Things to Do

The Well-Read Black Girl Festival, Folk Art, and a Nerdy Burlesque Class: Things to Do in DC, October 25-27

Plus: Early trick-or-treating

Illustration by Melissa Santoyo.

Hey y’all!

We’ve got a folk art exhibition, a keynote from Gabrielle Union, and a mixer for dog owners.

Hear from Gabrielle Union at the Well Read Black Girl Festival this week.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

Scientific celebration: The month-long Maryland STEM Festival is underway for its seventh year, honoring healthcare workers with its theme of health and wellness. Learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math at one of more than 200 in-person and virtual events, from a Minecraft & Python Workshop to a live performance from kid-friendly indie-rock band Marsha and the Positrons. Through Sunday 11/14 (event times vary); free, learn more here.

A worldly exhibit: Spring Valley’s Amy Kaslow Gallery is currently showing “Native Hands: Folk Art Is Fine Art,” an exhibit of folk art crafted by painters, sculptors, weavers, and metalsmiths from around the world. This collection shows the economic impact of folk art and how folk artists are preserving age-old traditions in contemporary ways throughout the political and economic turmoil their countries may be facing. Through Sunday 11/28; free, learn more here.

Connecting the threads: The Brentwood Arts Exchange is hosting a group exhibition that highlights the use of overlapping shapes and lines in art. “Layers: Cause and Effect” features paintings from local artists Alexandra Arata, Cheryl Edwards, Michelle Sakhai, and Martiza Sosaya, who use various forms of layering in their work to evoke a wide range of emotions from their audiences. Through Saturday 12/25; free, learn more here.

Learn some secrets: Washington Post writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Carol Leonnig will be having a virtual chat about her book Zero Fail with the White House Historical Association. The book breaks down the history behind the Secret Service and the ever-changing security challenges that confront agents everyday. She’ll talk about the work that agents put into protecting the President, the First Family, and the people who seek the office. Tuesday 10/26 at 5 p.m.; free, stream the event on Facebook or YouTube.

Black girl magic: Well-Read Black Girl, a book club that provides a safe space for Black women readers and writers to connect with each other, will hold a one-day virtual festival to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the organization and bring Black writers together to engage in panels, keynotes, and fireside chats that celebrate the brilliance of Black creativity. In the days leading up to the festival, Well-Read Black Girl founder Glory Edim will host three free pre-festival Instagram Live conversations with Black authors Alyssa Cole, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Jasmine Guillory, and Nichole Perkins. The actual festival will kick off with an opening keynote from Gabrielle Union, followed by panels on girlhood, Black motherhood, and self-care. Tuesday 10/26 through Saturday 10/30 (event times vary); $25, buy tickets here.

Mix ‘n’ mingle: Dog owners can meet new people—and maybe a special someone—at this Bethesda event. The mixer includes a costume contest and two mingling activities, a laid-back way to break out of your bubble and meet fellow dog-lovers. Tuesday 10/26 from 7 to 10 p.m.; $10, buy tickets here.

Castro, rewritten: Arena Stage has resumed its 2019 run of Celia and Fidel, a play written by Cuban playwright Eduardo Machado and commissioned by the theater for their “Power Plays” series. The production, set during the 1980 Havana Peruvian embassy crisis, imagines a conservation between Fidel Castro and his most trusted confidant, Celia Sánchez, in which the Cuban political leader must decide between morality and power. Through Sunday 11/21; $82-$105, buy tickets here.

Different perspectives: The National Museum of Women in the Arts will host a virtual lecture with Deborah Gaston, the museum’s director of education and interpretation, about the relationship between female identity and gender roles through portraits. Gaston will examine Lavinia Fontana’s “Portrait of a Noblewoman” and Hung Liu’s “Shan-Mountain,” which both present women in a magnified scope and portray them with an air of nobility by using jewels and intricate fabrics. Wednesday 10/27 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.; $12-$20, buy tickets here.

Fill up your Halloween basket: Kids can get a head start on their candy quest at this trick-or-treating event run by Bethesda Row. All proceeds go directly to Manna Food Center, a nonprofit fighting hunger in Montgomery County. Wednesday 10/27 from 5 to 7 p.m.; $5 per child, buy tickets here.

Bring on the burlesque: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Nerdlesque mixes Swarovski capes and sparkly spandex with adult fan fiction and classic burlesque. This event, taught by award-winning cosplayer Maki Roll at The Nest in Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Building, will walk you through the foundations of a “Nerdlesque” act and offers lessons on costuming, choreography, and character work. Wednesday 10/27 at 6:30 p.m.; $30, buy tickets here.

If you are too eager for Halloween, you can get a head start on trick-or-treating at Bethesda Row!

That’s all for today! Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to drop me a line at

Damare Baker
Assistant Editor

Before becoming an assistant editor, Damare Baker started out as an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.

Zach Bright

Zach joined Washingtonian in October 2021. In the past, he’s written for The Colorado Sun, The Nevada Independent and SRQ Magazine.