D.C. community calendar, Sept. 12 to 19, 2013

Thursday, SEPT. 12

Olmsted Woods walk, birder Sheila Cochran leads a walk in the restored woods and discusses the native groundcovers, shrubs and trees that attract birds and other wildlife; take binoculars. 8:30 a.m. Thursdays through Sept. 19, meet at the George Washington statue on Pilgrim Road on the grounds of Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenues NW. Free. 202-537-2319 or www.nationalcathedral.org.

Longevity of human civilization symposium, David H. Grinspoon, the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology at the Kluge Center, leads discussions among scientists, humanists, journalists and science-fiction authors. 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Library of Congress, Room 119, Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Free. 202-707-0213.

Woodridge Checkmates, chess instruction for ages 2-6. 10:15 a.m. Thursdays, Woodridge Library, 1801 Hamlin St. NE. Free. 202-541-6226.

Garden tour and kids in “snugglers,” volunteers take turns leading parents or care providers with one child in a snuggly for a tour of the conservatory. 10:30 a.m. Thursdays, through Sept. 26, U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

Plant talk at National Garden, education technician Alex Torres discusses the diversity of American plants; bring sunscreen and water. 10:30 a.m., U.S. Botanic Garden, Conservatory Garden Court, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

Behind-the-scenes cathedral tour, for age 11 and older, see gargoyles and stained-glass windows, climb a lot of stairs for a panoramic view of the city; bring a camera. 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. most weekdays, Washington National Cathedral, Wisconsin and Massachusetts avenues NW. $15. 202-537-6200 or www.nationalcathedral.org.

Step Afrika! Reads, for ages 2-5, a program that promotes reading and literacy skills with a special story time, then invites kids to get up and participate in a mini-workshop with the artists from the dance troupe. 11 a.m., Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free. Registration at www.hillcenterdc.org, or call 202-549-4172.

Students “sit-in” training, meet a civil rights activist; take part in a training session based on a 1960s manual and prepare for your first sit-in. 11:30 a.m. and 1:30, 3 and 4:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, National Museum of American History, second floor, East Wing, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. 202-633-1000.

“I Done What I Could: Occupational Folk Poetry in the Pacific Northwest,” folklorist Jens Lund discusses his book. Noon, Library of Congress, Madison Building, Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. 202-707-5510.

Cooking eggplant demonstration, gardening specialist Adrienne Cook and nutritionist Danielle Cook Navidi show new ways to use eggplant. Noon and 12:45 p.m., U.S. Botanic Garden, Conservatory Garden Court, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free. 202-225-8333.

Portraits on Time magazine covers, historian James Barber, curator of the Portrait Gallery’s Time collection, leads a tour of the exhibition of paintings by Boris Chaliapin, whose many works appeared in the magazine. Noon, National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets NW. Free. 202-633-1000.

“Adore,” Anne Fontaine’s provocative film about two lifelong friends who find happiness in relationships that cross the bounds of convention, starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright. 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. weekdays; 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW. $11; students, $9; seniors, $8.25; age 12 and younger, $8. 202-966-6000.

Art Signs: American Sign Language, an American Sign Language gallery guide leads conversations about various artworks. 5:30 p.m., Smithsonian American Art Museum, F Street Lobby, Eighth and F streets NW. Free. 202-633-1000 or wilsoncl@si.edu.

Jakarta Stripes and Japanese Kimono: Indonesian Influence on Japanese Textiles, Ann Marie Moeller, a scholar of Japanese textiles, discusses how exotic Indonesian ikat and batik designs, including the emblematic parang stripe, have left their mark on Japanese garments and tea-ceremony textiles. 6 p.m., Textile Museum, 2320 S St. NW. $25, registration required. 202-667-0441, Ext. 64.

D.C. funk band, a live performance that offers a guaranteed dance groove with elements of blues, soul, rock and more. 6 p.m., Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600.

“Hiking the Horizontal: Book Talk and Signing,” with Liz Lerman. Choreographer and MacArthur “genius” Liz Lerman’s thoughts on the possible role for art in politics, science, community, motherhood, and media. Thursday, September 12, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, 1632 U St. NW. 202-483-8600. www.smithcenter.org. Free.

Livable communities: healthy neighborhoods, a panel discusses how planning, design and community engagement help create livable communities for older adults and everyone. 6:30 p.m., National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $20; students, $12. 202-272-2448. www.nbm.org.

