Recess is in the air. With no debt limit fight or other some-such-ness, Congress is free to move about the country by the end of the week and is not set to return until Sept. 9. That’ll be five weeks of Congress-free existence, a time when staffers and the people who make their living around the Capitol orbit disembark and Washington gets a little less hectic. In the intervening week, though, here’s a to-do list of only-in-Washington things to hold you over until everyone’s back in the fold after Labor Day.
Screen on the Green, With Capitol Views
Screen on the Green, the capital’s outdoor film festival on the National Mall, screens “Norma Rae,” Martin Ritt’s 1979 film starring Sally Field as a woman who dares to unionize her textile shop, on July 29. Field won an Academy Award for best actress for her titular role. It’s an unabashedly political movie, and what better way to see it than with the Capitol in the background?
Envisioning D.C.’s Future
The Corcoran Gallery of Art has an exhibit that makes one think past the normal human time frame, such as what to have for lunch. “Ellen Harvey: The Alien’s Guide to the Ruins of Washington, D.C.,” imagines what visiting archaeological aliens will make of our neo-classical city in the distant future, after humanity’s time has run its course and the aliens try to interpret for their children how to explain this city of ruins. There is not a lot about the running filibuster snipes between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Avant-Garde Folk Fun
The Sixth and I Historic Synagogue is one of the gems in Washington’s small-concert stage repertoire. On July 31, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Dawn McCarthy will perform their new album, “What the Brothers Sang,” a tribute to the Everly Brothers. Bonnie Billy, aka Will Oldham, is one of the more interesting and stranger pop cultural creatures out there. His avant-garde folk, even as way out there as it is, is as American as apple pie. It’s made all the cooler with his presence in this old-timey synagogue in the heart of one of Washington’s most booming downtown neighborhoods.
Game, Set, Match
Washington’s marquee professional tennis tournament, the newly christened Citi Open (formerly known as the Legg Mason Tennis Classic) can’t rival New York’s U.S. Open or any of the other sub-Grand Slam tournaments in the United States. But the setting, in Rock Creek Park’s William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Stadium at 16th and Kennedy streets Northwest, is gorgeous and has been a part of Washington’s sports scene since the tournament began in 1969. On Aug. 1, the men’s and women’s quarterfinals will be under way, making for some good play at hand.
A Jazz Classic
The week’s over, and there are few better ways to unwind than at Jazz in the Garden, the picnic and outdoor music event on summer Fridays at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden (at Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street Northwest). Jazz keyboardist Brian Simms plays from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Bring a blanket, food and beverage, and your pals. It’s about as chill a way to start the weekend as you can get.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick