There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
One could argue that the pirates of the Caribbean were forced into their rough lifestyle by cold, hard economic and environmental factors. But that reasoning would leave a certain theme-park ride rather uncatchily named “Up Shit’s Gulf Stream Without a Paddle.” The well-worn tales of bloodthirst and treasure-burying are not entirely without warrant—buccaneer raids were certainly brutal and occasionally quite fruitful. But pirates were also complex and talented people. Take William Dampier: An accomplished mapmaker and explorer, Dampier left behind more than just a rum-fueled, body-strewn, booty-worshipping legacy, as Diana Preston details in her book (co-authored with her husband, Michael Preston), A Pirate of Exquisite Mind. Reconsider a pirate’s life when Preston speaks at 7 p.m. at the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $15. (202) 357-3030. (Mike Kanin)