Things to Do

Marches, Indie Bookstore Day, and Public Art: Things to Do in Washington, August 27-30

Arts, entertainment, and fun in DC, Maryland, and Virginia right now.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hello everyone!

We’ve got public art, Indie Bookstore Day, and DC’s most beautiful takeout.

Photograph by Evy Mages
Photograph by Evy Mages

Here’s what you should check out this week:

In the streets: There are multiple protests around town, including Al Sharpton’s march, which happens on Friday. Get all of the details on Sharpton’s event here. Find out about other protests and rallies happening today and tomorrow here. Tonight there will be a go-go band outside the White House that will join protesters—organized by ShutDownDC, Long Live GoGo, and the Palm Collective—to make noise during Trump’s RNC speech. And if you’re on the National Mall tomorrow during the demonstrations, we have a map of where you can find bathrooms and places to hydrate.

Bookstores: This Saturday is Independent Bookstore Day. You can explore local book shops and virtual events like Zoom panels with authors such as Tayari Jones, Lauren Groff, and Kat Cho, and classes with various illustrators. Learn more about the Indie Bookstore Day events here

Art beyond reality: Black Lives Matter Plaza has become a center for activists and local organizers. Now you can experience augmented-reality art on the street as well. The digital art gallery Artechouse is featuring Vince Fraser, an artist in London, and his work “We Rise Above.” Through a phone app, you can see the Afro-surrealist graphics when you point your camera at the yellow letters. Learn more about the interactive art piece here.

Music: Explore space through sound with the US Air Force Band and Washington Performing Arts. Hear the Amelia Earhart-inspired piece “Courage” from conductor Christopher Tin’s To Shiver the Sky and watch interviews with NASA experts. The virtual event will also include a live interview with Tin and WPA head Jenny Bilfield. Saturday 8/29 at 7 PM; Free, watch it on YouTube here.

On the Mall: A team of Black architects created an art installation that will open on the National Mall on Friday. With SmithGroup’s “Society’s Cage,” the designers used statistical data on issues like mass incarceration, capital punishment, and death by police to create a cube-shaped sculpture that illustrates what they describe as “a cavernous void that symbolizes our imperfect society and justice system.” You can walk through and explore the installation for a week at 12th Street and Madison Drive, Northwest. Friday 8/28 through Friday 9/4; Free, learn more here.

Live music: See guitarist John Kadlecik, known for founding the Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra in the ‘90s, at the Birchmere. Yes, an in-person concert! Friday 8/28 at 7:30 PM; $15, buy tickets here.

More public art: The National Building Museum is hosting an outdoor exhibit, “Murals That Matter: Activism Through Public Art.” See 18 murals that were painted on boarded up storefronts downtown during the protests earlier this year in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Artists will be painting new murals outside the museum this weekend to celebrate John Lewis and organizers of the 1963 March on Washington. Friday 8/28 and Saturday 8/29 from 9 AM to 6 PM; Free, learn more here.

Work out: Though SoulCycle’s studios are closed, the company is hosting a “SoulFul Saturday” event with virtual workouts and workshops to raise money for DC’s Black Girl Ventures. Area instructors will lead a morning full of events. Saturday 8/29 starting at 8:30 AM; $25, buy tickets here.

Takeout beauty: There are luxury bento boxes that you can order for delivery in DC and they are really, really pretty. My coworker Jessica Sidman calls it “hands down, DC’s most beautiful takeout.”

What’s on my mind:

It’s a cruel irony that on the week of a national protest organized in response to the killing Black men and women by police—named “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks”—we are yet again witnessing a shooting on camera, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Police officers shot Jacob Blake at least seven times in the back. His name will likely be added to protestor’s chants for justice this weekend, along with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many, many others. Unlike the victims who came before him, Blake is still alive—now paralyzed from the waist down, according to his father. The protestors this weekend, in both Kenosha and DC, are in the streets to demand an end to that systemic brutality.

If you see one thing today, listen to Blake’s father, mother, and sisters. You can watch part of their news statement here. From his sister Letetra Widman: “So many people have reached out to me, telling me they’re sorry that this happened to my family. Well, don’t be sorry, because this has been happening to my family for a long time, longer than I can account for. It happened to Emmett Till. Emmett Till is my family. Philando, Mike Brown, Sandra. This has been happening to my family and I’ve shed tears for every single one of these people that it’s happened to. I’m not sad, I don’t want your pity, I want change.”

Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at

Rosa is a senior editor at Bitch Magazine. She’s written for Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazine.