Monday, Sept. 9
The Reach festival: More than six years and $250 million after the Kennedy Center announced its ambitious expansion plans, the sprawling complex dubbed the Reach opens to the public this month. Its introduction to Washington is a free festival of the arts, with a packed schedule of hundreds of events reflecting the Reach’s wide-ranging cultural mission. None of the festival’s weekday 10 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. time slots were sold out, which means you should be able to show up and walk in. While many of the daytime programs are targeted at families, there are plenty of other things to see and hear, such as the National Symphony Orchestra’s rehearsing with Broadway stars for a tribute to composer Alan Menken (Wednesday at 1 p.m.); a conversation with best actress nominee Yalitza Aparicio of “Roma” (Tuesday at 11 a.m.); or musicians from the Opera House Orchestra performing “a concert in the chill-out lounge space” of the Skylight Pavilion (Monday at noon). Through Sept. 22. Free.
D.C. Beer Week: D.C. Beer Week has moved back to September after a few years in the August doldrums. The celebration of our local beer scene is all over the map: In addition to the usual tap takeovers and happy hours, essential events include a panel discussion about women in beer hosted by Red Bear Brewing on Thursday and a pig roast at Right Proper Brewing in Shaw on Monday — all before the week concludes with events through the weekend. Through Sept. 15. Prices vary.
‘Fairview’ at Woolly Mammoth: It seems like a normal evening for the middle-class black family at the center of “Fairview,” as the Frasiers prepare to celebrate a birthday in a home that looks straight out of a sitcom. But playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury throws in plot twist after plot twist, as things get a little surreal and unsettling in this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. Through Oct. 6. $15-$86.
Tuesday, Sept. 10
Leslie Jones at Warner Theatre: Here’s a chance to see Leslie Jones’s coming Netflix stand-up special way before it starts streaming in 2020. The “Saturday Night Live” cast member will film her set in front of a live audience at the Warner Theatre. “I picked D.C. out of all the cities because D.C. got one of the best comic crowds,” she explained during a recent appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” The ebullient Jones, who was a stand-up comic for years before she joined SNL in 2014, is performing two shows; the 7 p.m. one is already sold out. 7 and 10 p.m. $37; 7 p.m. show sold out.
Dot Dash at DC9: Two guys from the District punk trio Dot Dash recently convened inside a coffee shop on K Street to explain when and how they make music. It happens on Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. — even though Terry Banks, the band’s singer and guitarist, has an unfortunate habit of posting 30 minutes late. Still, whenever he arrives, he always remembers to bring the chords and the words. Drummer Danny Ingram (formerly of the legendary hardcore group Youth Brigade) and bassist Hunter Bennett bang along until it feels like a song. It’s a method that requires lots of trust and very little discussion. 8 p.m. $15.
D.C. Beer Week events: ChurchKey’s wide-ranging draft and cask selection makes it a shoe-in for “Best Beer Bar in America” lists. During D.C. Beer Week, though, it trades New England IPAs and Belgian saisons for 55 local beers from eight D.C. breweries. There will probably be some beers you haven’t had before — two different versions of Right Proper’s Baron Corvo, District Chophouse’s cask IPA, Atlas’ barrel-aged Dave Trippelle — but it’s also fun to taste different sours or IPAs side-by-side and see what you like better, and why. Doors open at 4 p.m., and admission is free. Speaking of sampling beers side-by-side, Boundary Stone’s Battle of the Barrel-Aged Beers is always one of the week’s more interesting events. Six local breweries (3 Stars, Atlas, DC Brau, Hellbender, Port City, Right Proper) have each aged a beer in barrels from one of six local distilleries (Cotton and Reed, District Distilling, Jos. A. Magnus, New Columbia, One Eight, Republic Restoratives. Your job is to taste them all and vote for a favorite. Tickets ($30, $35 at the door) include tasters of all six collaborations and one full-sized beer; VIP admission ($60) includes food, a souvenir t-shirt and other prizes. (Full disclosure: Fritz is one of the “expert” judges in the blind-tasting portion of the competition.)
Wednesday, Sept. 11
‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ at the Kennedy Center: Playwright Heidi Schreck spent part of her high school years at constitutional debate competitions, earning money for college tuition. Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me” re-creates those childhood monologues and weaves in her family history and her take on the triumphs and failings of the Constitution. The funny and affecting play arrives at the Kennedy Center after a hit New York run: The District’s Woolly Mammoth originally planned to produce it this past spring, but the buzz surrounding Schreck’s work ushered it to Broadway. Through Sept. 22. $49-$169.
Artist Talk: Yun Suknam at the National Portrait Gallery: It was only in the past year that Yun Suknam’s work has been the sole focus of an exhibition in America. But in Yun’s native South Korea, the 80-year-old artist is considered a pioneer of feminist-focused art. Her portrait “Mother III” is the centerpiece of the Portrait Gallery’s “Portraits of the World” series. The artist will visit D.C. this week to talk about her career during a daytime talk at the gallery. 3 p.m. Free.
