The 25 best things to do in D.C. this weekend and next week

The annual Ireland at the Wharf brings Irish dancers, live music, games and a beer garden to the Southwest Waterfront. (Wharf)
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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a kickoff party with free food and drinks at the Park at 14th on Thursday or wait for Friday night to check out parties at the Dubliner and the Irish Inn at Glen Echo. For cinephiles, both the DC Environmental Film Festival and the New African Film Festival start this week. Other options: the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Spring Record Fair at Eaton DC and a Women in Wine celebration at Vitis Fine Wines.

Thursday, March 16

DC Environmental Film Festival

The DC Environmental Film Festival, or DCEFF, returns to in-person screenings for the first time since 2019. The program includes documentaries, feature films and shorts focusing on all aspects of the environment: Previous editions have told stories about endangered ecosystems, the secret lives of primates, the causes of megafires and the dangers of cancer-causing chemicals. There are locally focused films, too, such as 2021’s “Power of the Paddle,” about a man who attempted to ride a stand-up paddle board the length of the Chesapeake Bay to raise money and awareness for oyster recovery efforts. Many events feature Q&A discussions with filmmakers and environmental thought leaders. Screenings are held across the area, at museums, embassies, theaters and universities. Pro tip: More than 300 films from previous festivals are available to watch online. (Through March 26. Free-$25. All-access festival passes $60.)

‘Live! at the Library: Women in Photography’ at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress’s free weekly after-hours gathering has a pair of evenings dedicated to Women’s History Month. This Thursday features photojournalist Sharon Farmer, the first woman and first African American to be director of the White House Photography Office, and Anne Tucker, curator emerita at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, discussing the history of female photographers in conjunction with the library’s ongoing “Not an Ostrich” exhibit, which draws from the library’s vast collection of more than 14 million photographs to highlight a selection of 400 images. Free timed-entry tickets are required. (5 to 8 p.m. Free; registration required.)

St. Patrick’s Day kickoff at the Park at 14th

Jameson, Guinness and corned beef sandwiches receive top billing at most St. Patrick’s Day events, but if the Park wants to throw a party with chicken wings and Maker’s Mark bourbon — and, more importantly, provide them free — who are we to argue? RSVP for free food and drinks, but don’t forget about the Park’s stringent dress code, because your “KISS ME I’M IRISH” T-shirt probably won’t get you past the well-dressed bouncers. (5 to 9 p.m. Free with RSVP.)

Women in Wine celebration at Vitis Fine Wines

Walk around during the Women in Wine celebration at Union Market’s Vitis Fine Wines and Spirits and you’ll get to chat with a few of the family-owned shop’s favorite female movers and shakers in the industry, from winemakers to importers. Ten wines will be on hand to sample during this happy hour event. (6:30 to 8 p.m. $25.)

‘Pacific Overtures’ at Signature Theatre

The wildly inventive 1976 musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman is one of Sondheim’s most challenging works, telling the story of feudal Japan’s invasion by the hegemonic forces of the West, from the point of view of the Japanese. It is a task Sondheim-adoring Signature Theatre embraced in 2005, via a cast that included many White actors. With the more sophisticated understanding these days about ethnic identity in the theater, the cast, led by Jason Ma as the Reciter, consists entirely of actors of Asian descent. The director is the company’s associate artistic director, Ethan Heard, who is also Asian American. (Through April 9. $40-$103.)

Friday, March 17

The best pubs for St. Patrick’s Day

From Ned Devine’s in Herndon to the Old Brogue in Great Falls to Galway Bay in downtown Annapolis, the Irish pubs are going to be packed with revelers making the most of St. Patrick’s Day, kicking off an unofficial three-day weekend. Friendly advice: No matter where you’re going, try to arrive as early as possible. Lines usually start building in the afternoon, and no one wants to wait outside while friends are enjoying themselves indoors.

