Things to Do

Mother’s Day, DC Funk Parade, and a Talk About Mermaids: Things to Do in DC, May 6-9

Plus: How are you celebrating the holiday?

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hello hello!

We’ve got DC Funk Parade, AAPI Heritage Month events, and a talk about mermaids.

Mermaid Week is here, people!

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Grab a pint: Sandlot Georgetown, which opens today, is a shipping-container bar and venue that highlights Black-owned businesses. Learn all about the new sunny-day hangout spot here.

Under the sea: Calling all those who are still not over their Little Mermaid obsession (Meghan Markle, I’m looking at you). GW professor and folklorist Philippa Rappoport will explain the Slavic folkloric tradition celebrating Mermaid Week. Learn all about Russian water spirits this Profs and Pints online talk, “Mermaid Tales.” Friday 5/7 at 7 PM; $12, buy tickets here.

Get creative: Take a three-hour studio arts class to learn “Gyotaku: The Japanese Art of Printing with Fish” from Smithsonian Associates. You’ll use ink to make a special print with schools of colorful fish (here’s the supply kit). Saturday 5/8 at 10 AM; $75-$85, buy tickets here.

We want the funk: The DC Funk Parade returns virtually this year with a festival highlighting the sights and sounds of the U Street neighborhood. The fête celebrates the corridor’s “Black Broadway” era, when U Street was packed with thriving Black-owned businesses and a bustling nightlife scene. On Saturday, watch the fest online to see a lineup of great DC artists such as activist-musician OnRae LaTeal and indie soul band Oh He Dead. They’ll play in a celebration of Black Broadway’s legacy that also includes spoken word and dance performances. Saturday 5/8 at 5 PM; $10-$25, buy tickets here. —Daniella Byck

New age: DC artist Armando Lopez-Bircann wears sculptures and performs using augmented reality; the digital creative’s Transformer Gallery exhibit “Arma the Oracle: Extended Reality (XR)” digs into  Lopez-Bircann’s “vision of an ethical queer future” according to the gallery. Catch the special performance of a Tarot-like card reading from the sidewalk in front of the venue. Saturday 5/8 at 7 PM; Free, see what the artwork looks like here.

Off the couch: Alexandria Drive-In Theatre has a schedule of old favorites to screen in a parking lot near you. This weekend, they’re showing the a capella comedy Pitch Perfect; later this month, catch Jaws (5/15), The Sandlot (5/29), Shrek (5/28), and more. Saturday 5/8 at 8:30 PM; $40 per car, buy tickets here.

Make a toast: The PEN/Faulkner Award Celebration—online this year, like everything else—will announce the winner of its coveted fiction prize and honor LeVar Burton as the organization’s new “literary champion.” See special guests Stephen King, local star Jason Reynolds, poet Luis Alberto Urrea, rapper-turned-author Angie Thomas, and more. The five book finalists include titles like The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, by Deesha Philyaw, and Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, by Matthew Salesses. Monday 5/10 at 8 PM (registration closes Sunday); Free ($15 suggested donation), register here.

AAPI Heritage: There are a bunch of fun events in the area and online where you can celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. See concerts, food talks, new art, and more in Washingtonian’s roundup here.

Something fun:

She’s not like the others.
It’s Mother’s Day this weekend! Shoutout to all the moms, aunts, parents, mentors, mom-friends (we all have one) and everyone else who knows both the joys of seeing first steps and the horrors of cleaning those dirty diapers. I’m so grateful to Mami for all the love she’s given me, even if that’s meant smothering kisses and very—very—loud noises. One of my favorite things that we’ve done together was in 2019 when we toured around parts of Puerto Rico that she and I hadn’t visited much before. We stayed in a lux shipping container on Airbnb that was right by the beach in Arecibo and we visited caves with Taíno petroglyphs like Cueva Ventana and Cueva del Indio, which I believe was where they filmed some parts of Pirates of the Caribbean. (Pirates is also a hilariously important franchise in my life because it actually inspired me—at nine years old—to become a fencer for some dozen years.)

Anyway, Mami and I also got to explore the Parque Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana, a historic site where indigenous families lived, prayed, and played. Some of the best-preserved engravings featured a revered fertility goddess, which felt only right given it was a mother-daughter adventure. The only way we could’ve gotten up there was with Mami’s expert driving because 1) I don’t drive and 2) the Google Maps directions literally looked like one of those squiggly silly straws you’d get at a birthday party. She had to comfort me in the passenger seat as she mastered that narrow mountainous road and thank goodness she was able to get us back, too. How are you celebrating Mother’s Day this year?

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