Seven things to do in D.C. on the weekend of May 10-12

May 9, 2013

The weekend’s best in nightlife, music and art:


The Smithsonian will mark National Public Gardens Day and usher in spring with a family-friendly day in the Enid A. Haupt garden. (Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post)

Friday: If you missed Fritz Hahn’s fascinating tale of black cocktail maestros who, before Prohibition, whipped up nearly every drink for Washington luminaries, it’s a must-read. Then, you’ll want to get tickets for the Museum of the American Cocktail’s “D.C. Toasts: The Black Mixology Club” at the Howard Theatre. The event will feature D.C. bartenders mixing up historic drinks, and historians telling tales about the real Black Mixology Club and its members.

For Garden Day, the Smithsonian dedicates a day in its Enid A. Haupt Garden to plants and the great outdoors. Visitors to the Smithsonian Garden Fest can add to a land-art installation, add a plant to the garden, check out workshops on home composting and watch demonstrations of tap dancing, Zumba and more.

Saturday: Yeah, Cultural Tourism DC's E.U. Open House day is a culturally enriching event that celebrates diplomacy, but really, the reason everyone loves it so much is that it's a combination of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and an all-you-can-eat buffet. It's the one day of the year you get to peer into palatial embassies and see the splendor that is merely another person's workplace. Plus, embassy hospitality often involves free food, like sips of Belgian beer, Estonian fish, or a delicious plateful of Polish pierogi and kielbasa.

With its mix of indie headliners (the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, Passion Pit), YouTube sensations (violinist Lindsay Stirling) and gourmet food offerings (Toki Underground, Rogue 24), the fourth annual Sweetlife Festival is reliably one of the season's most crowd-pleasing bills. Get there early to see music's label-defying "It" girl, Solange and of-the-moment rapper Kendrick Lamar.

If you have yet to pick up a gift for Mom, you can dip into the D.C. Craft Mafia's annual Spring Thing Arts and Crafts Market, which should be loaded with quirky-cute goodies from 40 alt-crafters including Alice and Ginger and Tina Seamonster. The event kicks off at St. Luke's Episcopal Church at 11 a.m.

What was baseball like in the 1860s? Imagine today's game, but with underhand pitches, no outfield fences and trees or other obstacles in the field of play, and you'll start to get a picture of the game's origins. So the Chesapeake and Potomac Vintage Baseball Club's doubleheader, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Historic Long Branch, isn't quite the polished, powerful home run derby that's often on display at Nationals Park, but instead a rare history lesson on the field of play - not to mention a much cheaper day at the old ballgame.

Sunday: The house of Chanel, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were just a few of the visionary collaborators who brought modernism and panache to the costumes and sets of the young Ballet Russes, the legendary company launched in Paris in 1909. With 135 pieces, including the 50-by-30-foot set from "The Firebird" and nubby bodysuits made by Coco Chanel, the new exhibit  "Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909-1929," opening at the National Gallery of Art on Sunday,  explores the cutting-edge use of visual art in performance. If you're on the hunt for things to do with Mom this Mother's Day, this one might be perfect for an arts fan.

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Tim Carman · May 9, 2013