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The triangular piece of land between Massachusetts Avenue, L Street, and 10th Street NW—right by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center—was formerly known as “Reservation 69” on the L’Enfant plan, but since the mid-’50s, it’s had a new name: Samuel Gompers Memorial Park, thanks to the large Beaux-Arts bronze statue in the middle. Gompers was a major 19th-century American labor leader. Born in England to a poor Jewish family, Gompers knew firsthand the toll that faced craftsmen (he was a cigarmaker, as was his father, since his early teens in New York) amidst rising industrialization and class stratification. The Gompers family income was threatened by the creation of industrial molds. Gompers was instrumental in creating the American Federation of Labor (today the AFL-CIO), all the while opposing the socialists and leftists who would form groups like the Industrial Workers of the World. As the AFL’s first president, Gompers legitimized the right of laborers to organize and collectively bargain; he also made the eight-hour day one of the influential organization’s main goals. He sits on an elevated thronelike chair surrounded by allegorical figures and inscriptions on three sides. On the back, it reads “Say to the organized workers of America that as I have kept the faith I expect that they will keep the faith. They must carry on.” It would be a timely piece of art to view this Labor Day. —Emma Sarappo
Bill & Ted’s Excellent AdventureBill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is a 1989 sci-fi flick starring two blissed-out Van Halenites with a time machine. It’s also the kind-hearted adventure film we so desperately need in 2019. The dopey goodness of the film’s title characters (Alex Winter and a baby-faced Keanu Reeves) is refreshingly unambiguous. They’re pure, incorruptible good guys. We know this because the movie tells us—with a straight face—that our heroes are destined to become hard rock philosopher-kings whose music ushers in an era of global peace and prosperity. The problem: Ted’s dad is threatening to ship his son off to military school if he doesn’t pass history class, thereby breaking up Bill and Ted’s band Wyld Stallyns and erasing the future-utopia before it ever has a chance to exist. Read more >>> The film screens at 8 p.m. at Sonny’s Green, 1290 East-West Highway, Silver Spring. Free. (301) 495-6700. afi.com/silver. (Will Lennon)
Local rapper Shy Glizzy comes home(ish) for a Silver Spring show. 8 p.m. at Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $30.
Speaking of local acts, DuPont Brass—an ensemble formed by five Howard alums—are playing, too. 7 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $10–$15.
And Americana duo Amy Lavere & Will Sexton round out the evening with their powerful pipes and production. 9 p.m. at Hill Country Barbecue, 410 7th St. NW. $12–$15.
King Gizzard & the Lizard WizardKing Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard’s cacophonous guitar rock may be derivative, but their otherworldly vibes are more than enough to compensate for debts owed to Sabbath, Zeppelin, Zappa, and Jethro Tull. Losing yourself in their discography is like being possessed by something that emerged after cracking open a cursed amulet on a hunt for prehistoric drugs. Even the band’s scale is fantastical—King Gizz is seven bodies strong (two drummers, three shredders, a couple of other guys), and they’ve dropped 15 albums since 2012. Five of those came out in 2017 alone, and the music’s quantity has no effect on its quality. Read more >>> King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard perform at 8 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $35. (202) 265-0930. 930.com. (Will Lennon)
Don’t miss the Flower Bomb Fest’s celebration of D.C. artists. (We highlighted a few you should look out for). 2 p.m. at Dupont Underground, 19 Dupont Circle NW. Free.
And, of course, the National Book Festival—featuring names like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Henry Louis Gates Jr.—is free all day. 8:30 a.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt. Vernon Place NW. Free.
And now for something completely different: Emo Night Brooklyn will throw you straight back to 2009. 10 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $10–$15.
Sung Si-kyungAnyone in the mood for post-hype K-pop? When Sung Si-kyung burst onto the scene in 2000 at the age of 21, BTS’ members were all either in elementary school or getting ready for it, and the concept of a “Korean Wave” in music reaching America was dubious. Nicknamed “The Prince of Ballads,” Sung’s had ample success over the last 19 years, releasing seven full albums in Korean (plus two in Japanese) and selling millions of copies worldwide. Still, compared to the larger landscape, Sung is an odd duck. Read more >>> Sung Si-kyung performs at 7 p.m. at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. $80–$175. (703) 255-1900. warnertheatredc.com. (Tristan Jung)
If the red, red wine went to anyone’s head, it wasn’t me: UB40 and Shaggy are co-headlining a show. 7:30 p.m. at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $40–$60.
For something closer to home, check out Ethiopian singer-songwriter Teddy Afro. 9 p.m. at Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE. $50.
Or catch the second day of the Labor Day Music Festival’s local talent showcase. 7 p.m. at The Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Free.
Life as a Transit EmployeeBefore the Metro arrived in Washington, D.C., locals relied on a fleet of streetcars to ferry them around the city. This Labor Day, discover the lives of the individuals who kept D.C.’s early public transportation running with a visit to Life as a Transit Employee, a special exhibition on view at the National Capital Trolley Museum through the end of the holiday weekend. Featuring insights on aspects of the job ranging from negotiating labor contracts to battling extreme weather and organizing promotional campaigns, the event includes two afternoon showings of a 1940s recruitment film It’s a Big Job. Read more >>> The exhibition is on view from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the National Capital Trolley Museum, 1313 Bonifant Road, Colesville. $8–$10. (301) 384-6088. dctrolley.org. (Meilan Solly)
The Capital House Music Festival will feature go-go and DJs all day long—they encourage you to bring a picnic basket and your dancing shoes. Noon to dusk at Malcolm X Park, 16th and W streets NW. Free.
