Things to Do

Lunar Landing, Virtual Art, and a Bass Concert: Things to Do In DC, April 12-14

Plus: The cherry blossoms are drowning.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

No air bass here: Listen to the real thing on Wednesday. 

Happy Monday! Assistant Editor Daniella Byck here, subbing for Rosa. We’ve got a talk about the lunar landing, art exhibitions, and a bass concert. 

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Space race: Yes, even the moon can’t escape earthly politics. Smithsonian curator Teasel Muir-Harmony, who wrote the book Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo, will discuss how the lunar landing was not just a scientific feat, but also a political move for then-President Richard Nixon. The virtual talk will explore the role of the Apollo 11 mission in fortifying American foreign policy during the Cold War. Monday 4/12 at 6:45 PM; $20, register here

Walk on the artsy side: Adams Morgan is filled with artistry—you just need to know where to look. A self-guided tour through the neighborhood features works from local artists displayed inside restaurants, cafes, and shops. Peek at the map to find the art pieces and support the area’s small businesses. Monday 4/12 (accessible until May 14); Free, learn more here

Poetry reading: Maryland’s former poet laureate Michael Collier and Khmer poet Monica Sok will recite verses related to the Phillips Collection’s centennial exhibit “Seeing Differently,which explores the concepts of identity and place. Moderated by the museum’s senior curator, Elsa Smithgall, the Zoom chat will also include a question and answer session. Tuesday 4/13 at 6:30 PM; $5 to $30, register here

All about that bass: Jam out to the funky tunes of Strathmore’s Artist in Residence Aaron Freeman during a virtual concert. The bassist goes by the name of “ijustplaybass,” and his music—a melding of jazz and R&B—will make you want to get up and groove. Wednesday 4/14 at 7:30 PM; Price varies, register here

Sip and sup: Silver Spring’s Denizens Brewing Co. is teaming up with food hall Ghostline for a three-course dinner at Ghostline that pairs beers with small plates. Denizen’s Ben Hunter will be on site at the culinary collective to walk diners through the hoppy combos. Wednesday 4/14 at 5 PM; $20, register here

Virtual galleries: The Justice Arts Coalition has organized a gallery highlighting mixed-medium works created by currently and formerly incarcerated artists, as well as teaching artists and advocates. Scroll and “stroll” through two virtual exhibition spaces until April 22. Free, learn more here

More art: Curator and Georgetown University professor Ori Z. Soltes explores the role of Jewish identity in the context of visual arts in a showcase, Authenticity and Identity. The exhibition at Cleveland Park’s Adas Israel Congregation features the photos, paintings, and sculptures of more than 40 Jewish-identifying artists from across the world. See the relics in person until May 14 or visit the gallery online. Free, learn more here.

Personal space: While social distancing remains de rigueur, restaurants are offering outdoor cabanas to rent for small groups. We’ve got some recommendations on where to reserve private spaces with waterfront views, seasonal decor, lounge areas, and more. 

Vibe check:

After a weekend of rainy weather, the cherry blossoms seem to have shed their pink petals. Sorry to be a Dani Downer, but our current flowerless status could one day become a permanent state as the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin die off. For Washingtonian’s April issue, I looked at the dire future of the flora and how creative landscape architecture could save the Tidal Basin—or reimagine the iconic setting completely. Here’s an excerpt from that story

The Tidal Basin’s beloved cherry blossoms are drowning. Twice a day at high tide, brackish water from the Potomac River floods the banks, plunging the walkway and the roots of its 3,800 cherry trees into standing, salty water. The culprit: climate change. As sea level in the Washington area continues to rise faster than anywhere else on the East Coast, the land itself is sinking, the byproduct of a prehistoric ice sheet melting and causing nearby ground to settle. Ongoing development, meanwhile, is causing additional runoff to the Tidal Basin. Leaving the trees and memorials to weather current conditions without intervention would thus be a death sentence for one of DC’s most celebrated sights. As it is, only 4 percent of the 3,020 original trees given to Washington by the Japanese in 1912 remain.

“If nothing is done, it is reasonable to anticipate that in some­where between 50 and 100 years, the place will be under water,” says Tidal Basin Ideas Lab co-curator Thomas Mellins.

Two years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Trust for the National Mall, and the National Park Service launched a design challenge called the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab, inviting five US landscape-architecture firms to pitch proposals to save the historic site, or completely reimagine it. The idea was to initiate a conversation and jump-start options for the Park Service to consider, as well as generate excitement among donors who could help fund the future.

Check out the design challenge results here.


Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.