R.O. Kwon’s debut novel, The Incendiaries, runs a whopping 214 pages, but like a shot of whiskey, its potency lingers long after you’ve finished it. Told from the perspective of three individuals living in an upstate New York college town, it’s an examination of belief in all its forms. Students Will and Phoebe meet and enter into a relationship after suffering great losses—he, a formerly devout Christian, has lost his faith; she has lost her mother in a car crash she blames herself for—and while their passion is palpable, something is missing. John Leal, the mysterious leader of a religious group in town, might have the answers they seek or he might lead to their destruction. It’s this lack of certainty that makes Kwon’s work so compelling. She shows the characters’ ugly sides, allows them to explain their actions, and leaves the assessment up to the reader. Her conversation with writer Nicole Chung at Politics and Prose’s new Union Market location may leave you with more questions about the book and it may provide you with some closure. Either way, you’ll be transfixed. Read more>>> R.O. Kwon speaks at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose at Union Market, 1270 5th St. NE. Free. (202) 544-4452. politics-prose.com. (Caroline Jones)
OH AND ALSO
Friday: Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon performs at Capital One Arena as part of his Homeward Bound Farewell Tour. 8 p.m. at 601 F St. NW. $50–$175.
Friday: Scranton rock band Tigers Jaw performs at Rock & Roll Hotel. 8 p.m. at 1353 H St. NE. $20.
Saturday: To fully enjoy the new age of alluring and sultry electronic soul, we’ve got to have Alina Baraz in our queue. Once SoundCloud dwellers caught wind of her talents, Baraz’s fan base grew into the hub it is today. The 24-year-old Cleveland native captivated audiences with her gentle voice and dreamy melodies back in 2015 with her EP Urban Flora, a collaboration with Danish producer Galimatias. With ease, she has shown her exquisite ability to combine poetry and sound while contributing to the downtempo electronica scene. The songs from her most recent project, The Color of You, tap into the vulnerability of finding love, the toxicity of problematic relationships, and what the road to recovery feels like—the type of sensual yet upbeat bops that make you want to unapologetically hit a slow body roll. You can see her sexiness personified at 9:30 Club. Read more>>> Alina Baraz performs at 10 p.m. at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $30. (202) 265-0930. 930.com. (Mikala Williams)
Saturday: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden presents Sean Scully: Landline, an exhibition showcasing the artist’s oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, and more. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Independence Avenue at 7th St. SW. Free.
Saturday: The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage hosts WET: A DACAmented Journey, a play about what it means to be an American in every sense except on paper. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.
Sunday: “Back in the days when I was young, I’m not a kid anymore but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again.” By the time Ahmad crooned these lyrics on his classic song, the vinyl record had been demonstratively cast into the shadows of the music industry. The sample for Ahmad’s song, “Back in the Day (Remix),” was Teddy Pendergrass’ 1980 track “Love T.K.O,” which was released almost two years before the first commercial CD was pressed in Hanover, Germany. People cried that this would be the death blow to LPs. Who would want to listen to their music in such an antiquated manner? About 36 years later the answer is: enough people for record companies like Sony to start pressing vinyl records again. For its 9th year, the DC Record Fair on U will celebrate the comeback kid of musical products that is the vinyl record. Start stretching your fingers now because heavy rummaging is to be expected, as well as a solid lineup of DJs spinning while you search for your holy grail of records. Read more>>> The fair begins at 12 p.m. at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U St. NW. $2–$5. (202) 588-1889. ustreetmusichall.com. (Hamzat Sani)
Sunday: The Anacostia Arts Center hosts My BARZ Heal Scars, a performance that uses hip-hop to bring rhythm to healing. 5:30 p.m. at 1231 Good Hope Road SE. Free.
Sunday: Soraya Chemaly speaks at Politics and Prose about Rage Becomes Her, her new book about the power of women’s anger and why that rightful anger is still considered taboo to this day. 5 p.m. at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free.
OFFICE OF FUTURE PLANNING
Tickets are on sale now for comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah, performing at DAR Constitution Hall on Oct. 20. 10 p.m. at 1776 D St. NW. $37.50–$123.
Tickets are on sale now for R&B queen Mary J. Blige, performing at D.C.’s newest venue, the Entertainment & Sports Arena, on Oct. 6. 8 p.m. at 1100 Oak Drive SE. $59–$119.
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