Things to Do

An Outdoor Concert, a Kentucky Derby Party, and Labor Day Fun: Things to Do in Washington, September 3-7

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

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi y’all!

We’ve got an outdoor concert, a new drive-in series, and Labor Day fun.

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend.

Here’s what you should check out this holiday weekend:

Gallery talk: Dig deeper into photographer Gordon Parks’s work in an interactive virtual chat with the National Gallery of Art. When Parks wasn’t directing Shaft or shooting for Life magazine, his powerful lens captured Black life in DC during the 1940s. Focus on one of his striking photographs in this analytical discussion. Friday, September 4 at 1 PM; Free, register here.

Local music history: Learn about guitarist Danny Gatton’s signature Anacostia Delta sound (which he also called “redneck jazz”) in the new film Anacostia Delta: The Legacy of DC’s TeleMasters. The concert film/documentary looks at the DC guitar scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and features archival footage and interviews with Washington-area musicians. The film will be released Friday, September 4; $19.99 for the DVD and digital download.

A live concert: A group of musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra is performing a socially distant show at the Kennedy Center, which will be livestreamed at the pop-up drive-in Park Up DC (on RFK Stadium’s campus). Up to 350 cars can attend the free show, but if you don’t make it, you can see the concert broadcast on the Kennedy Center’s social media channels on Monday, September 7. The drive-in concert itself is on Sunday, September 6 at 7 PM; register here.

Another drive-in: Crystal City is starting its own series of drive-in movie nights every Thursday in September. Tonight, you can catch Little Women after sundown. Be quick, though—these usually sell out! Thursday, September 3 through Thursday September 24 at 7 PM; Free, but advance registration is required, learn more here.

A Derby party: Jack Rose is hosting a Kentucky Derby viewing party on its rooftop—mint juleps and Kentucky-style snacks included. If you’re not up for actually going, you can join a virtual watch party and pick up a mint julep cocktail kit ahead of time. Either way, fabulous hats and Derby attire are encouraged. Saturday, September 5 at 5 PM; $89 a person to attend or $90 for the big batch drink kit to take home; make a reservation here.

Labor Day: Is it already the unofficial end of summer? Oof. There’s a few things happening around town to celebrate and we’ve got suggestions on what to do. Most importantly, here’s where you can find Labor Day food specials like crab feasts and grill kits.

Dinner and a show: Four local drag queens will be bringing their performances to your doorstep. Charlemagne Chateau, Emerald Star, and Jazzmin St. James D’Monaco will go behind the wheel to deliver food as part of Red Bear Brewing Co.’s “drag-livery dinner.” Learn more here.

What I’m reading:

Star Wars actor John Boyega is on the cover of British GQ for his first interview since the franchise concluded. Over the summer, he’s been outspoken about his experiences with racism, delivering a rousing speech at a Black Lives Matter protest in London that went viral. Boyega opened up to writer Jimi Famurewa and there’s so much I’d like to highlight but really you should just read the whole thing! An excerpt:

Even though he also acknowledges that [Star Wars] was an “amazing opportunity” and a “stepping stone” that has precipitated so much good in his life and career, he is palpably exhilarated to be finally saying all this. But to dismiss these words as merely professional bitterness or paranoia is to miss the point. His primary motivation is to show the frustrations and difficulties of trying to operate within what can feel like a permanently rigged system. He is trying, really, to let you know what it feels like to have a boyhood dream ruptured by the toxic realities of the world.

“I’m the only cast member who had their own unique experience of that franchise based on their race,” he says, holding my gaze. “Let’s just leave it like that. It makes you angry with a process like that. It makes you much more militant; it changes you. Because you realise, ‘I got given this opportunity but I’m in an industry that wasn’t even ready for me.’ Nobody else in the cast had people saying they were going to boycott the movie because [they were in it]. Nobody else had the uproar and death threats sent to their Instagram DMs and social media, saying, ‘Black this and black that and you shouldn’t be a Stormtrooper.’ Nobody else had that experience. But yet people are surprised that I’m this way. That’s my frustration.”

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