and older. $20-$70.

PERFORMANCE After penning the powerful Annie Allen, poet Gwendolyn Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize for the work in 1950, becoming the first African American to receive the recognition. In “No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks” at Strathmore, theater group Manual Cinema tells the story of her life with shadow puppets, actors in silhouette, and a jazz score that incorporates Brooks’s poetry, performed live by a quintet. $35 in advance or $40 at the door, 8 PM.


SHOPPING The holidays are behind us, so you’re in the clear to do some selfish shopping. Dupont Underground is hosting the first-ever pop-up “Below Zero Arts Market,” which features more than 50 vendors selling jewelry, clothing, and more. Free, 12-5 PM.

MUSEUMS Check out a virtual tour of three Middle Eastern cities—Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq—at the exhibit “Age Old Cities: A Virtual Journey from Palmyra to Mosul” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. With large projections and digital reconstructions of ruins and monuments, the exhibit shows the importance of preserving heritage and architecture. Through October 25. Free.


PARADE Celebrate the Year of the Rat with the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, starting at 6th and I Streets NW, winding around the neighborhood, and ending at 6th and H Streets NW. See Chinese lions and dragons, marching bands, clowns driving miniature vehicles, fortune cookie tossers, and more—and don’t forget to see the parade’s firecracker finale. Free, 2 PM.

SHOPPING Flip through records from more than 40 vinyl vendors at the DC Record Fair at Penn Social. DJs will be spinning tunes all day, and there will be food and drinks available for sale as well. $5 for early bird admission (11 AM) or $2 for admission at noon.

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

“The Touch of Color: Pastels at the National Gallery of Art” closes 1/26 at the National Gallery of Art.

“Bonnard to Vuillard: The Intimate Poetry of Everyday Life” closes 1/26 at the Phillips Collection.