Monday, March 18
Orchid exhibition at the Kogod Courtyard: Through April 28, hundreds of varieties of orchids are on display in the Kogod Courtyard, between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, as part of the 24th annual orchid exhibition, a collaboration between Smithsonian Gardens and the U.S. Botanic Garden. This is the first time the orchids have been shown in the Kogod, and it’s one of the more subtle exhibitions in recent years, especially compared with the one at the Hirshhorn in 2017, which displayed the plants as objets d’art, filling bookcase-like cubbies in the museum’s lobby, complete with sped-up films of blooms opening. Through April 28. Free.
‘Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975’ at the Smithsonian American Art Museum: The Vietnam War transformed America. The heavy losses and horrifying images — beamed right into people’s living rooms, via television — caused many U.S. citizens to challenge institutions, politicians and cultural norms like never before. The war also sparked a sea change in American art, says Melissa Ho, curator of the American Art Museum’s new exhibit, which highlights works that show the emotional and political toll of the war in this country. Through Aug. 18. Free.
Tuesday, March 19
‘Cross Transit’ at the Kennedy Center: Japanese choreographer and dancer Akiko Kitamura’s latest performance piece highlights the recent history and struggles of Cambodia. In partnership with Cambodian photographer Kim Hak, Kitamura translates the experience of artists from the Southeast Asian nation who lived and worked through the genocide of the late 1970s. The work incorporates Hak’s visual art, but Kitamura also uses body movements beyond traditional dance including street dancing styles and even martial arts. 7:30 p.m. $29-$39.
Riot Grrrls: An Evening of Documentary + Discussion at Wonderland Ballroom: Bikini Kill’s surprise reunion and sold-out tour has brought renewed attention to Riot Grrrl, the 1990s feminist punk movement that spread from coast to coast. An District Music Project-sponsored evening at Wonderland Ballroom features screenings of two documentaries: “Grrrl Love and Revolution: Riot Grrrl NYC” by director Abby Moser, which looks at how bands in New York City shaped and reacted to third-wave feminism, and “It Changed My Life: Bikini Kill in the UK,” in which filmmaker Lucy Thane documents Bikini Kill’s 1993 tour of the United Kingdom. A Q&A session with Moser follows the two films. 7 p.m. $10.
Bigger Cat Triple IPA at ChurchKey: Two of Virginia’s most interesting — and tasty — breweries join forces at ChurchKey to showcase their own offerings. Dulles’s Ocelot Brewing Company will feature their reliably drinkable IPAs including Round & Round We Go. While Richmond’s The Veil will serve up their uniquely funky brews such as their sweet stout, Maple Coconut Hornswoggler. The main event of the evening will be the two brewery’s collaboration, Bigger Cat Triple IPA, which falls in line with Ocelot’s style of West Coast-style IPAs and highlights tropical hop flavors. 4 p.m. Free admission; drinks priced individually.
Wednesday, March 20
Quentin Tarantino retrospective at the Warner Bros. Theater at the National Museum of American History: Love him or hate him, Quentin Tarantino has been one of the most influential filmmakers of the past 25 years. The 55-year-old director’s whipcrack dialogue and imagery have left a mark in pop culture. The Smithsonian’s retrospective goes in chronological order, starting Wednesday with his 1992 cult classic “Reservoir Dogs” and ending March 24 with his most recent film, “The Hateful Eight.” Fittingly, Tarantino’s most well-known film, “Pulp Fiction,” receives the all-out party treatment Thursday. A $40 ticket gets you a seat for the 8:15 p.m. screening, but come early: Doors open at 6:30 for a soiree that includes three drinks, access to a Pop Tart bar and other surprises. Guests are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite Tarantino character, but maybe your Beatrix Kiddo costume should skip the Hattori Hanzo sword. Through Sunday. $11-$99.
National Cherry Blossom Festival Night at the Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar: The National Cherry Blossom Festival officially begins on March 20, even if the pink blossoms around the Tidal Basin won’t make an appearance until early April. Bid an early welcome to spring at the lavishly decorated Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar, which pays hommage to the Fontaine de L’Encelade at the Palace de Versailles, while slurping ramen and sampling sake and cocktails. This is a ticketed event, which means no waiting in the notoriously long lines outside, and allows access for a two-hour window. All proceeds benefit the non-profit National Cherry Blossom Festival. 5 to 11 p.m. $20.
