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“Lunchtime Invasion” sounds like a wacky arm of the Occupy D.C. movement. (It’s a burrito bust-up! Bagel bedlam! Panini pandemonium!) But really, it’s just the name of the midday street performances planned as part of “Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America,” the Kennedy Center’s week-long celebration of street performance. D.C. isn’t much of a street-performance town—we like our thoroughfares orderly, beige, and unmarred by quirkiness—but the comic possibilities of buttoned-down Hill staffers meeting face-to-face with a posse of yo-yo-slingers are too rich to pass up. Today at 11:30 a.m., knick-knack browsers at Eastern Market will be “invaded” by Happenstance Theater, Nana Projects, a multitalented unicycler called Bert the Nerd, and the multioral Mouth Monster (shown). Hang around Nationals Park this afternoon, and you might encounter Mucca Pazza, an enormous “circus-punk marching band” that, though based in Chicago, feels like the kind of kooky ensemble only Portland, Ore., could produce. Throughout the week, Woodrow Wilson Plaza, Farragut Square, and the Old Post Office Pavilion will be visited by aerialists, acrobats, Natalia Paruz (aka “The Saw Lady”), juggler Paolo Garbanzo, and others; the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage will also host affiliated shows all week. On Saturday, the fest culminates with a big blowout at Yards Park. Move that spectacle to McPherson Square, and you’ve got a real party.
“Look Both Ways” begins at 11:30 a.m. at Eastern Market and Nationals Park/The Half Street Fairgrounds. See a complete schedule at kennedy-center.org. All events are free.