Here’s something prescient for this week: In the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Lincoln Gallery, a shining column of LED lights will tell you that “ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE.” It’s not a pointed message for this administration or any one powerful abuser. It’s just a reminder of something true, across the world and especially in this city.
The phrase is one of Jenny Holzer’s most famous Truisms. In the late 1970s, Holzer began anonymously displaying flyers in New York City with aggressive aphorisms like “ANGER OR HATE CAN BE A USEFUL MOTIVATING FORCE” and “RAISE BOYS AND GIRLS THE SAME WAY.” Her text has been on signs in Times Square, carved into rocks and benches, and projected on monuments and public buildings. The pillar of light, titled “For SAAM” and designed specifically for the space, cycles through greatest hits from Truisms and her other series Living, Survival, and Arno.
Holzer’s work makes hard truths plain and asks us to look at them. Her concerns about sex, war, power, and society are serious, but she brings a mixture of sarcasm and levity to the work that’s often missed. She’s telling us something urgent with the visual language of advertising and mass communication—the bus ad, the billboard, the bench—while knowing we’ve all been trained to ignore it. The “For SAAM” statements—like, say, abuse of power— aren’t surprises. The point isn’t to teach you something new. It’s to remind you of things you might rather forget. —Emma Sarappo
Elvis Costello and BlondieNew wave may be old hat, but two of its finest acts—Elvis Costello and Blondie—refuse to let that get them down. The tireless pop troubadour Costello has amassed quite the songbook during his four-decade-plus career, and concertgoers can expect to hear highlights, favorites and a handful of tunes from last year’s Look Now. That album played like a throwback to the heyday of the Brill Building, thanks to a first-ever team-up with Carole King and a handful of tunes with collaborator Burt Bacharach. Read more >>> The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $95–$175. (202) 888-0020. theanthemdc.com. (Chris Kelly)
Hear folk-infused tunes from mid-2000s indie rockers Fruit Bats. 7 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. $20–$40.
This week’s Jazz in the Garden features world guitar group Incendio. 5 p.m at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free.
Harriet A. Washington speaks about her new book A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind, which explores the theory that environmental racism is to blame for myriad physical and cognitive issues in poor black communities. 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
Shake it at an all-female, all-local dance party featuring Vodkatrina and Tezrah. 9 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $15.
Jennifer Ratner-RosenhagenThe Ideas That Made America: A Brief History is a digestible primer in gemlike prose on the history of American thought, ambitious in its sweep and economical in its use of detail. While Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, never says what to think about today’s headlines, readers can see how competing ideas from the past stay with us as familiar themes. Read more >>> Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen speaks at 6 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com. (Diana Michele Yap)
Join anti-diet-culture, anti-body-shaming outdoors group Fat Girls Hiking for a serene, friendly two-mile trail hike. 10 a.m. at Ball’s Bluff Regional Park, Balls Bluff Road NE, Leesburg. Free–$15.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s breakout star Tituss Burgess performs jazz standards and pop tunes with co-star Jane Krakowski. 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2700 F St. NW. $29–$99.
90s guitar rock stars Hootie and the Blowfish perform the first of two area shows. 7:30 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow. $54.50–$149.50.
The Spirit of the WoodlandsSarah Hood Salomon’s photography exhibit The Spirit of the Woodlands emerged from the ashes of an “ego-shredding” portfolio review. The artist consoled herself with long nature walks in remote, overlooked areas along the Potomac River and eventually began photographing again, often in winter. Read more >>> The exhibit runs to July 28 at Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory, 105 North Union St. Suite 312, Alexandria. Free. (703) 683-2205. multipleexposuresgallery.com. (Louis Jacobson)
The fourth annual Chop Bar—a pop-up celebration of African food—will feature Top Chef finalist Eric Adjepong. 2 p.m. at Big Chief, 2002 Fenwick St. NE. $45–$75.
Country Music Hall of Fame member Reba McEntire performs at Wolf Trap. 8 p.m. at the Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. $45–$250.
Lisa TaddeoWhen Lisa Taddeo set out to write a book about human desire, she began her research by talking to men, but quickly found herself disinterested. Their stories about sex all ended the same way: at climax. But women’s stories, even ones describing the same events, were different—their tellings were always entangled with feelings about their own sexuality, personal histories, wants, and fears. So Taddeo instead spent eight years talking to three women—Maggie, Lina, and Sloane—about the most personal part of their personal lives: their sexual desires. Read more >>> Lisa Taddeo speaks at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com. (Emma Sarappo)
Winnetka Bowling League won’t be bowling, but they will be playing pop tunes worthy of the catchiest commercials. 8 p.m. at DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. $15.