Pop-up at the Kitten Lounge: Every spring, feral cats start pumping out kittens, overwhelming animal shelters with feline fecundity. For the next few months, the Kitten Lounge will serve as an escape valve, a place where people can play with kittens or even adopt them. The pop-up, which materialized in Georgetown earlier this month, will be open through June. Cat lovers ages 7 and up are admitted so that there are no more than 18 people inside at a time, each paying $15, $20 or $35 for 15-, 30- or 70-minute sessions. Through June. 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. $15-$35.
José González and the String Theory at the Lincoln Theatre: Even if you aren’t familiar with this 40-year-old Swedish Argentine folk singer’s albums, there’s a strong chance you’ve come across González’s delicately plucked guitar melodies through the myriad soundtracks his soulful serenades have been featured on. And for good reason: González’s timbre, which evokes the legendary British folkie Nick Drake, is a soothing balm. His latest album, “Live in Europe,” pairs González with the German and Swedish orchestra the String Theory, his frequent collaborators and current tourmates. The strings and percussion of the orchestra add a valuable oomph that’s missing in González’s tender sound. 6:30 p.m. Sold out.
Thursday, March 21
The Comet is Coming at U Street Music Hall: Legendary jazz artists Alice Coltrane and Sun Ra spent their respective careers channeling the gospel of the stars, and fans of cosmic jazz have been searching for their disciples ever since. Enter, the Comet Is Coming. The London-based jazz trio has returned from the far reaches of the universe with “Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery,” a follow-up to the band’s 2016 debut “Channel the Spirits.” Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings leads with mesmerizing melodic riffs, which are prone to burrow into your ears. Everything else about this music, which draws from the U.K. underground dance scene, sounds loud and urgent — fitting for a band whose very name warns about the fate of our world. 7 p.m. $15.
Matt McGhee at Pie Shop: Something to remember whenever Matt McGhee sets a rhyme to melody: Not all singers are rappers, but all rappers are singers. As human beings, we all vocalize in an array of pitches, inflecting all of our speech with a certain degree of singsong. So when McGhee delivers his most tuneful stanzas, he hopes you won’t burn any brain cells agonizing over whether you’re hearing a rapper or a singer. McGhee’s new three-song suite, “Crash,” recounts a love story in three acts, beginning with a fragile mea culpa, continuing with a clear-eyed reconciliation and concluding with a heartsick nostalgia trip. 7 p.m. $10-$15.
Friday, March 22
Carla Bley Trio at Atlas Performing Arts Center: CapitalBop, a local jazz advocacy group founded in 2010, for the first time announced a full spring season of concert presentations. The season includes regular installments of the Spotlight Residency and Jazz Loft series; two traveling lofts, featuring New York saxophonist Ben Wendel and experimental pianist Angelica Sanchez, respectively; and, in a co-presentation with the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, a rare appearance by composer, pianist and NEA Jazz Master Carla Bley at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Friday. The 82-year-old jazz legend will perform with her usual trio which includes bassist Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard. 8 p.m. $20-$25.
‘Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling’ at the National Museum of Women in the Arts: The contemporary German artist is best known for her singular, large-scale sculptures, and the downtown museum is exhibiting a selection of her works from the past two decades. The 77-year-old sculptor uses mainly organic materials such as cedar wood to construct impressively textured pieces that are largely abstract. Much of von Rydingsvard’s work is influenced by her upbringing in post-World War II Germany — where her parents were working class eastern European immigrant farmers. The anticipated display of von Rydingsvard’s sculptures will be her first solo exhibition in D.C. Through July 28. Free-$10.
Hirshhorn Shuffle at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: Museums don’t have to be a stodgy, solitary experience where it’s as quiet as a library. This guided midday program at the modern art museum will feature songs and musicians that respective artists listen to as they work while you walk by their exhibits throughout the museum. 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Free.
— Hau Chu, Adele Chapin, Sadie Dingfelder, Fritz Hahn, Chris Richards and Michael J. West