The Page-to-Stage New Play Festival wraps up with dozens of short, inventive performances running all day long. 9 a.m. at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. Free.
Or commemorate the spirit of Labor Day at a march for full employment and economic development. 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, 1964 Independence Ave. SW. Free.
Mary J. BligeAfter the 2009 inaugural balls, Michelle Obama ditched her ivory-colored gown for a T-shirt and sweatpants, Barack peeled off his tux down to shirtsleeves, and the first couple danced to Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” on the second floor of the White House, a scene one usher recalled as “the most beautiful, lovely thing you could imagine.” Blige is a progenitor of a sound that came of age when Bill Clinton was dubbed America’s first black president, a genre-blurring New York style that evolved when breakbeat hip-hop grooves were laced with soulful, streetwise vocals. Read more >>> Mary J. Blige performs at 8 p.m. at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $45–$250. (703) 255-1900. wolftrap.org. (John Kruzel)
Ever had Goan food? This pop-up’s your chance to try it. 5:30 p.m. at Bar Bullfrog, 1341 H St. NE. $25.
Looking for an uplifting read? Hear author Bina Venkataraman discuss her book The Optimist’s Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age. 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
Professor Rebecca Giblin is giving a public lecture about a potential path forward for copyright protections that work for everyone. 6 p.m. at the American University College of Law, 4300 Nebraska Ave. NW. Free.
Of Monsters and MenThe humid days of Washington summer are winding down, so it’s the perfect time to wrap yourself in the sonic Scandinavian hug that is Of Monsters and Men. The Icelandic pop-folk group will sail into The Wharf as part of their tour with the Baltimore indie pop band Lower Dens to promote their third record, Fever Dream. This latest production may sound like a departure from the band’s sonic roots like 2011’s “Little Talks,” a multi-platinum hit that was blasted from coffee shop speakers the world over, but as the group’s Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir told Billboard, “Some people won’t like it, because it’s different and people don’t like change, but that’s okay.” Read more >>> Of Monsters and Men perform at 8 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $50–$199. (202) 888-0020. theanthemdc.com. (Christian Paz)
Join local poets for a reading to benefit Immigrant Families Together. 6:30 p.m. at the American Poetry Museum, 716 Monroe St. NE #25. Pay what you can–$20.
If you’re an aspiring podcaster, check out the PRX Podcast Garage at its open house (drinks and snacks provided). 5 p.m. at the PRX Podcast Garage, 1921 8th St. NW #105. Free.
The dystopian world in Rob Hart‘s novel The Warehouse is really, eerily, creepily, uncomfortably too much like our own. 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose at Union Market, 1270 5th St. NE. Free.
Peter Catapano and Rosemarie Garland-ThomsonDisability is widely, blithely, and popularly misunderstood, even though as we age, most of us will personally encounter it. For example, after a scandalizing New York Post headline in July, Peter Catapano—editor of the New York Times’ opinion series Disability—had to write a column reminding readers that many wheelchair users can stand and walk sometimes, and that doesn’t mean they don’t need wheelchairs at all. Catapano’s series has been instrumental in tackling stubborn misconceptions like these through empathetic, rigorous, first-person prose detailing what it’s like to be deaf, to be autistic, to have diabetes, to have heart disease, or, yes, to use a wheelchair. Read more >>> Catapano and Garland-Thomson speak at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. Free. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com. (Emma Sarappo)
Soul powerhouse Jennifer Hudson‘s sounds will be accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra. 8 p.m. at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $45–$85.
Younger pop sensation dodie brings her frank and fearless music to the District. 7 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25.
Former Rilo Kiley frontwoman and queen of indie rock Jenny Lewis visits D.C. in support of her newest album, On The Line. 8 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $40–$70.
NEWS & REVIEWS YOU CAN USE
News: Here are three artists at the Flower Bomb Fest you should really check out.
News: Natalie Abrams didn’t want to be an artist—but now her inventive, wearable sculptures are spicing up runways.
Books: Overwhelmed by all the panels at the National Book Festival? Let us help you narrow them down.
Books: Some books by featured festival authors have a lot of holds at the D.C. Public Library.
Books: Evvie Drake Starts Over is easy to pick up (but also easy to put down).
Film: A new documentary follows Anton Yelchin, the rising Russian star who died in a freak accident at 27.
Theater: Assassins‘ anachronisms are “Unworthy of Your Love.”
OFFICE OF FUTURE PLANNING
Tickets are on sale now for Brockhampton at The Anthem on Nov. 25. 8 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $40–$75.
Tickets are on sale now for Pete Holmes with Jamie Lee at the Lincoln Theatre on Oct. 25. 5:30 p.m. at 1215 U St. NW. $40.
Tickets are on sale now for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong at The Anthem on Dec. 7. 7:30 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $35–$55.