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If President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign made him a star, he had a lot of help from artist Shepard Fairey and the typeface Gotham. Would-be presidents’ branding can be just as important to voters as proposed policies. Just look to Presidential Campaign Posters: Two Hundred Years of Election Art, which spotlights everything from posters to political cartoons to terrifying masks meant to somehow compel people to vote for Jimmy Carter. Beginning with Andrew Jackson vs. John Quincy Adams in 1828, and ending with Fairey’s iconic HOPE poster, the book also examines history’s political losers, highlighting many third-party candidates whose turns at the ballot box were notorious if unsuccessful. The compendium’s also rife with juicy historical minutiae: Teddy’s daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth said Calvin Coolidge looked like he’d been “weaned on a pickle”; 1872 candidate Horace Greeley had a neckbeard so voluminous it was likely sentient. (And it now has a Tumblr!) Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find another book about presidential campaign posters that quotes Biz Markie. (He gives failed Democratic hopeful Shirley Chisholm a shoutout in his 1988 song “Nobody Beats the Biz.”) But best of all?Presidential Campaign Posters’ pages are large, full-color, and perforated, making it a snap to frame your favorite poster of William Howard Taft as Julius Pringles. Library of Congress editors and curators discuss and sign the book at noon at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free.loc.gov. (202) 707-5221. (Brooke Hatfield)
New York Times columnist Gail Collins hangs some heavy crimes on the Lonestar State in her book As Texas Goes…and maybe sells it short. Then again, in her column Collins can’t mention Mitt Romney’s name without mentioning the time he strapped a dog cage to the roof of his car, so her appearance should at least be funny. Sorry, Texas. At 6 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. (202) 408-3100. $12-$25.95.
“Ethereal Encounters” is one of the Source Festival’s programs of 10-minute plays—-and from the look of it, this is the spookiest one. At 8 p.m. at Source, 1835 14th St. NW. $20.
Proof that bourbon is not an old man’s drink: The Bourbon Women Association (yes, it exists) is hosting a bourbon tasting tonight at Jack Rose Saloon. Bar master Rachel Sergi will be mixing cocktails, followed by a formal bourbon tasting. There will also be tastes of bourbon-inspired appetizers. The $50 cost also includes one-year membership to the group. Event goes from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (or as long as you can hold you liquor). Jack Rose Saloon, 2007 18th St. NW; 202-588-7388. (Jessica Sidman)
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