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16 things to do in the D.C. area over Presidents Day weekend


Kiere Johnson appears in the Oscar-nominated documentary “Minding the Gap,” which will screen on Sunday as part of AFI Silver’s look back on overlooked films of 2018. (Hulu)

Friday, Feb. 15

Big Apple Circus at National Harbor: There’s a lot of girlpower at the Big Apple Circus, starting with ringmaster Stephanie Monseu. Then there’s animal trainer Jenny Vibel, who works only with rescued horses and dogs, and acrobat Virginia Tuells, who’s earned the nickname “strongest mom in the world.” The circus offers shows for audience members with special needs, including a Circus of the Senses for ticket-holders who are hearing- or vision-impaired, along with sensory-friendly performances. Through March 24. $15-$95.

[15 things to do around D.C. in February, including Lunar New Year celebrations and a star-studded “Music Man”]

Thursday at Union Stage: In 2001, it was as if an entire flood of emo-affected punk music was unleashed into the mainstream with a simple sound: pop-pop. It came from the New Jersey punks Thursday, a band that laid the groundwork for emo to come with its 2001 album “Full Collapse.” The album’s standout track “Understanding in a Car Crash,” started with a double snare hit that set singer Geoff Rickly off on an excavation of every personal tragedy and unresolved feeling that coursed through his being. Thursday will play the album in full during the first of a two-night stand at Union Stage. The second night is a performance of the band’s expansive 2003 follow-up “War All the Time.” 8:30 p.m. $35-$49.

Love Thy Beer: A Winter Warmer Showcase at the Silver Spring Civic Center: Most people don’t drink the same beers all year round: A strong, chocolatey stout goes down easier on a chilly winter evening than it would after mowing the lawn in a July heatwave. The Brewers Association of Maryland celebrates this season’s beers during its annual Love Thy Beer Festival, which finds 26 brewers offering unlimited pours of their stouts, porters, IPAs and sours. Manor Hill, Crooked Crab, Astro Lab and True Respite are among the names to look out for, but each brewery also brings an special “Cupid’s Curse” offering that you won’t find anywhere else. Admission includes snacks and live music; VIP tickets add a 6 p.m. entry time and access to additional beers. 7 to 10 p.m. $55-$75.

Aprés ski party at Wunder Garten: Can’t make it out to the slopes? The NoMa beer garden is bringing the ski lodge party to the city without the need to make a road trip — or exert too much physical energy. The weekend’s activities include a snowball toss competition, live DJs, s’mores and, if you’re jonesing for the real thing, virtual reality skiing. Guests are encouraged to come decked out in their coziest ski gear to get in the mood. Friday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Free; food and drinks priced individually.

“Sound Heals All Wounds” at Rhizome: The Takoma art space operates on its own wavelength and starting Friday it will play host to a month-long exploration in the power of sound. A mix of exhibitions and performances dot the calendar in an effort to find peace and power in listening and observation. The series kicks off with a gathering inspired by American composer Pauline Oliveros, who advocated for “sonic meditations” as a form of activism. 7 to 10 p.m. $5 suggested donation.

Saturday, Feb. 16

‘2018: A Second Look’ at AFI Silver: The Oscars are Feb. 24, but this smartly curated retrospective of last years’s best films isn’t just a chance to catch up on the nominees you missed. To be sure, the AFI Silver’s 22-film lineup does boast 11 nominees: “Roma” heads up a list that also includes documentaries “Free Solo” and “Minding the Gap,” along with entries from Japan in the category of animation (“Mirai”) and foreign-language film (“Shoplifters”). You’ll also find such criminally overlooked films as ““Leave No Trace” and, yes, “Paddington 2,” as well some — ahem — more questionable choices. I’m looking at you, “Vox Lux” and “Suspiria.” Through March 21. Showtimes vary. $8-$13.

Ginuwine at EagleBank Arena: Can we talk about “Pony” for a minute? Try to name a sexier song that you’ve heard in more public places. Since its unforgettable splashdown in the summer of 1996, Ginuwine’s everlasting slow-jam has continuously made its presence felt inside nightclubs, strip clubs, shopping malls and wedding receptions — which makes it the freakiest song you’ve routinely danced to in the presence of other people’s grandmas. According to Ginuwine, those grandmas have good taste. “They don’t even care,” he says. “They get up and dance, too!” 8 p.m. $59-$125.