No D.C. pub does it bigger than the Dubliner, where the drinks begin flowing and the bands begin playing at 9 a.m. Pints of Guinness are 49 cents for the first hour, in honor of the Dubliner’s 49 years on Capitol Hill. Expect bands to rotate throughout the day, plus party music from DJ Harry Hotter. There’s a $10 cover. (4 F St. NW.) Across the Pond gets started bright and early with Kegs & Eggs at 7 a.m. While there’s no cover charge, a special wristband ($25 advance, $40 at the door) is good for admission and $2 Guinness pints until 9 a.m. Expect pipers and Irish dancers throughout the day, and a live broadcast with DC101 from 7 p.m. to midnight. (1732 Connecticut Ave. NW.) Mattie and Eddie’s throws open the doors at 9 a.m. on Pentagon Row, with music starting at noon. Dancers from the Boyle and McGrath schools perform throughout the afternoon. (1301 S. Joyce St., Arlington.) Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub in Alexandria has a full day of entertainment planned: Live music starts at 10 a.m. with Pat Carroll, Pat Garvey, Brandon Kennedy and Colby Sard all taking the stage. (713 King St., Alexandria.) The Irish Inn at Glen Echo is known for live music, and the Galway Ramblers take the stage soon after doors open at 11 a.m. They’re followed by the Bog Band, which plays from 3 to 7 p.m., and the Irish Inn Mates, who perform from 7 until close. The Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance will make an appearance, too. There’s a $5 cover. (6119 Tulane Ave., Glen Echo.)

SoberRide discounted rides home

SoberRide, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s long-running anti-drunken-driving program, offers free and discounted Lyft rides home between 4 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m. Saturday. Look for a code posted on at 3 p.m. Friday, and enter it into the app for a $15 ride credit. If the ride is cheaper than that, it’s free; if it’s more, the passenger pays the difference. A limited number of credits are available, so keep an eye on the website and grab the code ASAP.

New African Film Festival at AFI Silver Theatre

The program at this 19-year-old festival features 30 films from 22 countries, including six U.S. premieres, eight filmmaker Q&As and two official Oscar submissions: Tunisia’s “Under the Fig Trees” and Morocco’s “The Blue Caftan,” that latter of which made the Oscars’ international feature shortlist. (Through March 30. $8-$13. All-access passes $150.)

Solas Nua Irish Book Day at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

If you’re over standing-room-only bars, Irish cultural organization Solas Nua provides a more thoughtful, intellectual celebration at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Irish Book Day brings a trio of Irish and Ireland-based writers, including award-winning author Sinead Gleeson, for an afternoon of readings and discussion, capped with “The Haunted Haunting Women,” a “text, sound and visual performance” by Gleeson and composer Stephen Shannon. Admission is free, but reservations are required. (1:30 to 5:30 p.m. 901 G St. NW.)

Synae at Comet Ping Pong

Synae’s story as a musician begins with the backdrop of pandemic lockdowns and the Black Lives Matter protests, which added turbulence to personal strife; the R&B artist was laid off from a job and experienced a death in the family. Joy was in short supply, and when it did come, it came from an unexpected source. Nintendo had just released “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” a colorful, relaxing game for Switch consoles where the player travels to an uninhabited island, befriends adorable anthropomorphic neighbors and designs what is, in essence, a perfect homesteading life. The game served as an inspiration for Synae’s EP “Wild World,” a four-song blend of heartfelt melodies and reflective lyrics littered with game references for keen listeners about catching bees and apple trees. Its standout is the upbeat, self-assured title track. The music video, featuring Synae dancing over clips of gameplay, is quirky and lighthearted, but the lyrics prove that exuberance didn’t come without a fight: “For someone like me, dreams don’t come for free / Before you die you gotta live like you were made for this / It’s a wild world out there, you gotta go for it.” (10 p.m. $15.)

