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Alexander Calder is known primarily for his huge, abstract sculptures—think the giant, graceful, red metal that adorns public space in Chicago, Seattle, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and in the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden—and his hanging, kinetic pieces called “mobiles,” like the giant one that hangs from the ceiling in the National Gallery’s East Building, moving gently with the air currents flowing through the space. Calder’s work marked a turning point in modern art’s understandings of space and form; it’s part of permanent collections in tony institutions across the world, including the National Gallery. In the East Building, where the main space is already dominated by Calder, there’s an entire room full of his pieces.
That’s the room where a viewer can really encounter Calder, unintimidated by the sheer scale of his reputation (and of his more massive works). The whimsy that animated him—he had a longstanding fascination with the circus—is evident in the color that highlights the smaller statues, which sway and cast shadows almost as if alive. One piece to check out is small, simple, and funny: just a small piece of brass wire twisted into the shape of a poodle. “French Poodle,” made around 1952, isn’t what many people imagine when they hear Calder’s name, but it helps humanize his larger-than-life, willfully childlike artistic project. —Emma Sarappo
Shonen KnifeFounded by bored Osaka office workers in their early 20s, Shonen Knife entered the American consciousness in an explosion of primary colors and three-chord songs at the height of the grunge movement, even though they were already nearly a decade into their career as a band when they opened for Nirvana on tour for Nevermind. Early classics like “Twist Barbie” and “Black Bass” set the tone for the band’s output through the decades, a signature blend of rock, surf, and bubblegum punk. Read more >>> Shonen Knife perform at 8:30 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. $18. (202) 250-2531. citywinery.com. (Will Lennon)
Young people will lead a march to the Capitol to protest fossil fuel use and advocate for climate action. 11 a.m. at John Marshall Park, Pennsylvania Avenue and 4th Street NW. Free.
Cigarette-loving crooner Mac DeMarco offers us a light. 8 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $44–$79.
Melancholy singer Nick Cave puts on “Conversations with Nick Cave,” described as “an evening of talk and music.” 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. $49.50–$89.50.
MéridaGordana Geršković’s works in Mérida are all about surface, so it’s easy to see how she was able to flit back and forth so easily between photography and other media. The backbone of the exhibit is her abstract photography of pastel-hued wall surfaces in the titular Mexican city, where she lived for a year. Aaron Siskind and Minor White have made similar efforts in black and white, but Geršković’s modestly sized images show an impressively wide range of textures. Read more >>>The exhibition runs to Sept. 29 at Foundry Gallery, 2118 8th St. NW. Free. (202) 232-0203. foundrygallery.org. (Louis Jacobson)
The H Street Festival takes over 11 city blocks and turns them into a pedestrian paradise celebrating local business and artists. 12 p.m. at H Street NE between 4th and 14th streets NE. Free.
Hip-hop whiz kid Hoodie Allen brings his pop-rap to Silver Spring. 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $29.50.
There’s more rap across town: Tyler, the Creator is on tour with Jaden Smith and GoldLink. 7 p.m. at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. $29.50–$69.50.
Imani PerryIn the tradition of James Baldwin’s letter to his nephew in The Fire Next Time and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Imani Perry writes to her black sons—and to all of us—in her newest book, Breathe: A Letter to My Sons. The Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and the author of a biography of Lorraine Hansberry, Perry reflects on the black struggle for justice. Read more >>> Imani Perry speaks at 5 p.m. at Politics and Prose at Union Market, 270 5th St. NE. Free. (202) 544-4452. politics-prose.com. (Amy Guay)
HERAFest, an all-ages, all-women music festival, has Jill Sobule at the top of its bill and is raising money for D.C. nonprofit ProjectHERA. 12 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. Free–$20.
Billy Price helps out with a tribute concert for legendary guitar player Roy Buchanan. 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $25.
Raveena is getting a lot of buzz for her delicate, warbling pop and powerful vocals. 7 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $22.
Adam AntThe tracks on Adam Ant’s highest-charting solo album, Friend or Foe, begin like this: either with high-tempo brass squeals, pounding drums, wild vocalizations, or some combination of the three. That’s how the title track starts—brass, then the feverish drums that form the spine of the track, then Ant nearly yodeling the “wah-wah-HEY” riff that makes the song so catchy. It’s also the formula for the beginning of his most successful single, “Goody Two Shoes,” which casual listeners may recognize as the theme that introduces Simon Pegg’s humorless cop Nicholas Angel in Hot Fuzz. Read more >>> Adam Ant performs at 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. $45. (202) 888-0050. thelincolndc.com. (Emma Sarappo)
Chicago-based indie darlings Whitney tour in support of their sophomore album, Forever Turned Around. 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $30.
