Things to Do

Queer Art, a Ghost Tour, and a BUNCH of Virtual Festivals: Things to Do in Washington, September 24-27

Plus: What books are you reading through the pandemic?

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hello folks!

We’ve got virtual festivals, a new art exhibit, and a ghost tour.

Kicking off the official start of fall.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Jazz, live from your couch: DC Jazz Fest starts online today with 20 concerts highlighting international and local musicians, including the Chuck Brown Band, a trio led by Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, and rapper/singer Maimouna Youssef. The finale performance will actually be a live drive-in show at RFK Stadium to see French jazz harmonicist Frédéric Yonnet on Monday evening. Thursday 9/24 through Monday 9/28; Free, watch the shows on Facebook and see the full lineup here.

So many book talks: Listen to conversations with Colson Whitehead, Amy Tan, Jason Reynolds, Sandra Cisneros, Madeleine Albright, Ibram X. Kendi and dozens of other authors and prominent thinkers at the Library of Congress’s virtual National Book Festival this weekend. See the full schedule here. For the best way to plan your schedule of authors and talks, read Washingtonian’s preview here. Friday 9/25 through Sunday 9/27; Free, register here.

Vámonos pa’l cine: Upgrade your watch list and attend AFI’s online Latin American Film Festival. The full lineup features 26 films from 20 countries including US premieres, true crime stories, family dramas, and dark comedies. Friday 9/25 through Wednesday 10/7; Find out more about film prices and festival passes here.

Get lost: Elaborate corn mazes are starting to open up around DC to finally kick off the official start to fall. Catch opening day at Bowles Farm in St. Mary’s County, Maryland this weekend to walk through the stalks. Saturday 9/26; $10 admission, find out more here.

Local art: See “Queer Threads: Curious Spaces,” a new exhibit that is opening at Transformer Gallery and Whitman Walker’s cultural center The Corner featuring André Terrel Jackson’s “Crowns” and Zoe Schlacter’s “Darn” installations. You can see the works through window displays at both locations. In addition to the pieces on display, there are various upcoming artist talks and lectures focusing on queer artists, textile art, and the “queering of mediums.” Starts Saturday 9/26; Free, learn more here.

A concert for kids: The Columbia Orchestra will be performing two outdoor shows for young people at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods in Maryland. There will be live music, dancers in costume, and fun storytelling with Richard Maltz’s Aesop’s Fables and Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals. Saturday 9/26 at 10:30 AM and 1 PM; $10, buy tickets here.

In spooky news: If you can’t wait for October to start, you can now take a self-guided livestream ghost tour around DC with an app. The best part? There’s a haunted doll named Lily that you can buy to keep you terrified while you’re watching from the house. Bring on the Annabelle vibes.

A new show based in DC: I’ve mentioned before the upcoming new Netflix docuseries Deaf U, which is set on Gallaudet’s campus and follows the social lives of seven (very cool) deaf and hard of hearing students. Get a sense for what the show will be like with the new trailer.

If you read one thing today: There are no words for the pain and rage that many of us are feeling for Breonna Taylor. The cops who violently barreled into Taylor’s home and killed her will not be charged for her murder, the Kentucky attorney general announced yesterday. In “Miss Breonna Taylor,” Post critic Robin Givhan wrote a compelling reflection on the cruel theater of AG Daniel Cameron’s careful words. “No one would be held to account for Taylor’s death,” she writes. “Taylor was killed and the system shrugged. But at least [Daniel] Cameron called her Miss.” Read the whole thing here.

What else I’m reading: 

Tell me what you’ve been reading recently.

More than 1300 pages later, I finally finished reading the massive four-in-one book of NK Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy (and an additional novella). I couldn’t put it down. Okay, that’s not literally true—frankly the paperback was annoyingly heavy and sometimes bothered my wrists to hold—but it was an exciting new world that I loved diving into. Over the past few months, I’ve been firmly in the fantasy reading camp to escape the daily reality of this brutal pandemic but I think everyone has their own preferences. What books are you reading so far?

NPR’s Code Switch podcast just dropped an episode about pandemic reads and the debate over what genres are good to read (or avoid) in these intensely challenging times. I’m not really seeking out a good plague novel or some other such terrifying tome that will have me catastrophizing the next year or so, but other people are into that. Who’s that person in your family/pod/book club? One new work mentioned in the episode was Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, a creepy haunted house novel that explores the noxious remnants of colonialism in a remote Mexican town. I read it earlier this summer and it was a quick and eerie read that could be a good way to kick off spooky season if you’re ready for lingering nightmares and mysterious (but not fun) mushrooms.

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.