Best Things to Do in the DC Area 2/6-2/12: Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center, DC Black History Film Festival, and “A Collector’s Eye” exhibit

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Plus, a family-friendly lantern festival.

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Michael Jackson Jr. and James Gilmer in Kyle Abraham’s “Are You in Your Feelings.” Photograph by Paul Kolnik.

Happy Monday, everyone!

You can revel in the warmer temperatures this week and spend a day out browsing a new Smithsonian exhibition, or watching back-to-back movies at a Black history-themed film festival. Also, if you are looking for places to watch the Super Bowl, check out our latest watch party round-up.

Best Things to Do This Week

  1. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. This talented dance company is back at the Kennedy Center to show off their newest works, along with some classic selections and choreography. The joyous show will host a mixed repertory program including the modern dance work “Revelations” (Tues-Sun, $49+, Kennedy Center).
  2. DC Black History Film Festival. Don’t miss out on this one-day movie event at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema where moviegoers can view a variety of short films and independent documentaries that highlight contemporary Black history stories. Actor Lamman Rucker will host the DC Black History Film Festival; special guest performances and a filmmaker Q&A are included in the entertaining lineup (Sat, free, Northeast DC).
  3. “A Collector’s Eye” exhibit. Observe Byzantine jewelry, New Kingdom Egyptian glass vessels, amulets, and hundreds of beads from Egypt’s ancient past at the Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art’s latest exhibition. “A Collector’s Eye: Freer in Egypt” showcases the works collected by voyager Charles Lang Freer during the early 1900s including a digital copy of one of the oldest Bibles in the world (daily, free, National Museum of Asian Art).
  4. “The High Ground” at Arena Stage. A new stage play narrates the history of the the Tulsa race massacre in a setting 100 years after the horrific event took place. See the opening of The High Ground this weekend at Arena Stage (Fri through April 2, $82+, Southwest DC).
  5. Rockville Lantern Festival. Bring your kids and family to this cultural celebration filled with live performances, snacks, a photo booth, a Dragon Dance, and other fun activities. This Asian Lantern Festival also features Mahjong bingo, storytelling, calligraphy, and paper-cutting craft activities (Sat, free, Rockville).
Nehassaiu deGannes and Phillip James Brannon for The High Ground running February 10 to April 2 at Arena Stage. Photograph by Tony Powell.

Want More Things to Do?

Budget-friendly. Watch a screening of the movie King Richard (Thurs, free, Northeast DC) or the “throwback film” Men in Black (Thurs, free, Southwest DC). Stretch it out at a Bob Marley-inspired yoga class at Eaton DC (Mon, free, downtown). Join a State of the Union viewing party at Red Derby (Tues, free, Southwest DC), or Fight Club (Tues, free but reservations recommended, Capitol Hill).

Arts and culture. Washington Ballet Artistic Director Julie Kent joins Chamber Dance Project Artistic Director Diane Coburn Bruning in a conversation about British choreographer Antony Tudor (Wed, $25, Northwest DC). Diversify your bookshelf with local “Bookstagrammers” at Politics and Prose (Wed, free, Northeast DC). Learn the history of Valentine’s Day cards, and then create your own at Tudor Place (Sat, $30, Northwest DC). Philip Levy discusses his new book The Permanent Resident (Tues, free, Mount Vernon). Decorate Valentine’s Day cookies at Lost Boy Cider (Tues, $60, Alexandria). It’s the last chance to journey through “Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience(through Mon, $20, Northwest DC). Observe the exhibit “Double Rainbow: Prismmms(through February 25, free, Northwest DC). Attend the opening of “Jack Hornady: Road Trip;” drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served at the event (Wed, $20, Northwest DC). Browse a lineup of area artisans at this Valentine Artisan Market (Sat, free, Northwest DC).

History and heritage. Observe Black History Month with Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (Mon, $20, Northwest DC). Or, watch two films in one day at the 34th Annual Black Film Festival (every Tues through February, free, MLK Library). Watch a screening of documentary Afrofuturism: The Origin Story followed by a panel discussion (Wed, free, panel streamed virtually,  Smithsonian African American History and Culture Museum). Live music, student discussions, and a panel are all a part of Frederick Douglass Birthday Celebration at Capital Turnaround (Sat, free, Southeast DC).

Theater and shows. See one of the Mosaic Theater Company’s latest plays Bars and Measures (through February 26, $50+, Northeast DC). Watch main character Della work through a baking dilemma in Prologue Theatre’s new play The Cake (through February 26, $25+, Northeast DC). The new show Native Gardens is set in Northwest DC and performed in Spanish with English subtitles (through February 26, $35+, Northwest DC). Get a first look at a new production by local playwright Audrey Cefaly (Mon, free, Arlington).

Music and concerts. R&B singer Kaash Paige performs at Union Stage (Mon, $25, Southwest DC). See Sheila E. and The E Train live in concert (Tues. $50+, Howard Theatre). Experience a combination of improv comedy and chamber music in a concert with Dark Horse Theatre Company and String Quintet (Sat, $35+, Tysons). Enjoy live music played by Amadeus Strings and a pre-performance talk with the musicians (Sun, $45+, Tysons). Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell performs with pianist Peter Dugan (Wed, $30, Kennedy Center). Washington Performing Arts and the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts present the music ensemble Our Song, Our Story (Fri, $30+, Kennedy Center). DC artist Jonathan Hawkins will perform acoustic tunes at the Hard Rock Cafe (Tues, free, Northwest DC). Snap your fingers to the jazz beat at the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room (Wed, free, Silver Spring). Listen to local alto saxophonist Herb Scott (Sat, $15, Takoma).

Game night. Play Black history-themed Jeopardy (Thurs, free, Northeast DC). Neighborhood trivia continues at Metrobar (every Thurs, free, Northeast DC). Compete in six to eight rounds of bingo at The Fainting Goat (every Tues, free U Street). Give Queer Trivia a try at The Dew Drop Inn (Wed, free, Northeast DC).

Things to do with kids. Children can explore portraits of author Toni Morrison (Wed, free, virtual). Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the rediscovery of King Tut’s tomb and Write Like a Mummy (Thurs, free, Cleveland Park). Meet Black ice skater Joel Savary at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s celebration of Black children’s movies (Fri, free, virtual).

Get involved. Share your musical talent for a good cause at Saloon’s open mic night; proceeds help raise funds for underserved populations through nonprofit Kamal Foundation (Tues, donations welcome, U Street).

If you enjoyed these events, please don’t forget to share this post with a friend on social media, and sign-up for our newsletter for more things to do.

Briana A. Thomas is a local journalist, historian, and tour guide who specializes in the research of D.C. history and culture. She is the author of the Black history book, Black Broadway in Washington, D.C., a story that was first published in Washingtonian in 2016.

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