Local jazz-funk-hip-hop fusion group Secret Society play in Northeast. 7:30 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE.
Catch Australian psychedelic group Pond‘s “enthralling live show.” 7:30 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $20.
Massive AttackMassive Attack’s Robert “3D” Del Naja and Grantley “Daddy G” Marshall, both of Bristol, England, helped pioneer the trip-hop movement in the 1990s. With a downtempo take on the electronic breakbeats that were ubiquitous during that time in the European club scene, Massive Attack’s sound adds a psychedelic spin to a blend of soul, dub, and R&B. Their D.C. performance is part of a tour to celebrate the group’s seminal 1998 album, Mezzanine. Read more >>> Massive Attack perform at 8 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $55–$95. (202) 888-0020. theanthemdc.com. (Sriram Gopal)
Canadian R&B breakout star Daniel Caesar is on tour in the States. 7 p.m. at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $42.50.
Iconic group REO Speedwagon are taking it on the run to D.C. 8 p.m. at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. $53–$93.
Aughts pop pioneer The Rocket Summer plays from his new album, Sweet Shivers. 8 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $18–$20.
Daniel NorgrenDaniel Norgren is from western Sweden, but you wouldn’t guess it from his music. Although Norgren’s most recent album will be his first to come out in the States, his previous efforts sound more like music you’d find surfing radio stations in rural Oklahoma than third place at Eurovision. Listen for shades of country, folk, and even gospel (see especially “Let Me Go” from his 2008 album Outskirt). Norgren combines field recordings with sounds captured in a more traditional studio setting, crafting them into an affectionate, unselfconscious outsider’s perspective on “American music.” Read more >>> Daniel Norgren performs at 7:30 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $15. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com. (Will Lennon)
Mary Bridget Davies brings Janis Joplin back to life in A Night With Janis Joplin, a tour through her catalog and musical influences. 8 p.m. at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. $37.50–$125.50.
Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power, is a Wanderer with an unforgettable voice that won her a devoted fandom. 8 p.m. at The Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. $35–$45.
Pop powerhouse Lizzo plays the first of two shows here. 8 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $45–$75.
J BalvinMedellín, Colombia’s J Balvin grew up loving the aggressive songs of Nirvana and reggaeton pioneer Daddy Yankee, but he’s established his name with reggaeton and hybrid genre tunes that feature his more relaxed flow. On his recent collaborative album, Oasis, made with Puerto Rico’s Bad Bunny, Balvin’s yearning pop vocal on “La Canción” helps convey the message that hearing a certain song reminds him instantly of an ex that he thought he had forgotten. On “Como Un Bebé,” the star urges his girlfriend to dance rather than argue. Read more >>> J Balvin performs at 8 p.m. at EagleBank Arena, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax. $29.95–$199.95. (703) 993-3000. eaglebankarena.com. (Steve Kiviat)
Rhiannon Giddens is changing our understandings of country as a genre with her MacArthur “Genius” Grant, her appearance on Ken Burns‘ Country Music, and her use of foundational African and Arab sounds in her genre-blending (and defining) music. 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, 2700 F St. NW. $39–$59.
Leslie Stevens has recorded with Florence + the Machine, Joe Walsh, and John Fogerty. 8 p.m. at Songbyrd Music House, 2477 18th St. NW. $10–$12.
Cartoonist Liana Finck discusses her no-nonsense drawings that tackle gender, love, shyness, and the animal kingdom. 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose at Union Market, 1270 5th St. NE. Free.
NEWS AND REVIEWS YOU CAN USE
Theater: Keep your eyes glued to the supertitles if you see La vida es sueño.
OFFICE OF FUTURE PLANNING
Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for Jenny Slate with Audie Cornish at GW Lisner Auditorium on Nov. 3. 8 p.m. at 730 21st St. NW. Ticket prices to be announced at time of sale.
Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for T-Pain at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Nov. 4. 8 p.m. at 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Ticket prices to be announced at time of sale.
Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday for She & Him at The Anthem on Dec. 5. 8 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $46–$76.