This Week in the DMV 12/18/16

Christmas is just a week away, so hit up these Christmas events in the DMV before the season is over.


The National Zoo is all decked out for Christmas.  Indulge your wild side with an after-hours visit to the National Zoo during ZooLights, which illuminates the zoo with more than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LEDs, animated light installations, live music and more. Bid good cheer to various animals on display (as well as Panda Claus). ZooLights runs until January 1st but will be closed on Christmas Eve and Day.

Downtown Holiday Market

Thanks to a rotating cast of crafters and vendors, hot coffee and sweets and holiday performances, this magical marketplace is worth multiple trips. Located at 8th and F Streets NW near the Verizon Center, the market holds down the area in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. At night, its bright lights bring Penn Quarter to life, providing a holiday spark to the neighborhood. But don’t worry, you can shop during the day too: The Market is open daily 12 – 8 p.m. through Dec. 23.

Checkout Georgetown GLOW

This stroll through DC’s most historic neighborhood will certainly make you light up as you pass by unique, illuminated artworks. Georgetown GLOW has proven to be such a hit that it runs until January 1st and goes from 6-10 p.m. A group of artists, from locally renowned to internationally celebrated, will display works in outdoor spaces throughout the neighborhood. Afterwards, wander through a winter wonderland at The Washington Harbor, one of our favorite places to ice skate in the District.

See the tree in the Library of Congress

Decking the Great Hall of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building each December, the tree can be visited from the First Street SE entrance between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (the Jefferson Building is closed Sundays and on Christmas). We suggest you also read up on these frequently asked questions so you can properly explore the largest library in the world!


This Week in the DMV 12/11/16

People on the Move : Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series

Now until January 8th.  At The Phillips Collection, Jacob Lawrence’s The Migration Series reunites all 60 panels (1940-41) in the series split between the Phillips and New York City’s MoMA, providing a chronicle of the 20th century diaspora of 6 million African Americans from the rural South to the urban Northeast. The exhibit provides expert analysis about the historical, literary, socio-cultural, aesthetic and contemporary manifestations of the resettling of so many individuals.

Miracle on Seventh Street

Now until December 31st.  It’s no secret that Derek Brown knows DC’s cocktail scene like the back of his hand. The famed mixologist’s trio of bars on 7th Street in Shaw – Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich and Southern Efficiency – are decking the halls for year two of the Miracle on Seventh Street with more funky holiday decorations (think: a chandelier made of dreidels and more illuminated garland running the length of the bar). Cool down at this cocktail winter wonderland in one of DC’s hottest neighborhoods starting this Friday through Dec. 31 (concluding with a New Year’s Eve bash).

Giving in America

Now until December 31st.  The National Museum of American History unveils this philanthropy-focused exhibit just in time for the holiday season. Giving in America highlights four themes: “Who Gives?” “Why Do We Give?” “What Do We Give?” and “How Do We Give?” as well as “Sustainability and the Environment”. You’ll be able to see care-giving artifacts that date back to the 1800s and learn how you can help your community in 2017.

Deco Japan : Shaping Art and Culture, 1920 – 1945

Now until December 31st.  Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens showcases the affect that the art deco movement had on the culture of Japan, enriching the tradition-rich country’s creativity and ushering it into the post-World War II, Modern age. This will be the first time that Japanese art deco is displayed in DC, as visitors will have a chance to see sculpture, painting, prints, ceramics, jewelry and furniture created in this distinctive manner that blends futuristic imagery with the classic Japanese style.

Christmas at Mount Vernon

Now until January 6th.  George Washington’s estate knows how to celebrate the holiday season like few other locales in the DMV area. During daylight hours, tour the gorgeous mansion, witness chocolate-making demonstrations and hang out with the estate’s favorite pet, Aladdin the Camel. At nighttime, tour the estate by candlelight and on Dec. 16 and 17, enjoy an incredible fireworks display along the Potomac River. Mount Vernon stays open every day of the year.


