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Forget about the groundhog—a better test of the coming of spring can be found on the Yard, the vast, grassy lawn at the center of Howard University’s main campus. If, around mid-March, you should happen to see a few ladies rocking open-toed sandals or flashing slivers of arm, you can be fairly certain that the weather is about to break. But if instead you spot guys wearing heavy Avirex jackets and work boots, it’s safe to say that D.C. has got a few weeks of winter left to endure. These cues are helpful in determining the arrival of the warmer months, but Howard’s Undergraduate Student Assembly-organized Annual Spring Black Arts Festival is an official sign that spring has finally sprung—right up there with the blooming of the cherry blossoms and the debut of those department-issue parking-enforcement shorts. The theme for this year’s event is “immerse…indulge at your own risk,” but the offerings at the beginning of the week are relatively tame—a Sunday-evening gospel concert (at 7 p.m. March 30) at Cramton Auditorium kicks off the festivities. Things begin to live up to the titillating title at the end of the week, when Howard presents the “d-d-d-d-d-d-damn” man himself, rapper Fabolous (pictured, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3). It seems odd that such an esteemed institution of higher learning would play host to the misspelled man, no doubt responsible for many a fifth-grader’s getting bounced from a spelling bee, but there is no better way to celebrate spring—and there’s always summer to undo the damage. At various locations; see City List for details. (Sarah Godfrey)