Poster for the 2020 National Book Festival

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National Book Festival

There might have been a less destabilizing way for the National Book Festival to commemorate “American Ingenuity”—the theme of the 20th annual literary event—than to organize an unprecedented, completely virtual version of the celebration. But it’s 2020, and re-imagining fundamentals is the name of the game. The global pandemic might have forced the hand of the Library of Congress, but fear not, bookworms: You may miss that in-line-for-a-book-signing adrenaline rush, but benefits abound. You can build your schedule around dozens of live Q&As and more than 120 pre-recorded presentations. There’s no need to make the decision between Colson Whitehead and Kate DiCamillo, because you can view all the content whenever you want. Whether you choose to chat with LOC staff in designated digital spaces or buy a pre-signed book through Politics and Prose, the festival’s bibliophilic heart endures. The online convention kicks off on Sept. 25 with a day fêting children’s and teen literature and will close with a PBS broadcast two days later. The festival content is available at 9 a.m. on Sept. 25. Registration is available at Free. —Amy Guay 

Intro to DJing

There’s an art to DJing. It requires much more knowledge, skill, tech, and subtlety than the average high school sweetheart’s mixtape or fraternity’s party playlist. DJs read rooms, create vibes, and control moods. But with great power comes great responsibility: There are choices to be made. DJs must set beats to determine how fast people dance, when they go low, and when they raise their arms up high. And like so many other arts, the basics of DJing actually can be taught. This introductory virtual class will cover the core techniques, principles, and setups to guide your exploration of the vast world behind the decks. The class is hosted by Rhizome DC, the nonprofit community arts space in Takoma, and will be led by Natalia Maurer from Haus of Jung. As a self-taught DJ, Maurer is familiar with the obstacles many beginners face, which include establishing budgets, seamlessly transitioning between songs, and finding a place within the male-dominated industry. In addition to debunking common myths, Maurer (who is also an artist and leatherworker) will devote time to helping attendees develop their own personal styles. So if you’ve been keeping your perfect DJ name hidden in your back pocket “just in case,” now is the time to bring it out and start the party. The lesson will begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 27. Registration is available at $25. —Emma Francois