This Week in the DMV 12/6/16

A Christmas Carol

Now through December 31st.  Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic. Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace plays Ebenezer Scrooge. This annual production has been a Washington tradition for 35 years.Length: 2 hours with intermission.

“Civic Pride: Group Portraits from Amsterdam” Exhibit

Now until March 2017.  Painted during the Dutch Golden Age, these works bring to the nation’s capital a style of painting rarely seen outside the Netherlands. Two large-scale group portraits by artists Govert Flinck (1615–1660) and Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613–1670) depict the governors of the Kloveniersdoelen, the building where Amsterdam’s main militia companies held its meetings.

Muppets and Puppets

Now through January 8th.  This exhibit at the National Museum of American History will be an outstanding family activity during the holiday season. Muppets & Puppets gathers Muppets and marionettes that date as far back as 1900, as well as Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit from Capitan Kangaroo and the first Kermit created by Jim Henson.

Christmas Events at National Harbor

Now through January 1st.  An action-packed holiday schedule is the norm at National Harbor, a shopping, dining and amusement park-like landmark located just 20 minutes south of DC. Step inside the Gaylord National Resort for ICE! (through Jan. 1), an indoor winter wonderland featuring two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, ice slides, a live carving area and a unique retelling of the TV special Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. Since you’re at National Harbor, you’ll also want to view the Christmas tree from atop the Ferris wheel, shop for gifts at the Tanger Outlets and experience unique weekend events like holiday markets, performances and movie screenings.

Madame Tussauds Toy Drive

Now through December 23rd.  The holiday season is here, and to celebrate, Madame Tussauds DC is giving a little something special to those who give!

To celebrate the giving spirit of the holidays, Madame Tussauds DC will be running a toy drive in support of Merlin’s charity Merlin’s Magic Wand. From November 25th through December 5th, guests will have the opportunity to donate to our charity drive for a discount on admission to Madame Tussauds DC!

  • Guests who donate toys will receive one (1) FREE child admission.

Please note that this discount is only available when you purchase tickets at the door and cannot be combined with any other offers, including online tickets.

So, what are you waiting for? Come on down to Madame Tussauds DC and spread some cheer this holiday season!

Christmas Through the Ages

Now through December 31st.  Just before Thanksgiving, Madame Tussauds will host its first ever Holiday celebration bringing the joyous season to life, one decoration at a time.

Take a journey through holiday history and celebrate the season with Madame Tussauds’ “Christmas through the Ages”! From George Washington to Barack Obama, get a firsthand look at how the presidents celebrated Christmas! Historically accurate period decorations help bring the history of the holidays to life!

There will definitely be a plethora of holiday spirit and decor for the whole family, so get your tickets today!

Spend the Holidays with Tudor Palace

Now through December 31st.  Georgetown’s historic house museum marks its bicentennial with a variety of holiday teas, candlelight tours and wreath workshops. You can also enjoy Deck the Halls: A Family at Christmas (Dec. 3), which allows families to explore the mansion, write a letter to Santa, sing with carolers, make Christmas crafts and nibble on holiday cookies. On Dec. 7, Tudor Place hosts Tudor Nights: Home for the Holidays, 1945, which transports visitors back to peacetime at the mansion in late 1945.


Tudor Place Historic House & Garden

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This Week in the DMV 1/24/16

Cathedral Sings: Music for Kings and Queens

January 24th.  Join the Cathedral Choral Society for a community sing-along! All abilities welcome, and scores provided. Music Director J. Reilly Lewis leads a reading of music written for royalty: Handel’s “Zadok the Priest” and “The King Shall Rejoice,” and Mozart’s Mass in C Major, “Coronation.”

Bits and Pieces: Tawaraya Sōtatsu and the Genius of Fragmentation

January 26th.  At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Japan was in its first stages of national unification after nearly 150 years of civil war. The importance of ancient literary and visual traditions in this moment of vast social change cannot be underestimated. Tawaraya Sōtatsu, a townsman and artisan, thrived in this realigned world of newly porous hierarchies. His access to previously sequestered court art and Buddhist iconography inspired him to reshuffle fragments of the venerable past into a powerful personal style.

