Things to Do

A Speakeasy Night, Edgar Allen Poe Tales, and LOTS of Music: Things to Do in Washington, October 15-18

Plus: Talking about local journalism.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi folks!

We’ve got tales from Edgar Allen Poe, a speakeasy night, and lots of music.

Tune into an Edgar Allen Poe audio play.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Roaring 20’s: The National Museum of African American History and Culture is hosting a virtual Speakeasy Evening with a performance by dramatist, actor, and trans activist Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi. The event will also feature a genealogy workshop and panel conversation about the life of genderqueer writer and civil rights activist Pauli Murray. The night will end with a bit from DC-raised comic Sampson McCormick. Thursday 10/15 at 7:30 PM; Free, register here.

Spooky sounds: Skip a boring horror movie and instead tune into an Edgar Allen Poe-based audio drama, A Midnight Dreary: All Things Heard in the Heavens and the Earth. DC theater company We Happy Few is putting on a two-part performance adapted from popular Poe tales with an option to get a box of props with “atmospheric, historic, and story-specific elements” delivered. The first episode will come out Friday with The Masque of the Red Death and The Cask of Amontillado; the second will include The Tell-Tale Heart and The Premature Burial. Friday 10/16 and Wednesday 10/28; $10 for the play, $8 for the goodie box, buy tickets here.

Food for thought: Talk about food justice and the future of food security in the Smithsonian’s Food History Weekend. There will be a virtual gala on Thursday followed by a weekend of virtual talks including “Cooking Up History: Resilient Culinary Traditions within the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma” and “Deep Dish Dialogue: A Better Deal for Food Workers.” On Friday, hop into “Last Call: Beer Futures” for a DJ-ed event on innovative brews. See the full schedule here. Thursday 10/15 through Saturday 10/17; register here.

Homecoming: Like other HBCUs, Howard University’s legendary Homecoming celebration is so much more than a football game—and it wasn’t going to be cancelled due to the pandemic. The whole weekend is now online, with a lot of live music including performances by DVSN, Skip Marley, Lil Baby, Nas, and more. Power and Being Mary Jane actor Omari Hardwick will host the Virtual Yardfest with more special guests TBD. See the full schedule here. Thursday 10/15 through Sunday 10/18; learn more here.

Drama: Synetic Theater is opening a virtual play called Joy to open its 20th anniversary season. The production will include some audience interaction, too. Opens Friday 10/16; learn more here.

Live concert: Catch livestreamed performances from Miley Cyrus, Brittany Howard, G-Eazy, Phoebe Bridgers, Foo Fighters, Major Lazer and more in the Save Our Stages Fest this weekend. The benefit show comes from the National Independent Venue Association, which has been working raising money for emergency relief as Covid closures have continued to keep venues shuttered. Friday 10/16 through Sunday 10/18; watch it on YouTube here.

Classical tunes: Celebrate the 250th birthday of Beethoven with pianist Yael Weiss’s performance of “32 Bright Clouds: Beethoven Conversations Around the World.” Weiss commissioned piano sonatas from composers “from countries where conflict and instability create challenges for artists.” Hear the show on YouTube from the National Museum of Asian Art. Saturday 10/17 at 7:30 PM; Free, register here.

On the news: 

Local news matters.

A local journalist in rural Floyd County, Virginia was running a weekly newspaper on her own, but when she spoke frankly about the paper’s owner, Lee Enterprises, to the press, she was fired. Ashley Spinks’s tweet went viral on Tuesday after she announced that the media company ousted her for participating in the Virginia public radio story, “She’s a One-Person Newsroom, But Lee Enterprises Kept Cutting.” I was able to speak to Ashley about what happened when she spoke truth to power. Here’s an excerpt from our Q&A:

How did you feel after you received the news that you had been fired?

The firing was pretty abrupt. I wasn’t really given the opportunity to ask any questions or vent or sort of express any of my feelings about it directly to management. I was pretty gutted, I was emotional. It just felt so craven. I think everyone who works at a community newspaper kind of feels like they have the Sword of Damocles over their head; we’re all kind of anticipating that, at some point or another, we’ll be laid off, we’ll be fired, our position will be eliminated—because we’ve seen it happen to so many colleagues. It’s not that the firing in and of itself that was so unexpected, but it was just the circumstances of it. , and the fact that everyone in management knew that my wedding was coming up. Like, people on Twitter have said, “Well, that’s not a relevant factor, corporations have to do what they have to do,” but it just felt like, to me, there were so many better ways they could’ve handled it and it was really hurtful that they would put that on me and my family just a few days before this big celebration.

What pushed you to tweet about it?

I kind of struggled right off the bat with the decision of whether or not to even share what had happened, like, am I going to tell people on Twitter that I got sacked in the middle of the week because of this interview? Ultimately, it felt like I had already made my principles clear that I think we should be as transparent as possible and I think we should speak truth to power, and at this point, I have nothing left to lose because they already fired me. So I put it out there so that maybe a few people, especially local folks, friends, or allies in the industry, could maybe point me towards one or two opportunities that I could explore. I never expected it to take off the way that it did.

Read the full interview here.

Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at rcartagena@washingtonian.com.

Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.

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