National Portrait Gallery Pop Quiz: Rebel, Rebel, test your knowledge of the Gallery’s collection at trivia night. A prize awarded to the top individual or team scorer at the end of the evening; snacks and beverages available. 6:30 p.m., National Portrait Gallery, Kogod Courtyard, Eighth and F streets NW. Free. 202-633-1000.

“Let Freedom Ring: Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the March on Washington,” author Kitty Kelley and journalist Soledad O’Brien discuss Kelley’s book with never-before-published photos of the day. 7 p.m., National Archives, McGowan Theater, Constitution Avenue and Ninth Street NW. Free. 202-357-5000.

U.S. Navy Band concert, the Cruisers ensemble performs. 7:30 p.m., Yards Park, Third and Water streets SE. Free. 202-433-2525 or www.yardspark.org.

“Shear Madness,” performance of a comedy-mystery set in Georgetown, with audience participation to help solve a mock murder. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 6 and 9 p.m. Saturdays, 3 and 7 p.m. Sundays, Kennedy Center, Family Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $48. 202-467-4600.

“Measure for Measure,” Jonathan Munby directs the Shakespeare comedy about what happens in a city when the duke leaves on a diplomatic mission. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 Seventh St. NW. $40-$100, discounts for students, seniors, military, groups and age 35 and younger. 202-547-1122 or www.shakespearetheatre.org.

“Detroit,” Lisa D’Amour’s explosive dark comedy about a couple whose upwardly mobile life begins to crumble when a new couple comes to town. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. most Saturdays; 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays; 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Continues through Oct. 6. Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 641 D St. NW. $35-$75, subject to availability. 202-393-3939 or www.woollymammoth.net.

Don Juan,” Faction of Fools Theatre Company presents the Moliere play adapted and directed by Matthew R. Wilson. 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30. Show continues through Oct. 6. Gallaudet University, Elstad Auditorium, 800 Florida Ave. NE. $25; students, military, seniors and groups, $15; age 12 and younger, $10. 202-503-9760 or www.factionoffools.org/donjuan.

Friday, SEPT. 13

“Food for Thought,” horticulturist Ray Mims gives an overview of the exhibit, discusses flavors and culinary aspects of the terrace beds and growing plants in small spaces; take sunscreen, protective clothing and water. 10:30 a.m., U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free, registration required. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

Native plants: wild and neat, Claudia West discusses the myth about native plants being weedy and messy and explores the aesthetic value of native plant species and their highly attractive cultivars. Noon, U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free, registration required. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

Pipe organ concert, Russian organist Daria Burlak performs works by Jehan Alain, Jean-Louis Florentz and Maurice Durufle. 12:15-1 p.m., National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Cir. NW. Free, donations welcome. 202-797-0103.

The Tale of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, a National Park Service ranger discusses the two iconic monuments that dominate the Mall. 4-6 p.m., National World War II Memorial, 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. Lowell Fry, 202-438-9603.

Alma Tropicalia in concert, the local group reimagines the psych-samba sounds from Brazil, mixing classics and originals. 6 p.m., Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600.

Flip Flop Flippin’ 2,” Scott “Squatch” Herriott’s film about his adventures hiking the Appalachian Trail; stay for a post-screening visit with Herriott. 7 p.m., Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free. Registration: www.hillcenterdc.org or 202-549-4172.

“The Velocity of Autumn,” performance of Eric Coble’s play about a 79-year-old woman who lives alone in a Brooklyn brownstone with her memories — and enough explosives to take down most of her block. Starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella. 8 p.m. Fridays; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; noon Oct. 8, 9 and 16. Through Oct. 20, Arena Stage, 1101 Sixth St. SW. $40-$90, subject to change and based on availability. 202-488-3300 or www.arenastage.org.

Saturday, SEPT. 14

Chit-Chat run, a National Park Service ranger leads an exhilarating trek on the Mall at a pace for all audiences. 8-9 a.m., Thomas Jefferson Memorial, 900 Ohio Dr. SW. Free. Ranger station, 202-426-6841 or www.nps.gov.

Used book sale, most books $1; proceeds benefit library programs. 10 a.m., Southeast Library, 403 Seventh St. SE. Free. 202-698-3377.