[Interview: Washington, D.C., artist Synae turns turmoil into joyful R&B]

Tiffany Day at DC9

In a viral video that does exactly what it says on the tin — “me singing into a well in Italy” — Tiffany Day belts out “Hallelujah,” the stirring ballad written by Leonard Cohen but popularized by John Cale and Jeff Buckley and covered by hundreds of singers. For Day, the reverb of the well provides extra depth to her voice as she crescendos, adding melisma and going up an octave along the way. The Kansas-raised, LA-based artist has plenty to praise these days, and with her au courant take on soulful dance pop, she’s more than delivering on the promise of that viral video. (7:30 p.m. $18-$20.)

Saturday, March 18

Ireland at the Wharf

Those who don’t overindulge on Friday night can head to the Wharf on Saturday for even more celebrations. The District Pier turns into a pop-up beer garden with pours of whiskey and Guinness, hosted by the nearby Kirwan’s Irish Pub. Entertainment inspired by the Emerald Isle includes Irish dancers and bagpipers; live music from the 19th Street Band, Poehemia and Ben David Band; and a craft corner for kids, along with lawn games such as oversized Jenga. Rugby fans will want to stake out a space in front of the big screen at Kirwan’s to watch the Ireland vs. England matchup in the Six Nations tournament. (Noon to 6 p.m. Free.)

‘Pour, Tear, Carve’ at the Phillips Collection

The 65 pieces chosen from the Phillips Collection’s permanent collection for the museum’s “Pour, Tear, Carve” exhibition offer a deep-dive exploration of how artists select and manipulate their materials. You’ll see still lifes from Georges Braque incorporating sand, works from Dindga McCannon made with torn fabrics, and art from Leo Villareal using LED lighting. (Through May 14. $10-$16; free for visitors 18 and younger.)

‘Urinetown’ at Workhouse Arts Center

There’s a lot more than just toilet humor going on in “Urinetown,” the Tony Award-winning musical comedy that sends up topics from late-stage capitalism to government bureaucracy to the entire concept of a musical. See it throughout the spring at Workhouse Arts Center, the visual and performing arts campus in Lorton, which is staging this zippy show about an apocalyptic world where private toilets are banned and city dwellers must pay a fee just to use the bathroom. (Through June 3. $20-$35.)

National Cherry Blossom Festival begins

With the cherry blossoms’ peak bloom trending earlier, the National Park Service has moved up the opening of its Tidal Basin welcome station near the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Stop by to learn more about the National Cherry Blossom Festival or to let kids earn a Junior Ranger badge; stick around for daily cultural performances on the ANA Stage and park ranger-led tours and talks. (Through April 2. Free.)

‘Connecting Cultures: Japanese Flowering Cherries in America’ at National Arboretum

One of the more scholarly programs timed to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, this afternoon-long program at the National Arboretum features researchers discussing the Arboretum’s work with flowering cherry trees and showing ways to support and rejuvenate older trees, demonstrations with a Japanese master gardener, and a history of the trees on this side of the Pacific. (1 to 4:30 p.m. $20.)

St Patrick’s Day ‘Pup Crawl’ at Navy Yard

Humans aren’t the only ones who get to enjoy themselves St. Patrick’s Day weekend: Nine bars around Navy Yard have teamed up with canine day care/boarding/grooming outfit District Dogs for a “St. Pawty’s Day” bar crawl. Dacha, Walters, the Salt Line and Tap99 are among the stops offering drink specials and treats for people and dogs alike. Pet portraits are also available for an additional fee. (1 to 4 p.m. $15-$20.)

Press Play Film Series: ‘Black Orpheus’ at Metrobar

If you’ve been around the D.C. hip-hop and club scene, your ears have been blessed by DJ Jahsonic, whether at the legendary Main Ingredient parties at Marvin, Axel F at the Liv and the Howard Theatre, or other spots from Lydia to the Dew Drop Inn. His latest project finds the talented selector programming a monthly movie night at Metrobar, where he’ll pick the main feature on the bar’s screens and follow with a set inspired by the film. The series kicks off with Marcel Camus’s 1959 classic “Black Orpheus,” set at Rio’s Carnival, before Jahsonic and guest Adrian Loving take to the turntables. (Film begins at dusk. Free.)