In the galleries of Sōtatsu: Making Waves, James Ulak, senior curator of Japanese art, discusses Sōtatsu’s concept of positive breakdown as a unique and renewing force in Japanese art from the early 1600s through the early twentieth century.

Arietta Wine Dinner

January 27th.  Join us for our very first wine dinner featuring wine specialist and auctioneer Fritz Hatton as he shares his renowned 2012 vintages. Chef Marc Plessis will prepare a four course tasting menu to pair with these lush and full bodied wines.$120 per person (tax and gratuity not included).

Fresh Talk: Change by Design

Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 7–8 p.m. followed by Catalyst, a cocktail hour with a topic and a twist, 8–9 p.m.  $25 for general admission; $15 for members, seniors and students. Includes museum admission and complimentary cocktails. Reservations required.

Gallery Talk: Pathmakers

January 27th.  Try an art snack!  Looking for some artistic and intellectual nourishment during your lunch break? This week, NMWA Director of Education and Digital Engagement Deborah Gaston discusses several works in the special exhibition Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today.

Author’s Talk: The Road to Yorktown: Jefferson, Lafayette and the British Invasion of Virginia

January 28th.  John R. Maass discusses and signs copies of his book, The Road to Yorktown: Jefferson, Lafayette and the British Invasion of Virginia (Arcadia Publishing, 2015). Dr. Maass is a historian for the U.S. Army Center of Military History. In 1781, Virginia was invaded by formidable British forces that sought to subdue the Old Dominion. Lord Cornwallis led thousands of enemy troops from Norfolk to Charlottesville, burning and pillaging along the way, and Virginia patriots struggled to defend their land. Only by concentrating a small band of troops under energetic French general the Marquis de Lafayette were American forces able to resist British operations. With strained support from Governor Thomas Jefferson’s administration, Lafayette fought a campaign against the veteran soldiers of Lord Cornwallis that eventually led to the famous battle at Yorktown. Dr. Maass traces this often overlooked Revolutionary struggle for Virginia and details each step on the road to Yorktown. Copies of the book will be available for purchase, and a book signing will follow the lecture. Light refreshments will be served.

Chinese New Year Family Festival

January 30th.  Join SAAM as we open our doors to the Chinatown and DC community to celebrate the 2016 Lunar New Year! Help us “awaken the lion” and ring in the year of the monkey with fun craft activities, traditional performances, artists, and demonstrations.  This program is presented in partnership with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China.  For more information visit here.


This Week in the DMV 1/17/16

“Wonder” Gallery Talk

January 20th.  Greg Huse, the Smithsonian’s Arborist and Tree Collection Manager, will discuss the biology and physiology of trees, and how they relate to John Grade’s Middle Fork installation. He will also discuss forest ecology and the roles that trees play in our daily lives. Free, no ticket or registration required.

West Side Story

January 19th – 20th.  Considered one of the greatest musicals of all time, West Side Story makes its triumphant Signature debut.

Gallery Talk: Pathmakers

January  20th.  This week, NMWA Assistant Educator Ashley W. Harris discusses several works in the special exhibition Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today.

“Take 5!” Alexander Norris Ensemble

January 21st.  Relax and “Take 5!” with free, live jazz in the Kogod Courtyard. Stop by the Courtyard Café for refreshments and borrow a board game to play during the concert.

Concerts at Clara’s: Jason Mendelson’s MetroSongs

January 22nd.  Bringing together the unlikely combination of music, history, and public transit, Jason Mendelson and a small ensemble of musicians will fill the Missing Soldiers Office with live music in a special performance of “MetroSongs”. Historian Mark Ozer, author of “Washington Metroland”, will accompany the musicians providing historical context about the Metro system.