D.C. Beer Week events: Back in 2016, Jamaal Lemon and Myron “Shep” Jenkins applied to be interns for the World of Beer restaurant chain. They won, and their reward involved drinking beers across America and Europe. The two, who now run a beer-focused podcast called Help the Pour, will talk about their experiences and the state of craft beer at the Heurich House, the historic home of pioneering D.C. brewer Christian Heurich. Doors open at 6 p.m., and admission is $10. Want something less cerebral? The formula for Roofers Union’s annual D.C. Beer Week Battle Royale is simple: Seven D.C. breweries bring a keg of their favorite beer to put on tap. The first one to kick earns that brewery $400 for a charity of its choice. The race begins at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 12
NGA Nights at the National Gallery of Art East Building: The fall season of night parties at the National Gallery of Art begins on Thursday — fittingly with a back-to-school theme. You’ll have a chance to re-create art class with a paint-your-own Picasso-style portrait station. There will also be a live DJ, but if you want to keep up with the theme, the popular “Stuff You Missed in History Class” podcast will tape a live show on the history of the color blue. 6 to 9 p.m. Free with registration.
Zoo Uncorked at the National Zoo: Beer fans had their big night out at the National Zoo earlier this summer with Brew at the Zoo, and in September, it’s oenophiles’ turn. Zoo Uncorked, an adults-only fundraising event, will serve up highly rated pours of pinot gris, rioja, cabernet and more. Besides unlimited wine tastings, the evening will include live music and access to the zoo’s Great Cats exhibit and Think Tank exhibit (home to orangutans). 6 to 9 p.m. $55-$115. Sober driver tickets start at $30.
NSO in Your Neighborhood at various locations: The National Symphony Orchestra’s effort to make inroads across D.C. is one of the best free concert programs in the city. For fall, they’re playing all across the eastern neighborhoods, beginning with Thursday’s full orchestra concert at the cavernous Northeast dance hall Echostage. Performances extend through Sept. 16, with highlighted venues including the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast (Friday) and two outdoor concerts on Sunday at the National Arboretum and Chuck Brown Park. Times vary through Sept. 16. Free.
Jlin at U Street Music Hall: If you’re ready to get your breath taken away on the dance floor — maybe literally — turn your attention to the dizzying sounds summoned by Jlin. The Gary, Ind.-based producer started in 2015 by fashioning her own spin on footwork, a style of dance music created in nearby Chicago that encourages, in technical terms, going absolutely wild with your feet in the club. “Black Origami,” released in 2017, is in a class of its own as a wonderfully idiosyncratic swirling of almost unearthly sounds that somehow remains quite danceable. 10:30 p.m. $10-$20.
D.C. Beer Week events: Spend enough time around beer nerds and they’ll talk your ear off about how you should only drink beer when it’s super fresh. Find out what they mean at Dupont Circle’s Pizzeria Paradiso, where Fresh to Death features 12 kegs and casks, all of which are less than seven days old. Look for selections from Aslin, Silver Branch, Ocelot and Red Bear, among others, beginning at 11:30 a.m. What’s it like to be a woman in the D.C. beer scene? Head to Red Bear Brewing to get advice and hear stories from a panel including Pizzeria Paradiso beer director Drew McCormick and Lake Anne Brew House owner Melissa Romano. The talk begins at 6 p.m.; Hang around afterwards for a meet-and-greet and the debut of Blonde Boots, a collaboration with female brewers from Old Ox, Denizens and other local breweries. Admission is free.
Friday, Sept. 13
‘Get Out’ at Congressional Cemetery: The sign on the wrought-iron gate of Congressional Cemetery reads: “Beware, all souls who enter here,” but in keeping with the tongue-in-cheeky attitude that this Capitol Hill space is known for, the warning doesn’t refer to anything especially ghastly. It’s simply a reminder that neighborhood dogs (with permits) are allowed to roam free inside the fence, and that the 1807 site, while historical, is still an active burial ground. The emphasis is on “active”: The last of the seasonal “Cinematery” series is a screening of the instant-classic horror film from the mind of Jordan Peele. Gates open at 6 p.m.; movie begins at sunset, around 7:30. $10 suggested donation.
Pitch a Friend at Franklin Hall: If you’re looking to mingle and have a high tolerance for public embarrassment, skip the dating apps and head to the Florida Avenue beer hall on Friday night. In some twisted social equation, organizers of Pitch a Friend have merged dating games and apps with “Shark Tank.” Presenters will take the stage to deliver a three-minute presentation on why attendees should date their friends. Even if you’re not looking for a mate, it might be a good chance to grab a drink and take people watching to another level. 8 p.m. Free.
D.C. Beer Week events: Because nothing goes together like smooth music and hoppy craft beer, DC Brau has commandeered a two-level party barge at the Wharf and is setting sail for two hours of sipping brews and grooving to Michael McDonald, Steely Dan and Christopher Cross. Tickets ($75) for the two-hour Brau Poppin’ and Yacht Rockin’ Cruise on the Potomac include “heavy hors d’oeuvres” and one beer, with additional beers for purchase on board.
— Hau Chu, Fritz Hahn, Adele Chapin, Michael O’Sullivan and Chris Richards