Arums: spathe, spadix and all that, Todd Brethauer discusses taro, a major food for millions, and the titan arum, or corpse plant, the largest inflorescence in the plant kingdom. 10:30 a.m.-noon, U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

Civil War home front tour, a staff member leads a tour of the house and discusses life during the war, how owner Britannia Kennon and her daughter and workers managed on the estate and where Union soldiers were boarded alongside them in a stable loft. House tour. 10:30 a.m., walking tour. 1 p.m., Tudor Place, 1644 31st St. NW. House or walking tour, $10; house and walking tour, $15. 202-965-0400.

“The Creative Now in Green Roof Design: Taking a look at who’s pushing the boundaries,” Karla Dakin, co-author of “The Professional Design Guide to Green Roofs,” discusses the design aspects of green roofs, from plants to paving. 2 p.m., U.S. Botanic Garden, Conservatory Classroom, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

Guided bike ride, about three hours, led by a National Park Service ranger, with stops to discuss the myths and half-truths of U.S. history; take your own bike, water and snacks, helmets required. 2-5 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, through Sept. 29, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, 900 Ohio Dr. SW. Free. 202-426-6841.

Closely Watched Trains,” Jiri Menzel’s 1966 gentle black comedy set in a rural Czech railway station in the Nazi-occupied country, in Czech with English subtitles. 2 p.m., National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. 202-842-6799.

Gallery360: Vincent Giarrano, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition finalist discusses his technique and work. 2 p.m., National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and F streets NW. Free. 202-633-1000.

Tango lesson, for all experience levels, Bahman Aryana of Rendezvous Tango shows how to practice the dance. 2:30 p.m. Saturdays, through Sept. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW. Free. 202-727-0321.

MacArthur’s campaign, a National Park Service ranger discusses the significance of the campaign on New Guinea and tells why the island is engraved in the memorial. 3 p.m., National World War II Memorial, 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. Paul O’Brian, 202-438-7066 .

American University musicians, selected music students exhibiting exemplary musicianship perform. 6 p.m., Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600.

“After the Revolution,” by Amy Herzog, with music by Matthew Nielson, performed by Peter Birkenhead, Nancy Robinette and others. 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sundays; noon Oct. 4. Theater dark Sept. 14, 19 and 26. Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center, Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. $30-$65. 800-494-8497 or www.boxofficetickets.com.

The “Star-Spangled Banner,” Uncle Sam and the War of 1812, a National Park Service ranger leads a walking tour of the memorials and discusses the burning of Washington, the flag and more. 8-10 p.m., National World War II Memorial, 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. Lowell Fry, 202-438-9603 .

“The Marriage of Maria Braun,” a stage version of the powerful World War II drama of love, lust, and loss by German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder, suitable for age 16 and older. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays, continues through Oct. 11, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Call for ticket prices. 202-399-7993 or www.scenatheater.org.

Sunday, SEPT. 15

The tension between security and liberty, a talk by Michael V. Hayden, former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency. 10 a.m., St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, 1525 H St. NW. Free. 202-347-8766 or www.stjohns-dc.org.

Kalorama House embassy tours, self-guided tours of the Woodrow Wilson House and the residence of the ambassadors of Austria, Portugal and others, the Embassy of Slovenia, pean Union, one private home and the Embassy of Slovenia; self-guided given to all. Sponsored by Friends of the Wilson House. Noon-5 p.m., Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St. NW. $40; in advance, $35. 202-387-4062, Ext. 41222, or www.woodrowwilsonhouse.org.

Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, jazz saxophone semifinals, hear the super sounds of rising stars who are competing for cash prizes and scholarship awards to be given at the Sept. 16 finals. 1-5 p.m., National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. 202-3030.

Portrait Story Days: César Chávez, listen to a story about the civil rights activist and create a special piece of art. 2-5 p.m., National Portrait Gallery, first floor, Education Center, Room E151, Eighth and F streets NW. Free. 202-633-1000.

Meet the Carnivorous Plants, Todd Brethauer discusses some of the more than 700 species that capture and digest insects and other small animals, their evolution, history, ecology and physiology and modern science is being applied to understand them and their role in nature. 2-3:30 p.m., U.S. Botanic Garden, Conservatory Classroom, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free, registration required. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

“Tell It with Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Shaw Memorial,” Nancy Anderson and Sarah Greenough discuss the exhibit. 2 p.m., National Gallery of Art, East Building Concourse, Auditorium, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. 202-737-4215.

