Published in The Washington Flyer.
Marrying the soulful instrumentation and orchestration of traditional Chinese music with the power and grandeur of Western symphonic music is the distinctive goal of the Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra.
The world-class ensemble will perform a program at the Kennedy Center that conjures a millennium of Chinese folk music, riddled with legends and history culled from the country’s most famous dynasties. Sept. 27; the Kennedy Center, kennedy-center.org.
Before there were Kindles and iPads, there was pulp. And few events celebrate words on paper with as much style as the National Book Festival does. The two-day outdoor event, which counts President and First Lady Obama as honorary chairs, will feature appearances by more than 100 authors and poets for book signings, lectures, interviews and readings. Sept. 21-22; the National Mall, loc.gov/bookfest/.
The Atlas District, one of Washington’s most vibrant up-and-coming neighborhoods, stages its annual H Street Festival, featuring live music, dance performances, contests and endless options in grub and libations. Come celebrate the only enclave in D.C. where you can catch the symphony and get that fullsleeve tattoo you’ve always wanted. Sept. 21; H Street, NE; hstreet.org.
It appears that artist Ellen Harvey is pretty sure we’re not going to make it — as a species, that is. Her new exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington D.C., explores what capital landmarks might look like to aliens landing on Earth 10,000 years in the future — long after human civilization has come to a close. The multimedia exhibit is equal parts terrifying and fascinating. Through Oct. 6; Corcoran Gallery of Art; corcoran.org.
The Black Cat, the 14th Street music venue co-founded by Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, is celebrating its 20th birthday in September with a proper rock ‘n’ roll party. The musical bash encompasses two nights of live music, featuring performances from seminal D.C. bands including Girls Against Boys, Tuscadero and Shudder to Think. Sept. 13–14; the Black Cat; blackcatdc.com.
AT THE MUSEUMS
The Art of Handwriting Archives of American Art Discover the art of penmanship through the handwriting of prominent American artists, including Georgia O’Keefe and Jackson Pollock. Through Oct. 22; aaa.si.edu
Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940-1990 National Building Museum Deconstruct Los Angeles’ extraordinary transformation into one of the most influential industrial, economic and creative capitals in the world. Ongoing beginning Oct. 20; nbm.org
Inside Insights: Photographs by the Smithsonian Community Ripley Center Check out this popular showcase for the winners of the Smithsonian staff photo contest. Curators make art, too! Through Sept. 22; si.edu
Yoga: The Art of Transformation Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Explore yoga’s rich history through more than 120 works, including temple sculptures, devotional icons, illustrated manuscripts and court paintings. Oct. 19 through Jan. 26; asia.si.edu — Emma Beck