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Virtually tour the United States Botanic Garden
Plants are quite remarkable. They change, adapt, and survive. Clearly, there’s a lot humans can learn from their green surroundings. The folks at the United States Botanic Garden are choosing to take a leaf out of that book and move their garden experience to the virtual world. To start the online USBG experience, consider lighting your favorite floral candle in the spirit of the garden’s lush smells. Then, begin the 360-degree virtual tour of the gardens via Google Street View. You can start in the outdoor rose gardens, Bartholdi Park, or inside the conservatory. Regardless of where you begin the tour, you’ll get a chance to view plants used for medicine, food, clothing, and so much more. Once you “walk” around, there are plenty of opportunities to dive deeper. An in-depth audio tour will take you through the history of the USBG and its outdoor gardens. You’ll learn more about plants that smell like rotten meat, orchid hybrids, and the USBG’s oldest plants—some date all the way back to the United States Exploring Expedition of 1838. Lastly, if you want even more info on the garden, you can conclude your virtual tour with a history-focused photo gallery and watch specific videos about various orchid species and plant morphology. Whether you have a green thumb or kill every houseplant you buy, there’s something here for everyone. Virtual tours of the United States Botanic Garden are available at usbg.gov. Free. —Sarah Smith
When many rock fans heard that D.C. singer and guitarist Ian MacKaye was playing in a new band with bassist Joe Lally, his Fugazi bandmate from 1987 to 2003, they expressed hope that they, along with drummer Amy Farina, would sound like that powerful post-punk unit. Others looked back even further and dreamed of the angry-voiced MacKaye in hardcore punk band Minor Threat. My initial impulse was the opposite—I wanted to hear something brand new from this group; different musical influences and singing styles. Coriky’s self-titled debut album, named after a dice game, is not that, but it has grown on me—it’s a comforting amalgamation of the cathartic guitar buzz, sing-songy and shouted vocals, and dub reggae bass of Fugazi with the more relaxed indie-folk of MacKaye and Farina’s 2001-formed duo The Evens. The Ian, Amy, and Joe trio began playing together in 2015 and played their first live gig in 2018. The 2020 album starts off promisingly with the insistent “Clean Kill,” the abstract lyrical tale, apparently, of a drone operator for the military who never has enough “soap and water” to wash away the thoughts of what her button-pushing is doing. The poppy tunefulness of the chorus contrasts cleverly with MacKaye’s noisy chords and the anxiety of the lyrics. “Have a Cup of Tea” succeeds through juxtaposition as well. Here, MacKaye’s spoken and barked verses alternate with the friendlier chorus sung by MacKaye and Farina overtop Farina’s steady drum pulse & Lally’s minimalist bass rhythms. Other cuts, like “Say Yes,” with Farina’s strong alto vocal melody and MacKaye’s brief guitar solo, are strongly reminiscent of their past, but mostly work due to the musicians’ skill and passion, even if they’re not carving out completely new turf. The album is available on Dischord Records, Bandcamp, and streaming services. Free–$15. —Steve Kiviat