The 23 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week


National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Readers of memoirs, poetry, nonfiction, true crime, graphic novels and everything in between will want to be at the Library of Congress’s annual National Book Festival. This year’s theme is “Everyone Has a Story,” which means memoirs will be featured on multiple stages: Actor Elliot Page, educator Chasten Buttigieg, football pro R.K. Russell, NPR journalist Mary Louise Kelly and Uyghur poet Tahir Hamut Izgil are all featured in discussions about their life stories. Fiction fans won’t want to miss the discussion between Jesmyn Ward, the winner of the 2022 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden on the topic of “why fiction matters.” It can feel a little overwhelming, so check out the interactive schedule on the library’s website to figure out which book talks, panels and book signings you’d like to plan your day around. If you can’t make it in person, events will be live-streamed through the festival website, and recorded videos of panels will be available after the festival. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

Hip-Hop Block Party at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Let’s start with the bad news: Free tickets for the annual Hip-Hop Block Party taking place inside and outside of the National Museum of African American History and Culture have all been claimed. There’s a waiting list on the museum’s website. A spokesperson for the museum says a pass will be required to access the museum’s grounds, including the activities, such as double Dutch demos and a graffiti mural, taking place outside. The highlight is the concert, which includes legendary mixtape DJ J. Period curating a “live mixtape” featuring MC Monie Love, local star Mumu Fresh and other guest performers; a DJ set from Kid Capri; and the True School DJs. While those without tickets might not be able to see the stage, they can bring blankets or chairs and listen from the Washington Monument grounds. 1:30 to 11 p.m. Free.

‘Pee-wee’s Big Adventure’ at AFI Silver

After Paul Reubens died July 30, obituaries paid tribute to his zany, mind-bendingly subversive Saturday morning TV show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and the early appearances of his Pee-wee Herman character with the Los Angeles comedy troupe the Groundlings, or on “Late Night” with David Letterman. But it was “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” a surreal and touching on-the-road film about recovering the hero’s stolen bicycle, that catapulted Reubens to national fame, immersing viewers in Pee-wee’s charming, ironic, naive worldview — helped, in no small part, by the feature film debut of director Tim Burton. The AFI Silver Theatre remembers Reubens this week with a limited engagement of screenings of “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya. Saturday at 12:30 and 10 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday at 6:45 p.m. $8-$13.

Alexandria Summer Sidewalk Sale

Old Town Alexandria is known for its shopping, but it goes into overdrive this weekend, when the Alexandria Summer Sidewalk Sale features more than 40 boutiques joining forces for a massive sale. Old Town Books is rolling out a $5 imperfect cart, while the Shoe Hive offers up to 80 percent off items in its courtyard. The unit block of King Street welcomes pop-up shops from Lily’s Flower Truck, Made in ALX and Passionately Pets, and you can take a break from shopping with outdoor bluegrass and jazz performances. Shops in Alexandria’s nearby Del Ray neighborhood will host sales, too, along with the monthly Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

The Caribbean Crawl on U Street

The Hip-Hop Bar Crawl has become a fixture on U Street over the last decade, and founders RegMoPromo seem to have struck gold with the Caribbean version, which returns for its 10th edition this weekend. For those unfamiliar with the formula: A ticket is good for access to eight bars along the strip, each of which has a different DJ and happy hour specials, which run on a staggered schedule. DJ Ghost is at Cloak & Dagger from 3 to 6 p.m. with a theme of “Trini to de Bone”; DJ Pompey masterminds a “Reggae vs. R&B” battle at Alice from 2 to 5 p.m.; and DJ Joe spins “Strictly Soca” from 7 to 10 p.m. at Space Lounge. As you hop from bar to bar, look for specials including $7 rum punch and $5 Soul Mega beers, as well as entertainment from drummers and dancers. 2 to 10 p.m. $20.

International Shorts: Best of the Thomas Edison Film Festival 2023 at the National Gallery of Art

The Thomas Edison Film Festival is a wide-ranging international competition, embracing “animation, experimental, documentary, narrative and screen dance works” from multiple continents. The National Gallery of Art hosts a screening of all of the winners, broken into two programs of roughly 90 minutes each, separated by a 45-minute intermission. Free registration allows audience members access to both programs. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Noon and 2:30 p.m. Free; registration required.

Poseurs 40th Anniversary Video Dance Party Reunion at DC9

When Poseurs opened in Georgetown in 1983, it had a pretty novel niche: Customers could come out not only to dance to the new wave or Nitzer Ebb tunes that DJs were spinning, but also to watch the music videos on large screens while they did so. While the nightspot itself lasted only a few years, Poseurs eventually moved on to other locations, such as the now-closed Fifth Column, and its name, alongside DJs like Mohawk Adam, became part of D.C. nightlife lore. In recent years, former Poseurs regulars have held “reunion parties” at DC9 dedicated to dance music videos from the ’80s, joined by fans who were too young to have experienced Poseurs firsthand. This event is billed as the 40th anniversary — and also the “final party.” Let’s hope that’s hyperbole, but you might want to get advance tickets just in case. 9 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 day of show.

Amy K. Bormet’s Washington Women in Jazz at the Parks at Walter Reed

Back in 2011, pianist and vocalist Amy K. Bormet launched the Washington Women in Jazz Festival to highlight the talented female musicians on the city’s music scene. But Bormet’s work isn’t limited to the annual festival: She also performs around D.C. with groups of female musicians, including this concert at the spacious Great Lawn at the Parks at Walter Reed. Bring a picnic, or purchase dinner from an on-site food truck. 5 to 8 p.m. Free.

Hearing military bands perform at Washington’s memorials and landmarks is a long-running tradition — a summer spectacle that brings tourists and locals together for evenings of free outdoor music. The concert series are beginning to wind down, though, so if you haven’t made it out to one yet, you might want to do it soon. Saturday is the final night of the U.S. Army Band’s Listen Live at the Lincoln, which features the Concert Band performing patriotic and symphonic music during an hour-long show in front of the Lincoln Memorial, while the audience listens from the steps. (8 p.m. Free.) Also on Saturday, the U.S. Air Force’s Singing Sergeants — a choral ensemble that performs everything from show tunes to classic rock — make one of their regular appearances at the Salute the Sunset concert series at the National Harbor waterfront. (7 to 8 p.m. Free.)

The Clientele at Songbyrd

The Clientele is a guitar-bass-drums trio known for its pretty, pithy chamber-pop songs. But the British band’s new album, “I Am Not There Anymore,” opens with an eight-minute epic that includes multiple tempo shifts, string and horn flourishes, a female guest vocalist, and lyrics that sometimes slip into Spanish. The sprawling song is the group’s way of “saying that things are different now,” explained singer-lyricist-guitarist Alasdair MacLean via an internet phone call from a truck stop somewhere between London and Manchester. “If you don’t like it, here’s your chance to get off the train.” Of the album’s 19 tracks, only 11 are songs. In addition to the brief instrumentals are three spoken-word pieces that mix MacLean’s words with literary images he’s collected from years of reading and are recited by indie-pop singer Jessica Griffin. At the time of the interview, the Clientele had yet to begin its current tour, and MacLean chuckled when asked how the three-piece band would play its complicated new material live. “With great difficulty,” he replied. “We’re going to work that out. By the time we reach Washington, we should have at least a partial answer to that question.” 8 p.m. $25-$30.

Interview: Things are ‘different now’ for British pop band the Clientele



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