Things to Do

New Exhibits, Drag Film Screenings, and a Pop-Up Rooftop Nightclub: Things to Do in DC, June 24-27

Plus: Britney speaks.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi y’all!

We’ve got a pop-up nightclub on the Kennedy Center rooftop, the (virtual) Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and new exhibits.

…for you to experience RuPaul’s fabulousness in an illustrated children’s book.

Here’s what you should check out this weekend:

Get crafty: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is online this year with crafting workshops, cooking demos, and more. Hear a conversation on “Languages of Home and Diaspora: Nourishing Palestine in Food and Verse,” try a workshop on weaving, or jump into cooking with “Samgyetang: Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup Across Generations.” Friday 6/25 through Sunday 6/27; Free, find out more here.

At the library: To close the celebration of Pride Month, join the DC Public Library’s final event in its DC Queer Flix series that focuses on drag. The virtual event will be a double feature of A Drag King Extravaganza, a documentary centering the experiences of drag kings, and I Am Divine, about the famous drag artist Divine, who has been called the muse of legendary filmmaker John Waters. Friday 6/25 at 7 PM; Free, learn more here.

Drag on: Married couple and fashion writing duo Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez will be chatting about Legendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life in an event at Riggs hotel. The kids book is an expansive look at the RuPaul universe but also a colorful resource for queer history. The signing event will include a conversation moderated by Jason Barnes (a.k.a. Pussy Noir). Saturday 6/26 at 4 PM; Free, registration by email (contact riggsdc@taapr.com) required.

The struggle is real: 20th-century painter Jacob Lawrence is best known for his 60-piece “Migration Series,” which told the story of the Great Migration. Another major series of Lawrence’s will open at the Phillips Collection, “Struggle: From the History of the American People,” which looks at the Revolutionary War era. For the first time since 1958, the series will be available to view almost in its entirety—as some pieces are still missing. Saturday 6/26 through September 19; $16 museum admission, find out more here.

Take a stroll: See the life-size sculptures that now dance around the Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. Inspired by Alvin Ailey’s “Revelation,” artist Kristine Mays created dance figures out of metal wire that she placed throughout Hillwood’s gardens. The installation “Rich Soil” will run through January 2022. On Wednesday (6/30) Mays will be on site for an artist conversation with curator Rebecca Tilles that’s open to in-person attendees and will be livestreamed on Zoom. The exhibit opens Saturday 6/26; $18 suggested donation, find out more here.

Don’t call it a comeback: You might remember when last year the Kennedy Center rooftop was announced to host Heist, a pricey outdoor nightclub that was abruptly cancelled due to Covid gathering limits. The pop-up is officially set to launch starting this weekend with bottle service and cabanas to rent. Find out more here.

Thinking cap: The Aspen Ideas Festival kicks off this weekend with interactive and educational discussions featuring thought leaders and special guests. Speakers include Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who runs the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, cello celeb Yo-Yo Ma, Smithsonian head Lonnie Bunch, and many more who will speak to the event theme, “American Futures.” Sunday 6/27 through Thursday 7/1 at various times; Free, register here.

Chill out: Frozen drinks are back and we know exactly what you should order. Here’s our food team’s favorite frozen cocktails to sip around town.

Make plans: Fourth of July is coming up, here’s where to find fireworks, crab feasts, BBQ, and more.

Put it on the calendar: Broccoli City Music Festival is coming back in a big way this fall. This week they announced a lineup with Lil Baby, Snoh Aalegra, Lucky Daye, and more.

Something new:

Britney finally speaks.
This week, all anyone wants to talk about is Britney Spears. (I am anyone.) But I’m not talking about the fun news that you might’ve heard recently—that the Britney Spears musical will be premiering in DC later this year. Yesterday, Spears testified publicly for the first time to speak out against her abusive conservatorship. In the 13 years that Spears has been in a conservatorship, this is the first time she has spoken publicly to the court about the situation, and as many have observed, it’s even worse than what people were imagining. In a shocking statement, she revealed the extent of control that her family, in particular her father, has exercised over her everyday life and decision making. Spears explained that she wants to have more children, but the conservators will not allow her to remove her IUD to pursue that dream. In another moment, she talked about being forced to perform while ill. This is a woman in pain, whose bodily autonomy has been violated on levels that are only coming to light now. She wants to end the conservatorship so that she can get control of her life back and sue her family for the abuse and trauma she experienced. Before she testified, the New York Times revealed documents showing years of her fighting to escape the arrangement. Not only is the #FreeBritney movement validated, but it’s emboldened now with a searing and detailed testimony from Spears herself. One other thing to note as we look at this news: Conservatorships are also under scrutiny as they are notoriously difficult to end, creating a problem that isn’t just relevant to the pop star but to disabled adults and others who might be in similarly abusive legal arrangements. It’s unfortunate that many folks can relate to Spears when she says: “After I’ve told the whole world I’m OK, it’s a lie…I’m not happy, I can’t sleep, I’m depressed, I cry every day.”

Thanks for reading! Tell me what you’re up to at home by dropping me a line at rcartagena@washingtonian.com.

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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.