Presidents giveth and they taketh away: You're getting a three-day weekend thanks to President's Day, but, as D.C. Advocates for the Arts point out, President Obama's new budget will slash support for District arts groups, mainly in the form of halving the National Capitol Arts and Cultural Affairs program. The least you can do with your long weekend is to check out some of these cheap and free arts events:
Friday, Feb. 18:
The District's new literary journal The Folly will unveil their first issue at
Marvin Pharmacy Bar tonight, toasting their debut with $2 PBRs. The contributors list is chockablock with local artists and tastemakers, including street artist Decoy, fashion writer Holly Thomas, illustrator Elizabeth Graeber and photographer Christopher Chen — not to mention mega-collector Mera Rubell.
Two pop-up projects — the Mount Pleasant Temporium and Garment District — open today. For the former, check out our photo gallery, and tonight's free event at 7 p.m., featuring music by DJs Bent, Rat, Trash, and Mothersheister of Radio CPR. Tomorrow evening, Speakeasy DC will host a storytelling session. Garment District is hosting Light it Up, and for $10, you can preview the exhibition and hear music by Stereofaith, Chris Nitti, Trevor Martin and others. Artists featured throughout the pop-up's duration include Bridget Sue Lambert, AnaMarie Paredes, and Thomas Drymon.
Saturday, Feb. 19:
Curator's Office unveils a new show from local darlings Nicholas and Sheila Pye, who are concurrently showing a new film at the Phillips Collection. Amend features six photographs exploring their romantic separation from each other, including faking their own deaths. Opening reception 6:30-8 p.m.
Artists J.J. McCracken, Jan Razauskas, and Millicent Young discuss their exhibition, climate, control, at Civilian Art Projects on its last day, with curators Kristina Bilonick and Karyn Miller. Earlier this month, I wrote about the show: "climate, control refers not to the temperature – though that certainly contributes to the success of McCracken's science-fair-project-like work – but to the artist's surroundings, and how she manipulates them to create her work. Same goes for Jan Razauskas, who paints every day objects, evoking the coolness of an empty, air-conditioned suburban four-bedroom home, and Millicent Young, whose horsehair and found wood sculptures make her the nymph-like, ponytailed Martin Puryear of the woods." The discussion begins at 4 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 20:
The National Gallery's newly-opened Venice: Canaletto and His Rivals explores the competitive art of view painting, the beautiful cityscapes that were popular with collectors in the early 1700s. Curator Charles Beddington introduces the exhibition in a free lecture at 2 p.m. at the National Gallery auditorium.
Monday, Feb. 21:
Company members of Constellation Theatre, who are probably still out of breath from all of the running around and door-slamming in their zany production of On the Razzle that I saw last night, will be hosting a free reading of one-act plays by Tom Stoppard. One of them, The Real Inspector Hound, is a play-within-a-play spoof of Sherlock Holmes and theater criticism. Tickets are distributed at the door beginning at 7 p.m. at the Source, for the reading, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
For a reading in a more intimate setting, Forum Theatre's Naomi Wallace Festival continues with a 7:30 p.m. presentation of the playwright's The Fever Chart at private residence. The Fever Chart addresses unrest in the Middle East for which the Guardian wrote, "Sometimes it is the quietest responses to humanitarian disaster that make the loudest impact." RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn the location.