We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
When hominids got off their asses, it was more than just an evolutionary breakthrough. It was a betrayal. A quick jaunt through primatologist and photographer Frans de Waal’s striking portrait collection My Family Album offers a rare window into the primordial primate soul. And what, dare we ask, lies inside? A passionate desire to sit around. The coffee-table book offers black-and-white photos of seated bonobos making funny faces, chimps squatting dispassionately, and rhesus monkeys perched aggressively. Besides getting with the sitting, these apes and monkeys nurse, screw around, and squat on each other’s heads. But de Waal’s otherwise comprehensively wacky images, culled from 30 years of primate study in zoos and in the wild, feature nary a monkey or an ape dressed as a butler. That’s a lesson for all you shutterbugs: Always be ready for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Discuss the evolutionary advantages of the macaque’s giant testicles when de Waal speaks at 6:30 p.m. at the U.S. Navy Memorial Museum Auditorium, 7th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. $25. (202) 357-3030. (Josh Levin)