César Chávez: Sí, Se Puede! A National Park Service ranger discusses how the Latino civil rights leader based his peaceful protests on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nonviolent tactics. 2 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, West Potomac Park, between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, Independence Avenue SW. Free. JoAnn Garcia, 202-329-1641 .

Pets in the park: four-legged heroes, a National Park Service ranger leads you and your leashed dog on a walk around the memorial and discusses how these canine companions helped shape America; take waste bags and water. 3-5 p.m., National World War II Memorial, 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. Eddy Kahle, 202-462-6841 .

Glory,” Edward Zwick’s digitally restored 1989 film about the role of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment in the Civil War and the 1863 storming of Fort Wagner by the first African American fighting unit, with Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington. 4 p.m., National Gallery of Art, East Building Concourse, Auditorium, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. 202-842-6799.

Bluegrass band concert, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen perform in an outdoor setting. 4:30 p.m., Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free. Registration: www.hillcenterdc.org or 202-549-4172.

“Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” staged reading, written by Christina Ham and directed by Phylicia Rashad, a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the bombing that killed four young girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. A post-performance discussion follows. 6 p.m., Kennedy Center, Family Theater, 2700 F St. NW. Free tickets, two per person, distributed at 5 p.m. in the Hall of States. 202-467-4600.

Monday, SEPT. 16

Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game,” Susan Reyburn and Athena Angelos discuss their soon-to-be-released book. Noon, Library of Congress, Madison Building, Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. 202-707-5221.

American Epic: Reading the U.S. Constitution,” law professor Garrett Epps discusses his new book, giving readers a way to listen to the document’s language and ponder its meaning. Noon, National Archives, McGowan Theater, Constitution Avenue and Ninth Street NW. Free. 202-357-5000.

Checkmates chess for youths, Vaughn Bennett teaches children and teens how to play chess, using strategies that also apply to other life situations. 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Sept. 23, Woodridge Library, 1801 Hamlin St. NE. Free. 202-541-6226.

Sonic Circuits in concert, a performance exposing audiences to cutting-edge contemporary music that defies genres. 6 p.m., Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600.

Elvis and George: Are they related? a National Park Service ranger leads a walking tour and discusses the mystery of George Washington’s life and legacy. 6-8 p.m., Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro station, 2301 I St. NW. Free. Lowell Fry, 202-438-9603.

Defining humanity: Western and Asian religious perspectives, Charles Jones, Catholic University associate professor, discusses the differences in Asian and Western perspectives on humanity, illustrating how differing interpretations relate to moral reasoning, as well as to the concept of destiny in life and the afterlife. 6:45 p.m., S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW. $42. 202-633-3030.

Cultures in Motion: Singing Praises: Mahalia and Martin, a celebration of the life and work of Mahalia Jackson, the “voice of the civil rights movement,” and her relationship with Martin Luther King Jr. Julia Nixon appears as Jackson, with Michael Mack as King. 7 p.m., National Portrait Gallery, McEvoy Auditorium, Eighth and F streets NW. Free, registration recommended. 202-633-8520 or www.singingpraises.com.

“The Island,” Freedom Theatre performs the South African apartheid-era drama by Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona. 7:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, Georgetown University, Davis Performing Arts Center, Devine Studio Theatre, 37th and O streets NW. $15; seniors, $12; students, $7. 202-687-2787.

Evolution of gospel, an uplifting program that educates people about and celebrates the rich heritage and legacy of gospel music through word and song. Performances by the Clark Sisters, Kierra Sheard, J. Moss, Earnest Pugh, WPAS Men and Women of the Gospel Choir, Endurance, Keith Williams, Stacy Johnson, Milton Biggham and Tanya Dallas Lewis, with tributes to the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, the late Bill Moss, Richard Smallwood and Bill Gaither. 8 p.m., Kennedy Center, Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. Free tickets: Ivy Levingston, 832-428-8252.

Tuesday, SEPT. 17

Citizenship ceremony, celebrate Citizenship and Constitution days by watching 25 candidates for citizenship become U.S. citizens. 11 a.m., National Museum of American History, Flag Hall, second floor, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. 202-633-1000.

