Things to Do

Picnic Boats, Zumba, and a Book on Nancy Pelosi: Things to Do in DC, April 19-21

Plus: Meet the women of color in the DAR.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hey y’all! It’s me (Rosa, hi) and Assistant Editor Daniella Byck here. We’ve got a book talk on Nancy Pelosi, a new play, and some wellness fun.

It’s everyone’s favorite funofficial holiday.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Books: USA Today’s Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page just published her latest political biography, Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power (the result of more than 150 interviews with the House Speaker). Diane Rehm will interview Page on Pelosi’s life and influence in a virtual book talk at Politics and Prose. Monday 4/19 at 6 PM; Free (or Pay-What-You-Can donation), register here.

New views: Take a trip to Japan virtually with a new interactive online play from Georgetown’s theater program, Okinawa Field Trip, written by Professor Natsu Onoda Power. (She talked to Washingtonian a few years ago about co-creating the first ever go-go musical, Wind Me Up, Maria!) Meet Doug the dugong—like a manatee’s cousin—who will serve as the show host and walk through a tour of the island to see beaches, learn about food, and see the place that Power describes as “simultaneously the most beautiful, the most welcoming, the most oppressed, and the most haunted place I have ever been.” Monday 4/19 through Thursday 4/22 at 7 PM and Monday 4/26 through Thursday 4/29 at 7 PM; Free, register here.

Take care: We’re still in a pandemic, which means you’re probably in need of some TLC.  Union Market is hosting a month-long event series dubbed “Rise & Thrive,” featuring opportunities for self care at Zumba classes, wellness pop-ups, and rooftop yoga. Events are happening until May 16. Price varies, learn more here.

Food for thought: Former Bon Appétit food editor Molly Baz is celebrating the release of her first cookbook, Cook This Book, with a virtual conversation hosted by Sixth & I. Baz will be joined by former Gourmet editor and New York Times Restaurant Critic Ruth Reichl for a Zoom chat about the back-to-basics book. Tickets include an autographed copy of the recipe tome. Tuesday 4/20 at 7 PM; $38, register here.

Row your boat: Sure, you could dine at the waterfront. But what about dining on the water itself? Rent a picnic boat at the Wharf and bring a spread on board for happy hour on the Potomac River (boat driver must remain sober). Anyone age 21 or older with a valid license can skipper the pontoon. Read more here.

Sparks fly: April 20, or 4/20, is an unofficial holiday for you know what. Weed, baby! Light it up, bake something fun, and look out for Daniella Byck’s amazing guide to the most powerful and important canna stars in the region that you should know (publishing on Washingtonian dot com tomorrow, because, of course it is).

Something new:

Reisha Raney at the headquarters of the DAR’s Maryland chapter. Photograph by Lauren Bulbin

In our April issue, I wrote about historical researcher and engineer Reisha Raney, who has been exploring the lives and stories of Black women and women of color in the storied lineage organization, the Daughters of the American Revolution. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:

Reisha Raney had never listened to a podcast when she decided to start one last year. A mathematician who runs a systems-engineering company in Fort Washington, Raney has, as a side project, spent years researching women of color who have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was drawn to this topic for one obvious reason: Raney herself is a Black member of the DAR.

To Raney, the backgrounds of people like her—which often involve disturbing relationships between enslavers and the enslaved—represent an important aspect of our past. So after a two-week crash course in podcasting, she launched Daughter Dialogues, which features her interviews with current DAR members. “I had no expectation to ever run into any of these other Black women” in the society, she says. “We were so scarce that I expected to be the only one in the room all the time.” In fact, that hasn’t been the case; she has so far found and interviewed 22 women of color. Still, that’s a tiny fraction of the DAR’s 180,000-plus membership. (The group doesn’t keep track of racial demographics.)

Raney traces her own history to a cousin of Thomas Jefferson, Edwin Turpin, who purchased an enslaved woman named Mary and took her to Canada to marry her in the early 19th century; when news of their union leaked, their houses in Goochland County, Virginia, were burned down. Turpin freed his enslaved children in his will.

After joining the DAR in 2010, Raney found herself growing frustrated with acquaintances who would express surprise that Black women were in the organization. (The group has a long history of exclusion—most famously in 1939 when it wouldn’t permit Marian Anderson to perform at DAR Constitution Hall.) So she started looking for other Black members. In 2014, she was accepted as a nonresident fellow at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute and began her research in earnest. Ultimately, her oral histories will land in Harvard’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.

Read the full story here.

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.