Things to Do

Queer Portraiture, Criticizing White Feminism, and a Spy Chat with Former Intelligence Officials: Things to Do in Washington, January 11-13

Plus: Decompress with photos of cute baby animals at the zoo.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi everyone,

We’ve got book talks, artist talks, and intelligence talks.


Explore the history of feminism and its exclusion of Black women and women of color in a book talk this week.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Calling out: White feminists! In her book, White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind, former Jezebel editor-in-chief Koa Beck digs into the feminist movement’s history of excluding Black women and women of color. Beck will speak with Ruby Hamad, author of White Tears/Brown Scars, and The New Republic reporter Melissa Gira Grant in a virtual book talk hosted by Politics and Prose. Monday 1/11 at 6 PM; Free ($28-$35 to purchase Beck’s book), buy tickets here.

Investigative history: University of Maryland history professor Daryle Williams is exploring the history of the transatlantic slave trade in his open-source web portal, In the Profs and Pints lecture “Encountering the Enslaved,” Williams will discuss his ambitious archival work to “reconstruct the lives of individuals who were enslaved, owned slaves, or participated in the historical trade.” Monday 1/11 at 7 PM; $12, buy tickets here.

Artist talk: Join queer visual artists Antonius-Tín Bui and David Antonio Cruz as they chat on Zoom with National Portrait Gallery curator Taína Caragol about how they use through portraiture and performance to express and honor their identities. Tuesday 1/12 at 5 PM; Free, register here.

Book chat: Author Angie Thomas is releasing Concrete Rose, a prequel to her 2017 novel The Hate U Give. (You might’ve seen the film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg.) Thomas will be in conversation with YA novelist Nic Stone and MahoganyBooks co-owner Ramunda Young in a virtual book talk. Tuesday, 1/12 at 7 PM; $24 (book delivery included), buy tickets here.

Questions, answered: After the chaos that unfolded at the Capitol last week, the Spy Museum is hosting a virtual event with museum director Chris Costa and John O. Brennan, former CIA director and, before that, Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism advisor under Obama. Costa and Brennan will discuss the intelligence implications of the pro-Trump rioters’ attack and what to expect next. Thursday 1/14 at noon; Free, register here.

If you need a breather: It’s been an acutely stressful few days. You might enjoy scrolling through these adorable photos of baby animals at the zoo.

In the news: 

Hear 19-year-old Virginia Brown’s account of what it was like to be in the Capitol last week.

Last week, when the mob had breached the Capitol, Senate staff was safely escorted to a secure location, and some staffers in the Senate Parliamentarian office made sure to bring the boxes of electoral college votes with them. As onlookers online tried to identify which quick-thinking hero to thank for rescuing those boxes, one photo went viral. Thousands praised the young women pictured, but it turned out that the photo had been taken earlier in the day. Virginia Brown, a 19-year-old chamber assistant, was one of the staffers photographed; She later clarified that “credit goes out to the ones who actually did risk their own safety for all of us.” I talked to Brown, a Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School alum, about what it was like to be in the Capitol that day–and return later that night to help Congress finish certifying Joe Biden’s win. Here’s an excerpt from that story:

“We came back and part way through [the debate], they got everyone around the floor and told us we were sheltering in place on the Senate floor. At that point, they thought it was the safest place to be, because it’s pretty hard to get up to. We knew there were people climbing on the police towers outside and on the lawn getting up against the building—we could actually hear them toppling the barricades. Someone said there had been shots fired in the Capitol. After about 10 minutes, Capitol Police came in and they were like, ‘You need to get out immediately.’ So we all—Senators, staff, everyone who was on the floor, which was probably 200-something people—rushed down the stairs and into the basement.

“I think just growing up in this era where you spend so much of your childhood doing school shooter drills, it felt eerily similar to that. You don’t know where whatever is happening is going on, you don’t know what it is, you don’t know how many people there are—if they’re gonna come find you. I knew we were protected by the security officers but even with that level of security there’s still that [thought] in your mind that something might happen, and I think that’s been drilled into kids for so many years that’s kind of what your mind automatically jumps to.”

Read the full story here.

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