Things to Do

Free Live Music, an Exhibit of Guatemalan Embroidery, and Shakespeare Fun: Things to Do in DC, June 7-9

Plus: Let's talk about sex.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi folks!

We’ve got outdoor concerts, comic theater, and a botany-inspired poetry workshop.

Some members of Congress are preparing for a Shakespeare-themed show.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Casting Congress: Shakespeare Theatre Company’s long-running Will on the Hill fundraiser shows invite members of Congress, politicos, and Washington media to act in Shakespeare scenes next to drama pros (past performers include Susan Collins, Dana Bash, and Chris Matthews). This month’s virtual event features a zany plot that follows a group of politicians who travel back in time to experience firsthand the era of the Bard. Prominent Washington actors like Felicia Curry, Craig Wallace, and Holly Twyford will appear on the (online) stage with a cast of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Chris Coons, Don Beyer, and more. The profits go towards STC’s drama education programs. Monday 6/7 at 7 PM; Pay What You Will, buy tickets here.

Verses come naturally: Take a special poetry writing workshop  inspired by the lush flora at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Diné poet Sherwin Bitsui will work with horticulturist Adam Pyle in this virtual event from the Folger Shakespeare Library. Bitsui will read from his work before walking participants through writing prompts focused on the botanic garden’s current plant galleries, such as orchids, the tropics, and cacti. Wednesday 6/9 at 7 PM; $75, buy tickets here.

Sights and sounds: Head to the Wharf on Wednesdays to catch free live music from local acts throughout the summer on transit Pier. This week, hear La Unica, a band that blends Latin and Irish music to perform Latin Celtic Rock. Future acts will include reggae group Baltimore’s Jah Works, the Dupont Brass, and bluegrass group the Trailer Grass Orchestra. Wednesday 6/9 at 7 PM; Free, learn more here.

What’s in a name: Tune into a panel of restaurateurs exploring how we talk about and label food from Asian cultures. In the Smithsonian Associates event “‘Fast, Casual, Ethnic’: Asian Food Beyond Misnomers and Myths,” you’ll hear from Daikaya/Haikan chef Katsuya Fukushima, Top Chef contestant Dale Talde, Food and Wine editor Khushbu Shah, and others as they dig into why the label of “ethnic” food often comes with the expectation of cheap prices. Wednesday 6/9 at 6:30 PM; Free, register here.

A new read: The Atlantic writer Clint Smith’s debut book, How the Word Is Passed, examines the lies told about slavery in a wide-ranging look at histories, landmarks, and education on the subject. Washingtonian editorial fellow Baylor Spears chatted with Smith about his trips to Monticello, Angola prison, and across the country in this great interview.

Rare find: DC Ethiopian music legend Hailu Mergia recently re-released the 1975 jazz album “Tezeta” that he recorded with the Walias Band. It’s an extremely difficult-to-find work—and physical copies are already sold out—but digital copies of the nine-track album are available now. Read more here.

Threads of connection: The Spring Valley-based Amy Kaslow Gallery is currently showing “Ancestral Colors,” an exhibit of elaborate woven rugs and fabrics from Guatemala’s collective Multicolores. The group of embroiderers are Maya artists who live and create in mountainside communities; in these designs, they incorporate ancestral symbols and striking geometric patterns about nature, family, and magic. You can view the works online or visit the gallery. Running now through Tuesday 6/15; find out more here.

Something new: 

Read all about your neighbors’ sex lives. Photograph by Lauren Bulbin

You might remember a few months ago I asked y’all about your sex lives. It’s not the most routine thing we write about, but this month Washingtonian published our June cover story about sex and the pandemic and we’re putting it online this week! I’m super excited for everyone to read the amazing work—shoutout to my fantastic collaborators Mimi Montgomery, Daniella Byck, and Ellen O’Brien—that examines how we all continued to get it on during this wild year. Today, we published the first two parts: Our collection of real sex stories during Covid and Mimi’s great introductory essay about the future of sex. Below, I’m including one fun excerpt of a sex diary.

I Was Rapunzel: He Climbed a Rope to Sneak Into My Group House

Lea, 30, H Street:

“We met playing basketball on a DC Fray team. The day he told me he was married, I’m like, cool. I’d never felt a connection like this in my life. My roommates were like, ‘We don’t wanna have anybody over at the house,’ so we had to get creative. You know those sun-shade blinders for your car? You can buy them for every single window. We would put those up and hang out in my car in the mornings before work or when he got back.

“I’m not a person that would’ve ever imagined having sex in a government building or my [former] office, but these circumstances just push people. There was a conference room at his federal office that has been on television before that I have been laid upon, because we’d go in on the weekends and, y’know, just have some fun on the chairs. I had to get signed in and go through a metal detector. I would just dress up like I was going to work. We sanitized everything afterwards! I made sure to do that. I brought Clorox wipes. My God, that probably sounds disgusting. I was just like, well, if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right. We didn’t really have any close calls. I guess we were pretty lucky.

“We cycled. The weekends would be more at my office or his office. But then it became pretty normal for him to climb up a rope into my room every morning. He’s in the military and very physically fit. At one point, he was like, ‘We just need to buy a rope.’ I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a great workaround. Because you’re not in the public spaces of my house, and I pay for my own room, right?’ So I literally tied this rope around my waist, put both of my feet below the windowsill, and hoisted him up. He had put knots in it, and also my lower windows all have grates on them, so he could get up easily.

“The hardest part is that I have a very lovely neighbor who loves to sit outside, who would always comment on our interactions. So sometimes he would have to chat with her for, like, 20 minutes until she went back inside, and then he’d be like, ‘Throw the rope down.’ ”

Read more stories 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.