Things to Do

A Maryland Food Talk, the History of Black Rebellion, and Lots of New Art: Things to Do in DC, May 20-23

Plus: Ideas for getting out on the water.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi hi!

We’ve got a talk about Maryland food, a pop-up opera truck, and lots of new art.

Me, tuning into the event on Maryland food.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Get creative: Eckington studio STABLE is throwing “Illusion,” a virtual party celebrating DC artists with performances by the bumping band Crush Funk Brass and Grammy-nominated vocalist Mumu Fresh (for those who aren’t familiar, see her 2018 Tiny Desk featuring Black Thought here). Paul Wharton, a fashion expert who appeared on Real Housewives of DC, will emcee; there’s also a “Waist Up Wild!” costume contest. The event is a fundraiser for the arts space with the opportunity for attendees to buy original artworks. Thursday 5/20 at 7 PM; $30, buy tickets here.

Views on the water: A new outdoor installation in Alexandria illustrates the precious and precarious state of the waterfront amidst climate change and neighborhood development. Mark Reigelman’s piece “Groundswell,” part of the city’s public art series “Site See: New Views in Old Town,” places 102 pieces of wood pillars (that look like tree stumps) topped with ripples that echo spiraling age lines in the bark. Under the sculptures is a map of the Potomac River’s topography. Explore it now through November. Learn more here.

A new show: Alice Shih, an artist who currently teaches at the nearby Bullis School, paints an expression of her identities as a Taiwanese immigrant and American citizen on canvases with arrestingly abstract landscapes and intimate close-ups to nature. See her exhibit “Periphery: Cultural Discoveries” at the Woman’s National Demcratic Club’s Ballroom Gallery in person by calling 202-232-7363 to make an appointment. Thursday 5/20 through September 8 (gallery hours vary); Free, find out more here.

Chesapeake chat: Old Bay, blue crabs, Smith Island cake, and other Maryland food faves get the spotlight in this fun online culinary talk from Smithsonian Associates. Christine Rai, a food culture expert who teaches at Frederick Community College, will talk about the beloved flavors of Maryland—Natty Boh included, duh. Friday 5/21 at 10 AM; $25-$30, buy tickets here.

History on repeat: Historian Elizabeth Hinton, who teaches African American studies at Yale, just published America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s, a detailed look into recent social justice movements for Black liberation. Hinton takes the explosive momentum of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 and offers crucial context to the ways organizing has changed since the civil rights era, and how the word “rebellion”—not “riot—more accurately encompasses historic protests. In a virtual Politics and Prose event, she’ll chat with renowned New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, the 1619 Project creator who was in the news this week after UNC denied her tenure, a controversial decision that many believe stems from the conservative backlash against her work. Friday 5/21 at 8 PM; Free, register here.

Jam outside: Mosaic Theater is throwing “Party on the Plaza,” a socially distant show at Woodrow Wilson Plaza. It’s celebrating the upcoming theater season with Psalmayene 24 performing spoken word and an hour-long concert from pianist and conductor Stanley J. Thurston, artist-in-residence at Washington National Cathedral. Saturday 5/22 at 4 PM; Free, register here.

Bring the family: What if there was a food truck but instead of food it actually provided live opera performances? That’s the wacky-yet-amazing question that Mo Willems recently answered with Slopera! A Bite-Sized Opera, which is touring DC in a pop-up opera truck. This weekend is your last chance to catch it. Learn more here.

Runner’s update: The Marine Corps Marathon will actually be in-person this October after it went virtual last year. Read more about what the race will look like as a hybrid here.

Something new:

Getting ready to go out on the water? We’ve got ideas.
The weather’s warming up, so you might be looking for a fun adventure that’s nearby. Washingtonian’s May issue is all about getaways, whether that’s a day trip or a brief stay. Here’s an excerpt from a piece of that story by my colleague Sherri Dalphonse on ten great ideas for getting on the water:

Keep an Eye Out for Eagles

Adjacent to a federal refuge for bald eagles, Mason Neck State Park in Lorton offers beautiful vistas and chances to spot not only those majestic birds but al-so swans, turtles, and other wildlife, from a rented canoe or kayak. See Distance from DC: 27 miles.

Explore Sunken Sinks

Glide through the naval graveyard of Mallows Bay, Maryland, where a “ghost fleet” of more than 100 wooden World War I–era ships lie submerged. Sign up for a guided kayak tour ($49 or $75) at Distance from DC: 43 miles.

Take a Sunset Sail

The 74-foot Woodwind and Woodwind II in Annapolis are replicas of wooden schooners built in the early 1900s. Relax while cruising across Annapolis Harbor and looking back at the city as the sun sets over the capitol dome. See Distance from DC: 35 miles.

Read the full story here.

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