U.S. Constitution 1787 signing anniversary, a National Park Service ranger dressed in Colonial attire discusses the Constitution and invites visitors to sign a copy of it with a quill pen. 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Thomas Jefferson Memorial, 900 Ohio Dr. SW. Free. Mike Rose, 202-438-9667.

Exploring culinary and medicinal African plants, biochemist Beth Burrous leads a walking tour and discusses the many foods and medicines, including more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa beans grown by African farmers, that come from African plants that make everything from life-saving medicines to sweet and savory foods and coffee. Noon, U.S. Botanic Garden, Conservatory Garden Court, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. Free. 202-225-8333 or www.usbg.gov.

U.S. Air Force Band’s chamber players, a program of classical works. 12:10 p.m., Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW. Suggested donation, $10. 202-347-2635, Ext. 20.

How the Constitution Changes: Social and Political Aspects of the Law, law professor Risa L. Goluboff discusses how social movements, judges, lawyers, legislators, administrators and community pressure all contribute to new understandings of the U.S. Constitution and draws from her current book project on the changing constitutional status of vagrancy laws in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the social transformation of that era. 1 p.m., Library of Congress, Madison Building, Montpelier Room, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. 202-707-4642.

Robert E. Lee’s Invasions of the North, a National Park Service ranger discusses the Southern general’s reasons for his two invasions of the Union North, Antietam and Gettysburg, and his failure to anticipate the results. 3 p.m., Lincoln Memorial, 23rd Street NW and West Potomac Park. Free. Jan Buerger, 202-497-1397.

U.S. Navy Band concert, its newest ensemble, the Skipjack Quartet, and vocalist Shana Sullivan perform elegant jazz and Latin stylings of the Great American Song Book. 6 p.m., Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600.

Anacostia youth chess club, for ages 10-16, learn the game or improve your skills. 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Anacostia Library, 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE. Free. 202-715-7707.

Is This Art? a guided tour by a staff member, focusing on contemporary works with a discussion that encourages free-flowing conversation and debate. 6 p.m., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lincoln Gallery, third floor, Eighth and F streets NW. Free. 202-633-1000.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” Tom Stoppard directed the film version based on his popular play, starring Richard Dreyfuss and Gary Oldman. 6 p.m., Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW. Free. 202-727-0232.

Bellevue Library chess for teens, for all skill levels, an informal environment. 6 p.m. Tuesdays, William O. Lockridge/Bellevue Library, 115 Atlantic St. SW. Free. 202-243-1184.

Confronting the classics: a new look at the ancient world, classical scholar, commentator and television presenter Mary Beard, author of “Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations,” discusses the enduring cultural legacy of the Greco-Roman world that still influences how we live, think and even laugh, asking whether Nero was as dastardly as we believe, what jokes always got a laugh for Athenian comedians and more witticisms. Sponsored by Smithsonian Associates. 6:45 p.m., U.S. Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $25. 202-633-3030 or www.smithsonianassociates.org.

The Snowball Earth Theory, Callan Bentley, associate professor of geology at Northern Virginia Community College, discusses the Snowball Earth theory, a paradigm-shifting concept that addresses modern climate change and our own existence on Earth. 6:45 p.m., S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW. $42. 202-633-3030.

Substance vs. Sex Appeal discussion, Jared Lipworth, National Geographic Television executive producer of specials, discusses the challenge of holding audience attention as TV choices shift toward spectacle and sex appeal at the expense of substance. 7 p.m., American University, Wechsler Theater, third floor, Mary Graydon Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free. 202-885-3408 or www.filmmakersforconservation.org.

The State of the Constitution: What Americans really know, celebrate the 226th anniversary of the Constitution by testing your knowledge of America’s greatest founding document; an interactive panel discusses common misconceptions of U.S. constitutional law, interspersed with real-time audience polling. 7:30 p.m., National Archives, McGowan Theater, Constitution Avenue and Ninth Street NW. Free. 202-357-5000.

Wednesday, SEPT. 18

AARP Driver Safety course, for age 50 and older, certificate given upon completion. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Washington Senior Wellness Center, 3001 Alabama Ave. SE. $14, registration required. 202-575-7711.

George Washington Carver Nature Trail tour, for age 8 and older, a staff member leads a walking tour and discusses how the principles of Kwanzaa are used to explain the benefits of natural recycling, the insect community, medicinal plants and other outdoor offerings, a short film on the life of Carver will be shown. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. Free, reservations required. 202-633-4844.

