The Black Hair Experience Pop-Up, Dinosaur Park Drive, and Live Comedy: Things to Do in Washington, May 13-16
Illustration by Hannah Good.
We have comedies, dinosaurs, and a black hair pop-up exhibit.
Here’s what you should check out this weekend:
Ready for selfie: Explore the Insta-worthy pop-up of The Black Hair Experience, an interactive exhibit of artwork and installations, including a large pit filled with curlers. The National Harbor Touring Show is all about black hairstyle, history and art, with pastel rooms ready to photograph with hair products and accessories. From Thursday May 13 to Sunday May 16; $ 32, buy tickets here. (Bonus: John Oliver recently spoke about hair on Last week tonight in a segment with a funny cameo from Leslie Jones.)
To laugh: Carmen Lynch, who grew up between Northern Virginia and Spain, is a popular comic book on late night shows and recently appeared on the FX documentary Hysterical, which focuses on the experiences of female actresses. Lynch will perform her stand-up at DC Improv (in person with Covid Safety Precautions) for a few shows this weekend. From Thursday May 13 to Saturday May 15 (times vary); Ticket prices start at $ 50 for a table of two, purchase your tickets here.
Write on the wall: A new installation at the Black Lives Matter Plaza – which was recently repaved – will display 14 works of art as part of the Pitroda Art online gallery’s annual exhibition “Movement: Art for Social Change”. See striking pieces from the Black Diaspora, including “The World We Live In” by local photographer Lloyd Foster and “Black Enough” by Barbadian artist Kadiejra O’Neal. See the screening at 900 Black Lives Matter Plaza NW before heading to Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Thursday 05/13 at 9 p.m. Free, find out more here.
Run to the monstersLive out your scariest dino fantasy at “The Jurassic Encounter,” an animatronic dinosaur drive-thru at Bull Run Regional Park in Centerville, Virginia. It is not an exercise! See over 55 massive robotic dinosaurs (T-rex, triceratops, and other popular species) along the trail. Be sure to stay inside the car – it looks wild. From Friday May 14 to Monday May 31; $ 49 – $ 59 per car, buy your tickets here.
History makers: Take a look at the military operation to kill Osama Bin Laden on the tenth anniversary with a special virtual event from the OSS company. Hear Leon Panetta, who was Director of the CIA at the time, and retired Admiral William H. McRaven, who oversaw the Navy SEAL raid, in a conversation moderated by career intelligence expert Michael Vickers. Friday 05/14 at 6 p.m .; Free, register here.
Have fun in the sun: This weekend is Ballston’s Quarterfest Crawl, an all-day event with live music, restaurant discounts, games, a scavenger hunt and more. There will be more than a dozen shows in the neighborhood, including jazz musician Memphis Gold and viral TikTok cellist Andrew Savoia. Saturday 5/15 at noon; Free to attend, find out more here.
Today I posted an interview with author Lauren Hough, whose memoir focuses on her childhood in a cult, her tough times as a lesbian in the Air Force, and her life in Washington, where she worked various jobs including in cable and bouncer. Here is an exerpt:
You write about your life from a nomadic upbringing with the Children of God (aka the Family) to joining the Air Force in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era to working in a beloved DC gay bar. These all sound like divergent experiences, but in the “Badlands” essay, you actually tie these three things together. What sparked this comparison between the sect, the Air Force and a gay bar?
There’s something going on in these shitty jobs. You’re too tired to keep your walls around your coworkers – you may hate them, but at least they’re not the customers who are making your life miserable. At the end of a night, everyone is raw enough and too tired to hold anything back. You are really approaching. It was something that I looked for in the military and in the family: this camaraderie and this friendship and us against them. I only found it when I started working in gay bars where it was my team. These are the people who accepted me and who would defend me against anyone or anything just because I was not them, the clientele. It happens in restaurants, in kitchens, in any of these jobs.
I hate the word “family” because I grew up in a sect called the family. I thought it would be fun to write an essay on how I’m kind of okay with considering people who are not my immediate family to be my big family. We do this in the cities, however. You move to a city and you have to find your group of friends and they kind of become your family – this is where you go on vacation, these are the people you lean on when you have surgery and that someone needs to walk your dog. It has a lot to do with being queer. Many of us are rejected by our families and lose family members, so we are already looking for a replacement. Historically, this has been part of our community.
DC’s queer scene receives a rare spotlight here. You also write a bit about the misogyny and sexual assault you’ve faced in queer spaces. How did you approach this?
The book itself is a time capsule of queer life from the late 90s and early 2000s, but I think it’s just something I noticed because I’m from the military and that I’m supposed to be able to walk into a gay bar and feel safe. People go to gay bars to feel safe. It’s weird and disheartening that you can also be very dangerous as a woman surrounded by men who are not sexually interested in you, but [have been] trained by our society to still be completely misogynist. It’s shocking. It would be nice to feel that there was a safe place for women. We used to have lesbian bars, but I think there are three left in the country, so. It is something that we have lost. I’m not sure if there are any safe spaces for women anymore, but in queer bars, that is no longer the case, which is disappointing. [Coming] from a cult in West Texas to the military, then [feeling like] alright, that’s where I belong – apparently maybe not that much. We are not free from racism and misogyny or any other problem. I think we’d love to be – and we fucking should be – but there’s just as much racism and misogyny within the queer community as anywhere else in this country.
Read the full interview here.
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