Things to Do

Hear the NSO, Bake an Upside-Down Cake, and Watch Climate Films: Things to Do in DC, March 18-21

Plus: A new book club to try.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi everyone!

We’ve got climate films, cherry blossoms, and lots of music.

Start celebrating the soon-to-bloom cherry blossoms.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

DC news: The other DC, actually. The four-hour long director’s cut of Justice League, which is now simply Zack Snyder’s Justice League, hits HBO Max today. See the all-star superhero crew with Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, and Ezra Miller’s Flash. Long story short, Snyder was unable to finish the original 2017 film, so a different director was brought in and the result was literally the worst. Basically, this is Snyder’s super expensive, ridiculously lengthy, possibly improved (?) redo. Are you gonna watch it? Let me know what you think.

Master of metal: Georgia artist Noah James Saunders creates life-size figures with wires, crafting detailed portraits with small pieces of metal. See his works up close in the new exhibit, “Sculpting Shadow,” at the Amy Kaslow Gallery in Spring Valley (mask up). Open Thursday 3/18 through 4/25; Free, learn more here.

Get smart: Now in its 29th year, the DC Environmental Film Festival starts its eleven-day lineup of screenings today. Hear remarks from Jane Fonda before digging into the various climate films and documentaries, including INHABITANTS: An Indigenous Perspective—which looks at five Native American tribes’ new and traditional ways to manage their lands—and The Falconer, about DC native Rodney Stotts, a falconer and raptor expert. Thursday 3/18 through Sunday 3/28; individual screening prices are capped at $10 and festival passes are available at $45, buy tickets here.

Touching tribute: Pianist Daryl Davis is hosting his annual performance dedicated to musicians who died last year, “Thanks For The Memories 2020!” His Daryl Davis Band, featuring guest vocalists, will play tributes to stars including Little Richard, Eddie Van Halen, Charley Pride, Helen Reddy, Johnny Nash, Ja’Net DuBois, and more. They’ll perform indoors at the Birchmere in Alexandria, so (obviously) mask up. Friday 3/19 at 7:30 PM; $29.50, buy tickets here.

Reunited: Gianandrea Noseda and the National Symphony Orchestra are releasing a series of filmed classical concerts over the course of the next few months. In the first program, they will perform works by Mozart, Sibelius, and J. Bologne (also known as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges). Friday 3/19 at 6 PM; Free, watch it on Facebook here.

Jazz it up: Watch “Dizzy Spellz,” a show filmed at Sixth & I that digs into the life, influences, and music of jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie. In this event from Washington Performing Arts, trumpeter Sean Jones performs Gillespie classics as choreographer Brinae Ali dances tap. After the performance, Jones and Ali will lead a panel discussion about Gillespie and Afrofuturism. Friday 3/19 at 8 PM (stream it through Thursday 3/25); $20, buy tickets here.

Family fun: Join meditation teacher Aparna Sadananda and the Phillips Collection’s Donna Jonte in a craft-making workshop on orizomegami, the art of folding and dying paper. The class will focus on the 1967 piece “Red Petals” by abstract painter Sam Gilliam, who was part of the Washington Color School. Saturday 3/20 at 10 AM; $16, buy tickets here.

In bloom: We’re about to enter cherry blossom season (peak bloom is predicted to be April 2-5) so the American Art Museum is hosting a virtual celebration. The family-friendly fun includes a show by Nen Daiko—a group that performs Japanese Taiko drumming—and arts and crafts activities that you can do from home. Saturday 3/20 at 10 AM; Free, learn more here.

More cherry blossom fun: The National Cherry Blossom Festival is encouraging folks to take the floral fun home with a Petal Porch Parade. Anyone is welcome to decorate their front porches, or you can tour the city to see houses looking pretty in pink. Saturday 3/20 through 4/11; Free, learn more here.

Get baking: Learn how to bake a fruity upside-down cake in a Sixth & I workshop with Hannah Wolfman-Arent, who bakes at Sonny’s Pizza. She’ll walk through her approach to the dish and offer options to customize the cake with nuts, fruits, and gluten-free and kosher adjustments. Sunday 3/21 at 11 AM; $30, buy tickets here.

Watch Rosie, she’s riveting: In the documentary, Invisible Warriors: African-American Women in World War II, professor and director Gregory Cooke interviews pioneering Black women who changed jobs to work in government administration and war production in the 1940s. Watch the film screening and hear from Cooke in this event from the DC Public Library. Sunday 3/21 at 2 PM; Free, watch it on YouTube here.

Something new:

Try a book club.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Kennedy Center’s new book club, which starts in May:

Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center’s artistic director for jazz, is kicking off the virtual book club, which will highlight works that touch on performing arts, music, history, and culture. In three meetings this year, Moran is inviting the public and various panelists to discuss Toni Morrison’s Jazz, James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, and Jacqueline Woodson’s Red at the Bone.

On May 4, Moran will lead a conversation about Jazz with Grammy-winning jazz singer Dianne Reeves and poet/writer (and DC native) Elizabeth Alexander. (Registration for this event is currently open.) In August, the club will chat about Johnson’s fictional autobiography, which follows an unnamed mixed-race protagonist who struggles with squaring his identity with his musical career. Princeton African American studies professor and interdisciplinary scholar Imani Perry and sax player Mark Turner will walk through the novel with Moran. Jacqueline Woodson herself will join the discussion about her novel, Red at the Bone, in October with Moran and blues/folk/rock/gospel singer Toshi Reagon.

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.