Capital Cabaret Festival

Crazy Aunt Helen’s is celebrating National Cabaret Month (which, for those who may not know, is March) with a week-long festival featuring performances by the internationally recognized Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse and Richard Skipper. There are also master classes on cabaret performances throughout the week in the bar’s cozy Peacock Room. (8 p.m. each night except Tuesday. $30 per show.)

Sunday, March 19

DC Spring Record Fair at Eaton DC

Dig through crates from more than 40 vinyl vendors hailing from all over the East Coast at the spring edition of the DC Record Fair, held at hip downtown hotel Eaton DC. There’s no cost for music fans to come browse LPs and singles from a wide variety of genres. Meanwhile, Eaton Radio, the hotel’s in-house radio station, is putting together a lineup of local DJs to spin throughout the day. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.)

Funset Season 3 at Dew Drop Inn

When DJ Smudge transplanted the long-running Out on the Deck throw-down from Marvin’s rooftop to the indoor/outdoor Dew Drop Inn in 2021, it was a rare piece of positive news for the D.C. DJ party scene. Now entering “Season 3,” the return of the Funset — an amalgamation of hip-hop, ’80s funk, rare grooves, new jack swing, yacht rock and whatever else finds its way onto the DJs’ playlists — is one of the most vital and enjoyable ways to wind down your week. The 2023 Funset debut features Smudge, Harry Hotter, Kenny M and Jahsonic taking turns at the Dew Drop. The setup features a large patio and two levels of indoor bar seating, plus food trucks. (5 p.m. Free.)

Monday, March 20

Women in Craft Beverage at Other Half Brewing

Women make up an increasingly large share of alcohol consumers, but that diversity isn’t always reflected in the craft beer world: In a 2021 survey by the nonprofit Brewers Association, more than 58 percent of breweries had no female ownership, while just 2.9 percent were solely owned by women. During Women’s History Month, Other Half is once again hosting a meet-and-greet with local women in the craft beer industry. Attendees will be divided into four tables, and presenters will rotate among groups every 10 to 15 minutes to discuss their work and take questions. The nine speakers include Other Half lead brewer Breeze Galindo, Denizens co-founder Julie Verratti, and Lost Generation co-owner and general manager Anne Choe. Tickets include two beers and two slices of Andy’s Pizza; a portion of the proceeds benefit the Pink Boots Society, which offers scholarships to women in the beverage industry. (6 p.m. $30.)

Militarie Gun at the Runaway

When covid-19 shut down touring in 2020, Ian Shelton — drummer and vocalist for sonic pugilists Regional Justice Center — had to regroup. He quickly refocused his energy in a new project called Militarie Gun, releasing a debut project with a title that captured the dead-end depression of the peak pandemic: “My Life Is Over.” On that EP and the album “All Roads Lead to the Gun,” Militarie Gun is an outlet for Shelton’s more melodic impulses as he shout-sings about fighting his way out of quotidian nihilism, drawing inspiration from bands that forged noise into song. As he told Stereogum: “I love melody more than I love aggression, but I really love when the two can come together.” (8:30 p.m. $16-$18.)

Tuesday, March 21

Thouxanbanfauni at Union Stage

To paraphrase a once-great rapper, can you imagine locking yourself in a room and doing five beats a day for three summers? How about doing three albums a year for six years? That latter approach is the one favored by Thouxanbanfauni. The Chattanooga-born, Atlanta-based rapper-producer is a prolific proponent of the in-the-red rap that fermented on SoundCloud over the last decade. A collaborator with contemporaries including Playboi Carti and UnoTheActivist, Thouxanbanfauni shrugs out boasts and bon mots over beats that obliterate speakers, eardrums and reality itself. (8 p.m. $20-$35.)

Wednesday, March 22

Spring Equinox Party at the Dew Drop Inn

Capture the magic of the first day of spring at the Dew Drop Inn, where Skye Marinda invites all to “join our coven” and “come get witchy and weird.” The night includes tarot and astrology readings, witchy cocktails, and raffles to mark the new moon and new season. (7 p.m. Free entry.)