DCentric Picks: Evolution of the Go-Go Beat

Looking for an event that relates to race or class in D.C.? DCentric will be regularly posting event listings we believe will be of interest to our readers.  If you have an event you think we should feature, email

Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Chuck Brown is considered the “godfather of go-go,” helping to create D.C.’s genre of music.

What: “Evolution of the Go-Go Beat”

When: 1 p.m., Saturday.

Where: Anacostia Community Museum (1901 Fort Place, SE).

Cost: Free.

Why you should go: Go-go is the music of D.C., even though shows are increasingly being pushed to the suburbs. Get a history lesson on how the genre began and where it’s headed. Musicians Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliot and Sweet Cherie are among the speakers, and Faycez U Know will perform.

Other events to consider: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival wraps up Monday. The free event at the National Mall focuses on Colombia, rhythm and blues and the Peace Corps. Also, La Clínica del Pueblo is hosting a screening of “The Other City,” a documentary on racial and class disparities among D.C.’s HIV/AIDS patients. Tickets cost $15 and the event takes place 6:30 p.m., Tuesday at GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th Street, NW).

Why Black Men are Wearing Prison Jumpsuits in Chinatown

Courtesy of Aaron Ginoza

An employee of the National Museum of Crime & Punishment hands out coupons to pedestrians in Chinatown.

Pedestrians in Chinatown are inundated with advertising and gimmicks, from free burritos to digital billboards. And joining the marketing blitz on a recent sweltering Saturday afternoon was a group of young black men handing out coupons — wearing orange prison jumpsuits.

They were employees of the National Museum of Crime & Punishment. Some passersby politely took the coupons; most ignored or avoided them. But given the stereotypes associated with black men and crime, others took offense at the sight of black men being hired to wear the jumpsuits.

“It’s got kind of a rough edge to it,” said Wes Brown of D.C., who first saw the men last year. He said they’re dressed “like criminals” and “people see them and probably think that.”

“It’s kind of embarrassing,” Brown, who is black, said.

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DCentric Picks — Race: Are We So Different?

This week, we recommend attending the Saturday opening of “Race: Are We So Different?” at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.

We got a sneak peak of the exhibition this week and took some photos, which you can see below. A long room in the museum is devoted to exploring the scientific, historical and and societal assumptions and theories around race. The exhibition aims to educate and challenge assumptions around race, but also solicits attendees to contribute their thoughts on their own experiences. If you’re looking for a good way to start an in-depth discussion about race, you can find it here.

The nationally touring exhibition, part of an American Anthropological Association project, is free to view and will be on display until Jan. 2, 2012. A number of talks and other events are scheduled throughout its time at the museum, so check the calendar for more information.

This Valentine’s Day, Mock Domestic Violence at a Museum! (Updated)

HollabackDC, a grassroots organization that is “invested in making the public spaces of the DC metro area safe for women and LGBTQ individuals” just tweeted something interesting:

Domestic violence ain't a crime of passion; it's a crime power and control. Let a DC museum know that here:
Holla Back DC!

That link takes you to a petition calling out a certain Penn Quarter museum for a hurtful holiday offering, which starts tomorrow:

The National Crime and Punishment Museum mocks the seriousness of intimate partner violence by romanticising such homicides as crimes of “passion.” The Valentine’s weekend exhibit “Crimes of Passion” makes light of a crime that affects thousands of Americans of all races, socioeconomic classes, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities.

Here’s how the Museum sells it:

…this Valentine’s Day, those darker romantics among us have a new way to show their love for their significant other, courtesy of the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Back by popular demand, couples are invited this Valentine’s Day weekend to visit the museum and experience “Crimes of Passion.”

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Start your weekend off with free fun.

Laura Padgett

National Portrait Gallery

One of the reasons why I feel lucky to live in D.C. is because there are so many neat things going on, many of which cost nothing to attend; here’s an example of a free event, for tonight.

Skip rush hour, and join us for “Portraits After 5″ at the National Portrait Gallery. This happy hour event combines art and music with a contemporary twist.

The NPG will have a photobooth, a DJ, an artist “projecting” images and of course, an exhibit to explore– this time it’s “Americans Now“, and it focuses on celebrity and fame. Peep images of LL Cool J, Toni Morrison, Le Bron, Martha Stewart and more, while you debate whether they’ll still be famous in a century. If nothing else, it will help you avoid traffic. 8th and F Streets NW, from 5-8 pm.

Phillips Collection Reopens, with FREE Admission

Kevin H.

Inside the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

Yesterday, there was a fire at the Phillips Collection, a popular museum in Dupont Circle which is currently being renovated (that’s how the blaze got started, on the roof). The good news is no one and nothing were harmed by the fire. Better news? The museum reopens tomorrow and admission fees will be waived for the remainder of the month.

The fire, which broke out on the morning of September 2, was contained and extinguished swiftly. No one was injured. All artwork is safe and secure. Museum conservators have evaluated the artwork and determined conclusively that nothing has incurred significant damage. The building condition is under ongoing evaluation while cleanup and repair are underway.

Most museum phone lines continue to be out of service. For updated information, visit the Phillips’s Web site