[‘Pony’ is forever — but Ginuwine hopes you remember him for another song]

Shop Made in D.C. grand opening at the Wharf: We’re flooded with pop-up shops and holiday markets in December, but it can be tough to find cool, unique and, importantly, local gifts the rest of the year. That’s where Shop Made in D.C. comes in. The year-old Dupont Circle boutique only sells clothing, accessories and home goods from independent makers. To mark the opening of a new, more intimate store at the Wharf, Made in D.C. is throwing a day-long party that starts with brunch from Call Your Mother and Lost Sock Coffee, includes workshops with on-site engraving and card pressing, and finishes after dark with a DJ, snacks and adult beverages from Bluejacket and One Eight Distilling. You’ll also be among the first to browse the wares from 80 local suppliers, including some higher-end bags and clothing that isn’t available at the original location. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

Wifisfuneral at Milkboy Arthouse: The 21-year-old Florida rapper Wifisfuneral ticks off a few of SoundCloud rap’s stylistic boxes: lo-fi production; flows that rarely waver from the same booming inflection; and a general chaotic urgency. His most recent effort, “Conn3ct3d,” a collaborative album with tourmate Robb Banks, attempts to create a mood that matures beyond SoundCloud, but with mixed results. Still, the two make for an interesting pair. At 24, Banks is something of an elder statesman (his first buzzed-about mixtape dropped in 2012 when he was 17), while Wifisfuneral recently earned a coveted spot on XXL Magazine’s 2018 freshman list — a harbinger of mainstream success. 8 p.m. $20-$50.

[4 concerts to catch in the D.C. area over the next several days]

Sunday, Feb. 17

‘Huckleberry Finn’s Big River’ at Adventure Theatre: Ater one big idea took shape, the path forward became clear for Adventure Theatre’s new hour-long, kid-friendly version of the Tony-winning 1985 Broadway musical, “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” In the newly titled “Huckleberry Finn’s Big River,” the escaped slave Jim, who shares that raft down the Mississippi with Huck, is a teen, just like Huck. Even before the Huck-Jim age decision, it had been a given that the show would include none of the offensive racial slurs that appear more than 200 times in Mark Twain’s iconic 1885 novel and, to a far lesser degree, in the Broadway script. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Showtimes vary through March 10. $20.

Living the Dream … Singing the Dream at the Kennedy Center: This February performance is a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy, combining the voices of the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choirs and the Choral Arts Chorus. The groups take to the Kennedy Center for a concert that showcases different musical styles all while celebrating how singing can be a powerful catalyst for change. 7 p.m. Sold out.

Speedy Ortiz at Union Stage: Sheryl Sandberg’s “lean in” became a catchall call to action for women to assert themselves in the workplace. In the music of Speedy Ortiz, that mantra became “Lean in When I Suffer,” an angular anthem about panic attacks, emotional labor and a partner who self-cares more than he cares. That’s the approach that frontwoman Sadie Dupuis and company have mastered since debuting at the top of the decade, mixing sardonic lyrics and pop-rock melodies with the distortion, dissonance and dynamics of grunge. For Dupuis, the personal is political, and she tackles everything from flirtations and rocky relationships to sexual harassment and assault as #MeToo joins the self-empowerment lexicon. 7:30 p.m. $15-$30.

‘In A Silent Way’ 50th anniversary listening party at Songbyrd: The Adams Morgan spot caters a lot to music lovers — a concert venue and record shop most notably — but one of its regular events can be easy to overlook for its simplicity: a listening party. Songbyrd will usually host gatherings for anticipated new Friday releases, but the ones to carve out time for is when they spin classics. Sunday will celebrate iconic jazz artist Miles Davis and the 50th anniversary of his album “In A Silent Way.” The record was recorded in one day on Feb. 18, 1969 and is seen as a landmark album for Davis in how it expanded his sound. 2 p.m. $5-$7.

Monday, Feb. 18

Washington’s Birthday Celebration at Mount Vernon: Sure, his date of birth is actually a few days later, but a party at the residence of America’s first commander-in-chief is a fitting way to remember Presidents Day. The Alexandria estate offers annual free admission to the grounds, and guests can watch an official ceremony of wreath-laying on Washington’s tomb accompanied by a gun salute and fife and drum corps. There will also performances from re-enactors as well as tastings of Virginia-made syrups. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

Sours Week at the Partisan: We have been singing the praises of the humble sour beer, but if you still haven’t been convinced, there’s a great chance to try the best of the best of these funkier concoctions at the Penn Quarter eatery and butcher shop. Some of the highlights include D.C.’s own Bluejacket with its Escape Mountain, which is a wine barrel-aged sour with cherry notes. Or look south to Richmond brewer The Veil’s offering Never Calm³, which is the third iteration of their gose that tastes like an intense blend of passion fruit and citrus. Indecisive about which one to try? Order a flight of three ($25) or five ($35) that is served with Red Apron’s charcuterie. Through Feb. 24. Food and drink priced individually unless otherwise noted.

[Sours are quickly becoming the funky gateway into the world of craft beer]

Not My Presidents’ Day Pizza Party at Midlands Beer Garden: Whether or not you agree with the sentiment, spending your three-day weekend at this Park View beer garden is a sensible idea. Doors open at at noon with a buy-one-get-one deal on local drafts until 5 p.m, Petworth pizzeria Timber Pizza Company will have their truck parked outside firing up pies, and a live band goes on at 1 p.m. Grab a beer, a slice to eat and celebrate as many, or as few, presidents as your heart desires. Noon to 5 p.m. No cover; food and drinks priced individually.

— Hau Chu, Adele Chapin, Fritz Hahn, Jane Horwitz, Chris Kelly, Michael O’Sullivan and Chris Richards

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