Things to Do

A José Andrés Talk, a Billy Collins Poetry Reading, and a New Series on the DC Sniper: Things to Do in DC, May 10-12

Plus: Mental health awareness.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi everyone,

We’ve got a José Andrés talk, poetry from Billy Collins, and a new series about the DC sniper attacks.

José Andrés will chat about faith at a virtual talk from Washington National Cathedral.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Local star: Humanitarian chef José Andres will sit down for a conversation about faith, religion, and service with National Cathedral Dean Randolph Marshall Hollerith and Canon Missioner Leonard Hamlin. The virtual event is part of the cathedral’s “Honest to God” talk series which focuses on how leaders are motivated by their faiths. Tuesday 5/11 at 7 PM; Free, register here.

Hear a verse: Former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins will be reading in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s virtual poetry series. Collins has been popular in poetry circles for decades, but he gained even more attention in the pandemic when he started regularly reading his work—like “Going for a Walk as the Drugs Kick In”—on Facebook Live. Hear his funny takes from his new book, The Rain in Portugal, and his other poetry collections tonight. Monday 5/10 at 7:30 PM; Free, register here.

Cinephiles only: If you’re not ready to go to the movies, but you’re nostalgic for the theater, tune into the virtual talk “Moviegoing in America: Nickelodeons to Movie Palaces to IMAX to Streaming.” What will our movie watching look like in the next year? How have theaters changed in the past year and throughout history? Will Uptown Theater ever return? Get some of those questions answered at this Smithsonian Associates event. Wednesday 5/12 at noon; $20-$25, buy tickets here.

Add to the watch list: Tonight, Vice TV premieres its new docuseries about the 2002 DC sniper shootings, I, Sniper. The show will feature interviews with Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the gunmen. Learn more here.

Want to see it, I do: The Star Wars X-wing Starfighter is an exciting new addition to the Air and Space Museum. There’s so much hype that it’s actually a bit challenging to make a reservation to visit the museum. Here’s what we recommend trying to find a slot.

Vibe check: 

Big Mouth fans know: Tito the anxiety mosquito loves teaming up with the depression kitty.
How are we all feeling? It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and my anxiety is doing a fantastic job keeping me aware of its hovering existence. The pandemic has totally messed with our brains, scrambling our sense of time and accelerating nervous thoughts about this dangerous airborne virus. Nearly everyone I talk to has faced deteriorating mental health after surviving what we have all lived through. I hope we are all able to normalize these struggles for ourselves (and each other) so that we can be more comfortable and honest about what we’re enduring. I do my best to chat about those challenges with friends and family who have similar experiences and can back up how difficult these feelings are when you’re expected to keep pushing through. Big Mouth’s character Tito the anxiety mosquito is truly a representative illustration of the annoying, gnawing nature that many anxious folks navigate on a daily, hourly, sometimes constant basis.

There’s two stories that I read recently that really had me thinking more about our culture’s relationship to mental health and how we are all feeling right now in this foggy, nearing post-pandemic moment. In The Atlantic’s “Bring Back the Nervous Breakdown,” Jerry Useem looks at mental breakdowns in American society, from their history as socially and professionally acceptable to the current stigma around taking a career break. The other I’d recommend is the New York Times’ piece on languishing, which explains that uncertain feeling that many of us might be experiencing right now. Adam Grant defines that state of mind as  “the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either.” (For me, that’s an understatement.) Does that sound like you?

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.