Things to Do

Light Yards, Flamenco, and Flower Workshops: Things to Do in Washington, December 7-9

Plus: Making coquito for the first time.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hello hello!

We’ve got flower workshops, a new art installation, and a night of humor.

Catch a flamenco performance this week.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Clap your hands: Watch local flamenco dancer Edwin Aparicio perform a rousing virtual set of the traditional Spanish art form out of DC’s Republic Restoratives, a distillery based in Ivy City. This event is part of the Washington Performing Arts’s ongoing Mars Arts DC: Virtual series celebrating the local arts scene. Monday 12/7 at 7 PM; Free, watch it here.

All of the lights: Head to the annual Light Yards at Yards Park which will feature “Stars,” an immersive light sculpture from Australia’s Amigo & Amigo. Take a walk through the installation of massive stars with dancing lights and holiday music. Masks required. Monday 12/7 through January 4; Free, learn more here.

More from President Obama: PEN America awarded Barack Obama its Voice of Influence Award, which will be presented at the organization’s free gala online this week. Watch a conversation between Obama and renowned biographer (and previous PEN America head) Ron Chernow, and catch other celebrity appearances, including Spike Lee, Emma Thompson, Gabrielle Union, Bono, and more. Tuesday 12/8 at 7 PM; Free, register here.

If you need a good laugh: Politics and Prose is hosting a virtual “Stress-Free Evening with Four of America’s Leading Humorists” this week featuring Washington Post satirist Alexandra Petri, Vanity Fair’s Mike Sacks, and New Yorker cartoonists Bob Eckstein and Michael Shaw, who recently published The Elements of Stress and the Pursuit of Happy-Ish in This Current Sh*tstorm. Wednesday 12/9 at 6 PM; Free, register here.

Flower power: Learn the beautiful skill of floral design in a “Holiday Blooms” workshop from Hillwood designer Ami Wilber. She’ll walk you through making your own seasonal flower arrangement on Zoom. Wednesday 12/9 at 6:30 PM (a second session will be held on Friday 12/11 at 1:30 PM); $12 (materials not included), buy tickets here.

Pick your poinsettias: Plant and flower shop Rewild is opening a pop-up holiday market at Georgetown Park for the next couple weekends. Find poinsettias, garlands, wreaths, and more. If you’re looking for another floral workshop, try making your own seasonal hoop wreaths at Rewild’s virtual class on Friday. Market: Open Friday-Sunday through December 20; workshop is Friday 12/11 at 6 PM with kits starting at $58.

A new vintage shop: Snag vintage finds and donate your gently worn clothing to local charities at “Common Thread,” a new pop-up from DC design firm Swatchroom at Union Market. The shop will also feature an exhibit with works from multimedia artist Nicole Salimbene, sculptor/painter Michael West, and photographer Violetta Markelou. Open on Thursdays through Sundays throughout December; find out more here.

For more festive fun: There are some beautifully lit neighborhoods around DC where you can see impressive holiday décor and exciting light displays. Here’s where you can find some of the most decked-out homes around town.

What I’m making: 

Swap punch for coquito and this was practically me.
Did you have a good weekend? I tried karaoke on House Party with friends, finally saw Renée Zellweger’s transformative performance in Judy, and sobbed through the end of The Death of Vivek Oji. Set in Nigeria, the mystery novel from trans writer and artist Akwaeke Emezi unravels a heart-wrenching family drama about what happens when parents lose a child they never fully understood. Despite my tears, I’d totally recommend it.

One big thing I did this weekend was make coquito, Puerto Rico’s eggnog-like Christmas rum drink, for the first time. My grandmother Juanita Aponte passed down her recipe to my father, who has kept the tradition going for many years, and this time I finally decided to try making it myself. (Like many other Puerto Rican families, we’re pretty guarded about sharing the recipe—even between cousins the competition is real—but there are definitely many online that you can find easily since it’s now more popular in the US.) It’s a messy and intensive process, but it was really fun and honestly helped create a more festive atmosphere in the house I haven’t left in ages. The smell of spices filled our kitchen and it did start to feel—only a little—like normal times. Plus, my effort has already garnered positive reviews from some family friends, which was helpful since after sampling the third batch, I became a less reliable taste tester myself. All this to say, I think one way to get over any holiday blues this season could be in attempting family recipes that might bring you closer to your loved ones, even if you’re far apart. What holiday themed foods or drinks are you making at home?

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.