Megan Thee Stallion may 19
Megan Thee Stallion headlines Preakness LIVE Culinary, Art, & Music Festival; Credit: Marcelo Cantu

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When Robert Smith wrote “Thursday I don’t care about you,” he obviously wasn’t serious. We all know Thursday was the new Friday back when orange was the new black. Now it’s a free-for-all. Go out, stay in, get drunk, drink water, enjoy an espresso, listen, read, dance, sing, cry, clap whenever the hell you feel like it. But I still have a soft spot for Thursdays. So if you’re looking for something to do tonight, tomorrow, or early next week—check out the events we’re most jazzed about. See you out there, babes. —Sarah Marloff 

Thursday: Emma Straub in Conversation with Jennifer Close

Emma Straub’s novels may look like literary fiction, but don’t be fooled: They contain elements of fantasy, at least if you’re interested in real estate. Immerse yourself in The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, or All Adults Here and you’ve suddenly left your dingy apartment for a house in Mallorca, a chic Brooklyn bistro, or a quaint goat farm in the Hudson Valley. During the depths of the pandemic, listening to her vivid descriptions of these places on audiobook could feel particularly luxurious and transportive. Straub opts for transportation and fantasy of a different sort in her latest novel, This Time Tomorrow, in which the protagonist, Alice, awakens just before she turns 40 to realize time has rewound. Suddenly, it’s 1996 and Alice is 16 again, yet carries the knowledge she’s gained over the past two and a half decades. What would (or should) she do differently? Despite my curiosity about returning to high school with a greater sense of self-possession, I think I’ll live vicariously through Straub’s characters once again. Stop by her reading at Politics and Prose’s Union Market location for further discussion of time travel and captivating book suggestions—Straub co-owns Books Are Magic, an independent bookstore in Brooklyn. Emma Straub appears in conversation with Jennifer Close at 7 p.m. on May 19 at Politics and Prose at Union Market, 1270 5th St. NE. politics-prose.com. Free. —Caroline Jones

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Friday: Preakness LIVE Culinary, Art, & Music Festival 

The Preakness Stakes, the Triple Crown’s middle jewel, is going to burn brighter than ever this year with a brand new festival to kickstart the weekend in Baltimore. Dubbed the Preakness LIVE Culinary, Art, & Music Festival, the inaugural event promises to be worth the hour-ish drive out of the District. Kicking off on Black-Eyed Susan Day—named after the Maryland state flower that adorns the winning horse (as well as the official race cocktail)—the May 20 fest at Pimlico Race Course showcases the best of Baltimore and beyond. You can still don your summer hats and spectator brogues, but this year’s line-up is bucking tradition and appealing to a younger, cooler crowd. Multiple Grammy Award-winners Ms. Lauryn Hill and Megan Thee Stallion (a very apropos choice) headline the music festival that will also feature Baltimore-bred artists such as country superstar Brittney Spencer and Soulful Symphony with Darrin Atwater. Celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons will join some of Baltimore’s best culinary artists for showcases that will offer a taste of the region—beyond Old Bay. Baltimore-born multimedia artist Derrick Brown’s The Last Resort Art Garden, an exploration of Black leisure and joy, will be one of several major art pieces decorating the grounds and extolling the city’s vibrant visual art scene. On Saturday, May 21—the day of the Preakness—there will be more regional festivities from a Restaurant Row at the race course to the neighborhood festival Park Heights Renaissance. Preakness LIVE goes to show there’s a lot more to enjoy than just a day at Baltimore’s races. Preakness LIVE Culinary, Art, & Music Festival opens at 3 p.m. on May 20 at Pimlico Race Course, 5201 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore. preakness.com. $49–$175. Tickets for the race and Saturday’s Infield Fest, featuring Marshmello and the Chainsmokers, are sold separately. —Colleen Kennedy

Saturday: Indie | PENNED With Michelle Coles, Tricia Elam Walker, and Tiffany Warren

