Things to Do

New Theater, Jazz, and a Beer-and-Pizza Fest: Things to Do in DC, February 25-28

Plus: How we're processing pandemic loss.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi y’all!

We’ve got a beer-and-pizza fest, jazz documentaries, and fantasy talks.

Me, every day. Hear about J.R.R. Tolkien’s friendship with C.S. Lewis in a virtual lecture.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Art talk: Join the Phillips Collection’s virtual conversation series to hear from Nekisha Durrett, a DC artist known for large-scale work with a comics-like style—one massive 2019 print reads “Go-Go Belongs Here”—and public installations, like the time she mowed a James Baldwin quote (“Yes, Lawd”) in the grass at the Parks at Walter Reed. Durrett will speak about her art and process with Phillips curatorial assistant Camille Brown. Thursday 2/25 at 6:30 PM; Free, register here.

Looking to the future: Janelle Monáe. Solange. Jean-Michel Basquiat. Learn about the artists and culture makers of Afrofuturism in a virtual chat hosted by Mosaic Theater Company. “Afrofuturism: Past-Future in Art and Performance” will explore the Black sci-fi/fantasy aesthetic that originated with works by Octavia Butler and Sun Ra and continues in the 21st century with movies like Black Panther. Thursday 2/25 at 7:30 PM; Free, watch it on Facebook here.

If you’re missing live music: Capital Bop has reinvisioned its annual Jazz and Freedom Festival as a virtual fest featuring three short documentaries focused on DC venues that had to shut down in 2020 due to the pandemic. This week, hear about Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Society with an online performance by trombonist Reginald Cyntje and pianist Allyn Johnson and catch an interview with DeAndrey Howard, the trumpeter who managed the venue. The next two following Fridays will feature Twins Jazz (March 5) and Columbia Station (March 12). Friday 2/26 at 7 PM; Free, watch it on YouTube here.

Narnia and LOTR mashup: Calling my fellow fantasy fiction nerds! Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were friends? Apparently Lewis taught Tolkien about the Bilbo Baggins story idea of “there and back again,” and later, it turned out Tolkien really hated the Narnia series. Awk. Walk through the authors’ relationship and how they created their own imaginative worlds with Hal Poe, who teaches faith and culture at Tennessee’s Union University, in a virtual Profs and Pints talk. Friday 2/26 at 7 PM; $12, buy tickets here.

Virtually travel to Mexico City: Watch a performance from the Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández, hosted online by Washington Performing Arts. See various dances that reflect Mexico’s indigenous communities and cultures in this pre-recorded performance from 2017 that honored the group’s founder and namesake, Amalia Hernández. The event will also include footage from the Ballet Folklórico’s dress rehearsals in 2020 and a panel discussion featuring director Salvador López López, artistic director  Viviana Bansata Hernández, and dancer Sofia Segura moderated by Ix-Nic Iruegas, head of the Mexican Cultural Institute. Friday 2/26 at 8 PM (streams through March 4); $25, buy tickets here.

Beer fest: Head to Pizzeria Paradiso’s annual hops celebration featuring Neapolitan pies and brew samples from Atlas Brew Works. Try beers like the Precious One Fruited IPA or Silent Neighbor, which is a pumpernickel stout. The festival will be outdoors at the pizza spot’s Hyattsville location with timed reservations and socially distanced seating. Saturday 2/27 12 PM to 5:30 PM (there are three time slots you can choose from); $40, buy tickets here.

Unveiling: The Dance Institute of Washington is hosting a virtual grand opening celebration for its new venue, the Fabian Barnes Black Box Theatre, in Columbia Heights. Named for the organization’s founder, it will be the second Black-owned theater in DC, with a focus on supporting Black performers and artists of color throughout the city, Though Covid restrictions will keep the opening event online, the institute hopes to open to the public for performances and rentals in the fall. This weekend, DIW’s resident choreographer Ashanté Green is directing “Our Spiritual Journey,” a production that explores the history and culture of the Black diaspora through dance, for the live digital unveiling. Sunday 2/28 at 6 PM; Free, watch it online here.

Video drama: After its premiere was scrapped due to pandemic closures, the new play Inherit the Windbag, written by Washington Post satirist Alexandra Petri, has returned as a virtual play. This week, Mosaic Theater released the first of eight episodes for this series about the intense and entertaining debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. Washingtonian chatted with Petri about why she got so obsessed with the dramatic 1968 showdowns last year, and you can read the interview here. Stream it online now through June 30; $10, buy tickets here.

Look out for: Pete Buttigieg is getting his own documentary. Mayor Pete, from Amazon Studios, tracks Buttigieg’s life in Indiana and the historic campaign. Learn more here.

A vibe check: 

Photograph by Evy Mages

This week might have felt heavier than usual as we hit two tragic milestones: surpassing 500,000 deaths nationwide and 1,000 deaths in DC. It’s so difficult to comprehend this staggering loss across the country—our minds struggle to totally understand such big numbers. “Picture the population of Kansas City vanishing from the earth. Half a million standard US bricks stacked upon one another would form a tower almost 18 miles high. Imagine Britain losing as many troops as it did on the first day of the Battle of the Somme 26 times in a row,” writes my coworker Andrew Beaujon. On Monday, the National Cathedral tolled its bell 500 times, marking 1,000 deaths per peal, in a beautiful memorial. My coworker Jane Recker wrote about the need for our collective grief as she shared her experience listening to the full 50-minute-long bell tolling. You can watch videos of the powerful moment from Washingtonian photographer Evy Mages here

We recently published “Inside DC’s Secret Covid Morgue,” a feature story by Luke Mullins  about how the city has coped with handling mass casualties over the past year. Read it to learn the stories of the civil servants behind the scenes who have carefully tended to the dead to help lay them to rest and meet this crisis.

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.