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TUESDAY

Here’s something everyone can appreciate during Black History Month: not tripping over shoddy sneakers into an open elevator shaft and bleeding to death. For we’ve been spared from this threat by black inventors Alexander Miles, Jan Matzeliger, and Charles Drew, who respectively spawned the automatic elevator-door closer, affordable shoe lasting, and the blood bank. Of course, we can thank black inventors not only for taking pain out of our lives but for putting pleasure in. Who doesn’t enjoy blasting obnoxious tots with a Super Soaker or eating the delicious preservatives in beef jerky? I certainly do, and I’ll be front and center when the D.C.-based Pin Points Theatre presents the musical 1001 Black Inventions at noon at the National Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (John Metcalfe)