Black Was The Ink by Michelle Coles

MahoganyBooks, an online-first bookstore with the motto “Black books matter,” has a mission of connecting readers and authors. In keeping with their motto and mission, MahoganyBooks’ May 21 event, Indie | PENNED, brings together local writers Michelle Coles, Tricia Elam Walker, and Tiffany Warren, to “celebrate those from our communities whose stories move us to great lengths.” Coles is the debut author of Black Was The Ink, which follows Malcolm, a Black teenager, on a journey from D.C. to a family farm in Mississippi where he, quite literally, connects with the past. In fact, when Malcolm spends time in the farmhouse, he meets Reconstruction-era leaders like Robert Smalls and Hiram Revels. Appealing to a younger audience, Takoma-based Walker’s Dream Street focuses on a perfect neighborhood in a place that sort of resembles Boston. Kids play and dream and connections between generations thrive. Rounding out the books is Warren’s All The Things I Meant to Tell You, which promises to thrill as three women navigate big careers, trauma, and drama-filled searches for “Mr. Right.” Each book tackles different genres and Indie | PENNED provides the perfect opportunity to hear directly from three authors you should know. The event starts at 1 p.m. on May 21 at MahoganyBooks National Harbor, 121 American Way, Oxon Hill. blackbooksmatter.com. —Sarah Smith 

Tuesday: Adams Morgan Movie Nights Presents The Princess Bride

Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Free cookies, discounted brown bag meals from local restaurants, and an outdoor movie screening on the same night? Inconceivable! But don’t worry, it’s all true—Adams Morgan Movie Nights are back starting Tuesday, May 24, with The Princess Bride. Hosted yearly by the Adams Morgan Partnership and voted by City Paper readers as one of the best outdoor movie nights in the city, this annual event is a great way to enjoy a night out and take part in a long-running cultural tradition. All movies are screened at Marie Reed Soccer Field along 18th Street NW. This year’s theme is “the road less traveled,” which event producers have interpreted to mean films that follow heroes embarking on some kind of quest. With its unique mix of fantasy, adventure, and comedy, 1987’s The Princess Bride is the perfect movie to kick off the series. Before watching Westley, Vizzini, and Princess Buttercup embark on various adventures, moviegoers can order food from local restaurants like Amsterdam Falafelshop, Big Sky, and Johnny Pistolas, all of which are offering discounted brown bag meals that can be ordered in advance. For those who arrive early, Insomnia Cookies will be doling out free dessert. Adams Morgan Movie Nights continues weekly through June 21. The Princess Bride starts at sunset on May 24 at the Marie Reed School’s soccer fields, 2201 18th St. NW. admodc.org. Free. —Tristan Jung

Ongoing: Fragile Beauty

Cloudy with a Chance of Optimism, by Michèle Colburn

For the first time ever, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is presenting a juried exhibition of works from artists across the city. Inspired by artist Michael Iacovone’s description of his work “Ten Circles Relating,” on the fragile beauty of landscape, which can change before our eyes, the Fragile Beauty exhibition features many different works that tackle the theme of environmental justice. “The jury discussed ideas for what themes would be relevant and exciting and this one floated to the top,” Sarah Gordon, the commission’s curator, says. “I think it’s a theme that’s important for all ages, all wards of the District. It’s a really crucial topic at this moment and we found that many artists in the District are engaging with environmental justice.” After receiving numerous applications, the jury selected 50 works by 33 local artists that are now on display at CAH’s gallery in southeast. Although all the art encompasses the theme, it’s expressed through a number of different mediums, including video, sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, and more. “The range of media is really impressive,” says Gordon, noting “there is even a piece made out of onion skins and one made of recycled plastic newspaper bags.” Gordon hopes attendees will understand the range of the exhibition’s talented artists, and realize the connections between art-making and environmentalism. As part of the exhibit, CAH hosts a virtual discussion on film and flood resilience on June 2, and a climate pledge workshop on June 27. Fragile Beauty runs through July 1 at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Gallery, 200 I St. SE. dcarts.dc.gov. Free. —Hannah Docter-Loeb