Free this week: DC Fashion Week kicks off with an eco fashion show, Amy Tan speaks at Fall for the Book and the National Book Festival pulls in authors from far and wide.
Is green the new black? The designers showing in Monday’s DC Fashion Week Eco Fashion Show certainly think so. Held at the stunning D.C. headquarters of sustainable design firm Perkins+Will, the show will feature cocktail dresses, evening and bridal looks from Elizabeth St. John and selected garments entered in a recent green design competition.
This year, Amy Tan joins the ranks of Mitch Albom and Joyce Carol Oates as the 2011 recipient of Fall for the Book’s Fairfax Prize. Tan, whose bestselling works include “The Joy Luck Club” and “The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” will be given the prize Tuesday evening, after which George Mason professor and NPR commentator Alan Cheuse engages her in a discussion about life and literature.
This week, the Kennedy Center brings a treat of a free concert to its Concert Hall in Senegalese singer and percussionist Youssou N’Dour. The artist has been widely lauded for his uncommon blend of traditional Senegalese “mbalax” and other global contemporary influences.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Washington National Opera is bringing a live broadcast of a performance to Nationals Park. This year’s production is Puccini’s “Tosca.” The stadium’s normal concessions will be open for the event. Blankets are encouraged, and chairs are prohibited on the outfield grass.
Woodrow Wilson Plaza’s concert series has brought in big-name acts such as Smokey Robinson and lesser-known bands playing songs from Brazil to South Africa. For the final concert of the season, Chuck Brown takes the stage for a musical foray into go-go, D.C.’s very own musical genre.
The all-day outdoor art festival reigns supreme this time of year, especially with the debut of this week’s (e)Merge Art Fair and the But Is It Art? fair. But what about some art for the city’s night owls? Art All Night: Nuit Blanche DC takes over spaces as far-flung as the Wonder Bread Factory, the Goethe-Institut and outside the National Portrait Gallery with mixed-media art and performances.
The indie (and free) counterpoint to the (e)Merge Art Fair at the Capitol Skyline Hotel runs Thursday to Sunday. Where (e)Merge features artists from all over, But Is It Art? focuses exclusively on a roster of local “emerging” artists. With a DIY ethos, the homespun show promises to be un-stuffy and decidedly egalitarian.
Literature lovers of all ilks should rejoice this weekend with the return of the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. This year’s lineup is stacked as ever with some of the world’s best-known authors of fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, poetry and just about anything else involving the written word. The festival takes place on the Mall, and this year it has been extended to two days, with programming spilling over to Sunday. Mark your calendar for appearances by Toni Morrison, Dave Eggers and even actress Julianne Moore, the author of three bestselling children’s books about Freckleface Strawberry, a character loosely based on her childhood.