Lincoln-Douglas: Debates that made a president, a National Park Service ranger discusses how the debates became a decisive factor. 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Lincoln Memorial, 23rd Street NW and West Potomac Park. Free. David Rappel, 202-359-1533.

War crimes and U.S. policy, Richard Rashke discusses his book, Useful Enemies: John Demjanjuk and America’s Open-Door Policy for Nazi War Criminals. Noon, Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, 10 First St. SE. Free. 202-707-3012.

Religion in America during the Civil War, Peggy Wagner discusses the exhibit “The Civil War in America.” Noon, Library of Congress, Second Floor, Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Free. 202-707-.

Gallery talk, a staff member discusses “American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s.” Noon-12:30 p.m., National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave. NW. Free. 202-783-5000.

Chess for kids, all skill levels welcome. 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-282-3080; and 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Francis A. Gregory Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE. 202-645-4297. Free.

Deanwood Library chess for beginners, all ages. 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Deanwood Library, 1350 49th St. NE. Free. 202-698-1175.

Game night at Southwest Library, Wii games, board games and more. 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, Southwest Library, 900 Wesley Pl. SW. Free. 202-724-4752.

Classical music recital, Serbian flutist Andjela Bratic and Serbian pianist Jasna Popovic perform. 6 p.m., Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600.

“The Sky is Falling: Following the Trail of Meteorites,” astrophysicist Jim Zimbelman and Linda Welzenbach, curator of the meteor collection at the Natural History Museum, discuss our fascination with meteors, objects streaking across the sky, the impact of meteorites on our planet, current research efforts and the findings of ongoing Antarctic meteorite searches. 6:45 p.m., S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW. $42. 202-633-3030.

“The Minister,” a breathless political thriller film about a idealistic man in charge of national transportation who learns that he must become a pragmatist, starring Olivier Gourmet, in French with English subtitles. 8 p.m., Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW. $11; students, $9; seniors, $8.25; age 12 and younger, $8. 202-966-6000.

Thursday, SEPT. 19

“Uno, dos, tres . . . Andres!” for ages 2-6, counting, playing and dancing with Andrés Salguero to songs familiar and new as he uses sing-alongs and movement to share Spanish words. 10 and 11:15 a.m. Sept. 19-20, Discovery Theater at S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW. $8; ages 2-16, $6; 1 and younger, $3. 202-633-8700 or www.discoverytheater.org.

Constitution book talk, David Robertson discusses his work “The Original Compromise: What the Constitution’s Framers Were Really Thinking,” an examination of each debate from the convention, showing how it emerges piece by piece, the product of a web of agreements. Noon, National Archives, McGowan Theater, Constitution Avenue and Ninth Street NW. Free. 202-357-5000.

Vardanant’s Day lecture, Charles de Lamberterie discusses “The Armenian Language and the Indo-European Linguistic Family.” Noon, Library of Congress, Northeast Pavilion, Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Free. 202-707-5680.

Library of Congress lecture, Kluge staff fellow Adrienne Lundgren discusses “The Photographs of F. Holland Day, Creating a Materials-Based Catalogue Raisonne for Photography.” 4 p.m., Library of Congress, Jefferson Building, Room LJ119, 10 First St. SE. Free. 202-707-0213.

Pilates in the park, taught by certified instructors; take a mat. 5:30 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 10, Farragut Square, 17th and K streets NW. Free. 202-463-3400.

Local Dance Commissioning Project: The Meaning of Buck Dance, directed by D.C. choreographer Emily Oleson, features Urban Artistry with Good Foot Dance Company and Baakari Wilder. 6 p.m. Sept. 19-20, Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. 202-467-4600.

Graffiti and Street Art, graffiti historian and author Roger Gastman, founder and publisher of “While You Were Sleeping” and “Swindle” pop culture magazines, discusses contemporary graffiti and traces its roots to the late 1960s in New York City and Philadelphia’s subway cars, ice cream trucks, park benches and other locations. Gastman introduces a screening of “The Legend of Cool ‘Disco’ Dan,” a a question-and-answer session follows. 6:30-8:45 p.m., S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW. $25. 202-633-3030.

U.S. Navy Band concert, the Commodores jazz ensemble performs. 7:30 p.m., Yards Park, Third and Water streets SE. Free. 202-433-2525.

— Compiled by Gerri Marmer

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