We’ve got famous jewels, Secret Service drama, and a radio play.
Here’s what you should check out this week:
Too close: A president’s daughter falls in love with her Secret Service agent—it’s the plot of the terrible 2004 rom-com Chasing Liberty starring Mandy Moore, but it’s also rumored to be what happened in the Trump White House, according to a new book. Washington Post investigative reporter Carol Leonnig is releasing Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, a look behind the typical closed doors of the agency tasked with presidential protection. Leonnig will talk about it with presidential historian Michael Beschloss in a virtual book event from Politics and Prose. Tuesday 5/18 at 6 PM; Free, register here.
All that glitters: Learn about the drama behind some of the most famous jewels in the world with a virtual lecture from Smithsonian Associates. Jeffrey Post, curator of the US National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Natural History Museum, will share the secrets, scandals, unsolved mysteries, and other juicy stories behind these gems including big-names like the Hope Diamond and the Carmen Lucía Ruby. Tuesday 5/18 at 6:45 PM; $20-$25, buy tickets here.
Cue the laugh track: Catch six local (ish) comics at a special outdoor DC Improv show at the Bullpen. Sit at socially distanced tables with a group to hear stand-up from folks like local comedy mainstay Lafayette Wright and Denise Taylor, who’s a contributor at The Onion. Wednesday 5/19 at 7 PM; $20, buy tickets here.
Now playing: Activist/theatermaker Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi’s latest work Ghost/Writer is a time-traveling journey that links an eerie ghost story set in 1920 to a ghost writer in 2019. Hear this radio play from Rep Stage through May 23. $15-$25, buy tickets here.
Escape DC: Get out of town for a couple days (or longer, who’s counting?) and try one of these options for cottages, cabins, and other places to get away from the crowd.
Beyond the centennial: The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, which just opened this weekend in Lorton, VA, commemorates the activists who fought for women to have the right to vote with statues of icons like Washingtonian Mary Church Terrell (who cofounded the NAACP) and National Woman’s Party head Alice Paul. Learn more about the new memorial here.
Hear something good:
Hip-Hop Evolution. The award-winning docuseries has four seasons on Netflix and I’d recommend it to any big music nerds who are looking for a new binge watch. It’s a comprehensive look at the history of hip-hop featuring funny and smart interviews with masters of the form. I’ve loved learning more about the musical innovations, like Grandmaster Flash spinning records to create sounds back when some folks thought he was simply ruining the vinyl. One of the best parts, too, is hearing these major figures hash out the timeline and debate the origins of various rap and beat styles. One funny moment I remember is Grandmaster Caz on Run-DMC: While Caz and other heavy hitters at the time were performing in flashy costumes (leather, tight pants, belts, bedazzles, etc.), Run-DMC shocked everyone when they came out in casual streetwear. In his interview on the show, Caz talked about how ridiculous he felt having to put on his multi-strap outfit after seeing them onstage in Adidas. Overall, the show is an amazing look at the breadth of these stories with the perspectives of the rappers, MCs, producers, and other artists who lived it—the people who packed into those small parties just to see someone break dance or hear a killer takedown verse.
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