Filmfest DC, Yuri’s Night, cherry blossom parade and more weekend picks

April 11, 2013

The weekend’s best in music, nightlife and family events:

Thursday: One of the city's most compelling annual film festivals is Filmfest DC. With more than 80 movies from around the globe, this year's eclectic slate was practically tailored to Washington's nerd-cool intellects, including recent Oscar nominee “Kon-Tiki” and an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children,” which will be followed by a talk with the author and director Deepa Mehta. Read more about which films you should see here.

And if you're looking for a Vegas-style getaway that's within 30 minutes of the District, Arundel Mills's Maryland Live! Casino kicked off table gaming in the wee hours this morning. Recreational blackjack players, rejoice.

Why yes, Stacy Keibler did roll the dice at Maryland Live! Casino this week. Now, you can too. (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Friday:  On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth. Each year, space-themed "Yuri's Night" parties mark the anniversary of Gagarin's voyage. In Washington, things get decidedly nerdy at Yuri's Night at Science Club, where DJs spin dance music while guests participate in science experiments and build marshmallow rockets, starting at 7 p.m.

One of spring's most anticipated films, "42," stars Howard grad Chadwick Boseman as the indomitable Jackie Robinson, and Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey. It's shaping up to be this weekend's big new release, and it just snagged a three-star rating from critic Ann Hornaday.

While teaching music at Howard University in the early 1970s, the great jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd helped some of his students form a jazz-funk fusion group called the Blackbyrds, who went on to record "Rock Creek Park," "Walking in Rhythm" and other memorable songs. Byrd passed away in February and with "Walking in Rhythm: A Tribute to the Life of Donald Byrd," the Blackbyrds are honoring their mentor in song at THEARC, with special guest Bobbi Humphrey, a jazz flautist who recorded for Blue Note Records.

Saturday: After performance artist Kathryn Cornelius married and divorced seven strangers for 2012's "Save the Date," she spent a night in each of her former spouses' homes, eating their food, sleeping in their beds and rummaging through their belongings to simulate "feigned connection." The result is "Take All the Time You Need," an exploration of the morning after. In a reversal of her project's conceit, Cornelius invites gawkers into her studio from 6 to 9 p.m. to eat her food (she's cooking and serving foods from her Polish heritage) and explore the project's resulting photographs. Other viewings are by appointment only.

For once, there might actually still be blooms left on the cherry trees when the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade steps off at 10 a.m. with lavish floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands and performers, including former "American Idol" finalist Elliott Yamin and hometown hero Mya.

More Yuri's Night fun: Artisphere hosts an adults-only "Year of the Robot" party featuring a moon bounce, exhibits, dancing, a celestial costume contest and more from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Sunday: Make your first visit of the season to Yards Park for the Global Nepal Fest, which will feature live music, dance performances and a marketplace from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday-May 12: Walking into the DC Design House is like entering the well-appointed digs of the neighbor you've always been jealous of, without the awkwardness of having to tiptoe around to see how they've decorated the master bathroom, media room or nursery. This particular neighbor has 24 rooms, including a morning room, a butler's pantry and a library at 2507 Foxhall Rd. NW. It's open from noon to 5 p.m. on weekends and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

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Fritz Hahn | April 11, 2013