Things to Do

Dating Advice, Sunflower Picking, and a Plant-Care Workshop: Things to Do in DC, July 26-28

Plus: Fencing takes the spotlight at the Olympics.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hey folks!

We’ve got sunflower picking, dating advice, and a talk on translation.

Tune into a conversation about language translation.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

A city breathes: In her latest novel, N.K. Jemisin treats New York City as an actual living person—multiple people, actually, who are avatars that represent the five boroughs. Unsurprisingly, it’s difficult for them to get on the same page to fight the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired evil that’s growing all around them. The sci-fi/speculative fiction author will chat about The City We Became with essayist Mikki Kendall, author of Hood Feminism, in a virtual book talk from Loyalty Bookstores. Tuesday 7/27 at 8 PM; $18 (book included), buy tickets here.

In the pool: Are you jumping back into the dating scene? If you’re looking for help navigating the pandemic changes, tune into a Sixth & I conversation with Washington Post relationships writer Lisa Bonos and Rabbi Aaron Potek as they dig into “Love Unmasked.” Wednesday 7/28 at 7 PM; $12, buy tickets here.

Grow a green thumb: Rewild is hosting a plant basics workshop at the Aesop in Georgetown. Learn how to care for your potted friends and get expert advice on the best practices—plus, you’ll take home a new plant of your own. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Food for All DC. Wednesday 7/28 at 6:30 PM (virtual option also available); $38, buy tickets here.

How do you say: Planet Word is hosting “Lost and Found in Translation,” a virtual talk with translators who will share the rewards and challenges of language interpretation. Hear from multilingual experts who speak Arabic, French, Spanish, and more about the phrases and words that do and do not translate well across languages and cultures. Wednesday 7/28 at 11 AM; Free, register here.

A snapshot: The Embassy of Japan just opened “Tokyo Evolution,” a new exhibit focused on the urban landscape of Tokyo, linked to the Olympic Games. Explore the history of architecture and fashion in the city from 1964 through today in works that are on display online and in the windows of Japan’s Information & Culture Center on 18th Street NW. Find out more here.

Who to watch: If you’re following along with the Olympics, catch these homegrown athletes from DC, Maryland, and Virginia—including Torri Huske, the 18-year-old who just graduated from Arlington’s Yorktown High School. Also online: A new story from Washingtonian’s August issue that introduces an amazing group of previous Olympians who live in the area, including a former rhythmic gymnast who now teaches at Orangetheory.

How to pick ‘em: Sunflower fields are blooming and we’ve got a roundup of five places where you can go to pick your own in Maryland and Virginia.

Something global: 

Fencing is in the news.
The Olympics kicked off over the weekend and there’s already some shiny news to report. The US snagged 14 medals (including the silver that Bethesda-raised darling Katie Ledecky scored) and one of those was a historic gold medal in a typically overlooked sport that’s close to my heart: fencing. Lee Kiefer became the first fencer to win gold in foil (one of the three weapons in the sport) when she beat Inna Deriglazova of the Russian Olympic Committee. It’s a super exciting win—she’s only the second US fencer to strike gold at the Olympics, following Mariel Zagunis’s wins in 2004 and 2008. Sadly I couldn’t access the NBC broadcast because it was frustratingly difficult to find and ultimately didn’t reach my TV for some reason (“coverage will resume shortly” was a cursed message that really just meant I couldn’t view any of the actual fun live). As a former fencer myself, I was psyched to see Kiefer crushing it on the international stage again—we used to compete in the same circuit! After being a Pirates of the Caribbean-obsessed eight year-old, I became a fencer for about 11 years and saw many of these Olympic folks in various tournaments across the country (though my biggest claim to fame was ranking 6th in one of the youth competitions, so I wasn’t exactly raking in the sponsorships). It’s a small but fierce community of sword fighters throughout the US and I’m wishing the rest of the team well in the following weeks.

But. You might have seen news around the fencing delegation last week that had nothing to do with the excellence of Kiefer. Buzzfeed published an investigation of SafeSport, the nonprofit tasked with investigating claims of sexual misconduct in Olympic sports that was established after the abhorrent Larry Nassar assaults came to light. Apparently it’s not working out too well. One fencer in particular has three allegations of sexual misconduct against him—and instead of benching him, USA Fencing fought SafeSport’s suspension of the athlete and came up with a (likely expensive) plan for bringing him to Tokyo “safely.” According to Buzzfeed, the system is intended “to keep him away from women and out of the Olympic Village: He flew in on a separate plane from his teammates, is staying at a hotel 30 minutes away from the other athletes, and won’t be allowed to practice alongside women teammates.” The full story is worth a read, though it’s something we continue to hear across industries, sports, and workplaces: An individual causes severe harm, but his stature precludes him from any discipline that actually sticks. In this case, he was suspended, but powerful people have gone to extreme lengths to reverse that decision to make sure that he can compete…as an alternate.

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.