eliza berkon is a journalist and musician based in washington d.c. 

11 of Our Favorite Events in D.C. This Week

Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who’s using Independence Day to justify a weeklong vacation, but if not, there is still plenty to do this week. Open your wallet to support immigrant families, grab a patch of grass for a concert at the Capitol, or craft your own hangover cure-all.


HAMILTON RADIO: Sure, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s hip-hop-saturated take on Alexander Hamilton’s life has proved infectious, but what did the Founding Father himself actually rock out to? Find out with Celebrate Independence: Music of Hamilton’s Time, a survey of the music Hamilton and his contemporaries might have enjoyed, performed by a duo from the Colonial Music Institute to commemorate July 2, the day the Continental Congress voted for U.S. independence from Britain. (The Society of the Cincinnati at Anderson House, 6 p.m., FREE)

EAT FOR A CAUSE: On the heels of last Saturday’s nationwide marches protesting President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, chefs, and restaurant owners from area hotspots (including Right Proper Brewing Company and Hank’s Oyster Bar) are supplying food and drink for D.C. Women Who CARE: Reuniting Immigrant Families. Funds raised will support projects that assist immigrant families at the U.S. border. (Cork Wine Bar and Market, 7 p.m., $50-$500)

MORE: Who Will Speak for America? (Politics and Prose, 7-8 p.m., FREE)


TAKE THAT!: Spice up an otherwise mundane Tuesday with a forearm block and some popcorn. The outdoor film series Can I Kick It? presents combat demos and martial arts favorites on the big screen with their soundtracks remixed on site. On the marquee this week: Romeo Must Die, a story of ill-fated love released in 2000 that stars late singer/actress Aaliyah and Chinese actor Jet Li. (Freedom Plaza, 7-10 p.m., FREE)

BABY, YOU’RE A ...: Who needs fireworks two nights in a row? You do. After the Nats go head-to-head with the Boston Red Sox for the second in a three-game series (game No. 3 will be played on Independence Day), the park is hosting a post-game “freedom fireworks” session, an event that perhaps both sets of fiercely loyal fans can rally around. Perhaps. (Nationals Park, 6:05 p.m., $30-$495)

MORE: Made in America Dance Party (Nellie’s Sports Bar, 8 p.m., FREE)


UNCLE SAM AND UNCLE JESSE: Mark an annual tradition or start a new one by hopping off the couch and heading over to A Capitol Fourth. The televised concert and fireworks show includes Jimmy Buffett, The Beach Boys, CeCe Winans, Chita Rivera, and Pentatonix on a fairly lengthy artist roster, with Full/Fuller House icon John Stamos returning as host. (West Lawn of U.S. Capitol, 8-9:30 p.m., FREE)

LASTING WORDS: On July 5, 1852, former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass grappled publicly with what Independence Day might mean to the millions of Americans then held in bondage, a speech in which he asks, “What, to the American slave, is your fourth of July?” In a day of events celebrating the reformer’s 200th birthday, watch a re-enactment, tour Douglass’ Cedar Hill home in the Anacostia Historic District and hear some patriotic music from D.C. Strings Workshop before catching the Mall fireworks from a distance. (Cedar Hill, 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m., FREE)

DID SOMEONE SAY CAKE?: Mount Vernon, the longtime home of George Washington, is the setting for a flurry of patriotic activity at An American Celebration. Highlights include a naturalization ceremony of individuals from 50 countries, daytime fireworks, birthday cake, and tunes from the National Concert Band. (Mount Vernon, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m., $11-$20)

PASS THE SALSA: If the tunes of John Philip Sousa and George M. Cohan are becoming rotting earworms by midweek, head to the Kennedy Center for a salsa immersion with Son Veteranos, a performance ensemble and music therapy outlet for returning U.S. veterans in Puerto Rico. (Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 6 p.m., FREE)

MORE: Independence Day Parade (Constitution Ave., 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m., FREE), Fourth of July Summer Party at the Wharf (Transit Pier, 12-4 p.m., FREE), Mini BBQ by the Midnite BBQ (Big Chief, 2 p.m.-Midnight, FREE before 5 p.m.)


JUST BREATHE: Lavender is a go-to for its calming properties, but it also may be the perfect antidote to a July 5th hangover. Learn how to make your own air freshener using the purple plant at this Smithsonian Folklife Festival workshop. (Pyrenees Stage, 5-6 p.m., FREE)

THE JOKER: Comedian DeRay Davis—whose film and TV credits include Barbershop21 Jump StreetEmpire, and Entourage—brings his irreverent brand of humor to DC Improv for a four-day residency. (DC Improv, 7:30 p.m./9:30 p.m., $40-$50)

JUST WHY IS IT ‘BLUE,’ ANYWAY?: The myriad topics that fall under that esoteric label “humanities” should naturally be discussed over cocktails, and that’s just the point of Humanities DC’s Humanitini series. Twirl a swizzle stick at this latest installment while you engage in a discussion of local bluegrass music history with Georgetown professor Kip Lornell and others. (Busboys and Poets, 6-8:30 p.m., FREE)

MORE: The Secret Trio with Maria Arnal and Marcel Bages (Rinzler Stage at Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 6:30-8:30 p.m., FREE)

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