Looking to get better in touch with nature this summer? There’s a How to Pack a Backpack workshop that will teach you how to bring what you’ll need for outdoor adventures. 6:30 p.m. at the NoMa REI, 201 M St. NE. $20–$40.
Enjoy two hours of poetry from a diverse array of performers at an open mic hosted by Kanikki J. 9 p.m. at the Shirlington Busboys and Poets, 4251 S. Campbell Ave., Arlington. $5.
Queen and Adam LambertLast year, Bohemian Rhapsody catapulted Queen back into the spotlight, earning Rami Malek an Academy Award for his turn as Freddie Mercury and setting the stage for a triumphant tour by the band’s remaining members—guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor—plus singer Adam Lambert, who has performed alongside the pair since 2011. Dubbed the Rhapsody Tour, the North American circuit promises to be a lively, feel-good experience. Read more >>> Queen perform with Adam Lambert at 8 p.m. at Capital One Arena, 601 F St. NW. $49.50–$195. (202) 628-3200. capitalonearena.monumentalsportsnetwork.com. (Meilan Solly)
Alternative piano virtuoso Ben Folds performs with ’80s punk act Violent Femmes. 8 p.m. at The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. $55–$259.
Catch Nelly, TLC, and Flo Rida all in one place—a truly star-studded hip-hop lineup. 7 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow. $25–$156.
DC Net Impact is joining with Anacostia Riverkeepers for a networking and education night that features tacos and a river boat tour. 6 p.m. at Earth Conservation Corps, 1520 1st St. SE. $20.
Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, has only been on the silver screen twice: once in 1940, with Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy, and again in 2005, with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. If Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle immediately come to mind, though, you’re not alone—the 1995 BBC television serial remains the definitive version for many Austen lovers. But that’s not necessarily a knock on the quality of the 2005 film, which took risks and liberties with the source material. Read more >>> The film screens at 8:30 p.m. at Dumbarton House, 2715 Q St. NW. $6. (202) 337-2288. dumbartonhouse.org. (Lia Assimakopoulos)
This week’s NoMa Summer Screen movie is cult cheerleader flick Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst, Gabrielle Union, and Eliza Dushku. 8:30 p.m. at The Lot @ First and Pierce, 1150 1st St. NE. Free.
Lean into your rebellious side and see KoRn and Alice in Chains—two heavy metal bands parents and schools across the nation feared—play together. 6:30 p.m. at Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow. $27–$336.
Want to brush up on your Spanish? Want to just drink some wine? You can do either or both at a Spanish-language wine tasting held by Conversational DC. 7 p.m. at Grand Cata Latin Wine Shop, 1550 7th St. NW. $30.
Dark Star Park AlignmentThe late sculptor Nancy Holt may be best known for “Sun Tunnels” (1973–76), a sequence of four massive sections of concrete cylinders aligned with the transit of the sun. The installation’s remote location—an empty stretch of land in Utah’s Great Basin Desert—is both a feature and a bug for Land Art devotees. But D.C. viewers can easily access another impressive example of Holt’s work: “Dark Star Park” (1979–84), a landscaped plaza and sculpture series in Rosslyn. Read more >>> The shadows will align at 9:32 a.m. at Dark Star Park, 1655 Fort Myer Drive, Arlington. Free. (703) 522-6628. rosslynva.org. (Kriston Capps)
Learn about triumphant queer history when Mason Funk discusses his new book The Book of Pride: LGBTQ Heroes Who Changed The World. 6:30 p.m. at Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
Duke Ellington High alumnus Demetrius Brown and his band ENTATY will provide the soundtrack for Lorenzo “GoLo” Evans’ go-go dance workshop. 7 p.m. on the Library of Congress’ north lawn,10 1st St. SE. Free.
The Kennedy Center’s last summer rooftop happy hour will feature tunes by JP Harris and Karen Jonas and beer from Port City Brewing. 5 p.m. on the Kennedy Center Roof Terrace, 2700 F St. NW. Free.
NEWS & REVIEWS YOU CAN USE
News: Here are the books flying off the kids’ shelves at the library this summer.
Film: Forget Netflix. There’s free movies all over the city this summer.
Theater: Treasure Island, featuring a gender-bent protagonist, could use a narrator to help keep things straight.
OFFICE OF FUTURE PLANNING
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for Young Thug and Machine Gun Kelly at The Anthem on Oct. 22. 8 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $50–$249.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for Alessia Cara at The Anthem on Oct. 26. 7:30 p.m. at 901 Wharf St. SW. $40–$175.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for Tegan and Sara at Lincoln Theatre on Oct. 27. 7 p.m. at 1215 U St. NW. $40.50–$76.