This Week in the DMV 11/8/15

Girlstar – Open Captioning

November 8th.  Legendary record producer Daniella Espere is searching for her next international sensation. She discovers it in her long-lost niece, Tina, who dreams of being a world-famous pop star. Despite warning signs that all may not be as it seems, the two eagerly forge a mother/daughter bond and Daniella transforms Tina’s image, voice and talent into star quality – but not by the usual means.

Book Arts Lecture: Carol Barton

November 9th.  Book artist Carol Barton will talk about her process in creating her sculptural books, her research on historic movable books, and her background as a painter.

DC Jazz Festival Gala

November 9th.  Join us for a 3-course dinner and enjoy an evening of the Great American Songbook, featuring GRAMMY Award-winning artist Patti Austin, and the Howard University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Fred Irby, III, as well as the presentation of the DC Jazz Festival John Conyers, Jr. Jazz Advocacy Awards, honoring Stephanie Peters and Sage Communications.

International Center for Journalists 2015 Awards Dinner

November 10th.  Join 600 media leaders and overseas reporters at the International Center for Journalists’ annual Awards Dinner, DC’s premier international journalism event.

Girlstar – Discussion Night

November 10th.  After the performance, go behind-the-scenes with an exclusive discussion with members of the cast and artistic team.

This Week in the DMV 10/18/15

Chiara Civello

October 19th.  Chiara Civello was born in Rome, but as soon as she turned 18 she left for the USA to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston and soon became the first Italian artist to record for Verve Records. Her first album was produced by Russ Titelman, who discovered her in NYC.A great result of the Boston-NY days are the 10 songs of her recording debut LAST QUARTER MOON (Verve 2005), seven of which written by her and three in collaboration with other artists, including the great ballad Trouble, written with Burt Bacharach. Her debut granted her with a first world tour, making her hit the Japanese and Italian charts.Billboard Magazine noted that, “the beauty, charm and allure of singer/pianist/songwriter Chiara Civello’s debut…makes for an auspicious beginning and marks the first revelation of the New Year.” The International Herald Tribune declared “her combination of personality, soulfulness and sophistication…striking.” Called “the best jazz singer of her generation” by Tony Bennett, Chiara Civello lived up to that acclaim with her second release; one that left listeners contemplating the beauty of her voice and her songs and the space between.

Spy Seminar Series: Whistleblowers, Leakers, or Traitors?  You Decide

Until October 21st.  Ever since Edward Snowden leaked highly classified information to the media in June of 2013, Americans have been divided on whether he is a hero, a traitor, a conman, or a whistleblower. But this is not the first time in our history that an individual has ignited such controversy by revealing government secrets. In this series, intelligence experts and historians will explore the cases of five men who decided to take their data and run, and how the public and government reactions mirror or differ from today’s response to Snowden. Tickets at $120 and must be purchased through the Smithsonian.

Cake Off

October 20 – 21st.  A hilarious world premiere musical adaptation of Sheri Wilner’s riotous battle-of-the-baking-sexes play starring Sherri L. Edelen.  It’s the 48th Annual Millberry Cake Off. The legendary jackpot: one million dollars for the best homemade sugary delight. After a chilly pre-heating, hardy contestants Paul and Rita don their aprons, strap on their oven mitts and square off. Armed with whisks, bowls, knives and eggs, the two engage in an increasingly ludicrous all-out brawl – and only one can remain standing when the timer dings.  Ferociously funny, there’s nothing sweet about this wild musical satire, presented as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.  “Sheri Wilner has concocted an original and laugh-out-loud satire on gender roles…barbed, witty, thoughtful, giggle and snort inducing.” –The New York Times

Gallery Talks: Collection Connections

October 21st.  These bite-size lunchtime talks are offered most Wednesdays. Museum staff members facilitate interactive conversations, encouraging visitors to look closely and investigate the mediums, techniques and overarching themes of special exhibitions and works from the museum’s collection.