Get off the Couch!: Tryptophan Edition
Family and friends are coming to town. Thousands are migrating back to their hometowns. The Washington region could be the ideal autumn playground-- if you get off the couch and go exploring. We get inspiration for things to do in the D.C. region this Thanksgiving weekend.
Sommer Mathis' Thanksgiving Weekend Suggestions
- National Gallery
One of my favorite parts about being in D.C. over the holidays is that the city really empties out, so you can take advantage of the museums on the National Mall without being squeezed in with the usually large tourist crowd. The National Gallery of Art has several excellent exhibitions running now, one of the best of which is the selected works from The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff collection. If you go on Sun., Nov. 29 you can also stick around for the third concert in the American Music Festival series, which is associated with the Meyerhoff collection show, and features the National Gallery of Art Orchestra performing work by American composers of the same era.
- Terra Cotta Warriors
The recently opened "Terra Cotta Warriors" show at the National Geographic Museum is being billed as the sort-of must-see historical exhibit of the year right now. The show is made up of these life-size clay figures that were buried alongside China's first emperor, Qin Shihuangdi to accompany him into the afterlife, and they're stunning. The exhibition also includes other artifacts recovered from the emperor's tomb, weapons, armor, and coins. Regular tickets cost $12 and must be reserved in advance for 30-minute access to the exhibit.
- Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Movies
Thanksgiving weekend is typically when a lot of the big holiday movies come out, so there's plenty to choose from at the regular box office, but there are a couple of more oddball film screenings happening this weekend you might want to consider, especially if you're in need of a break from the Thanksgiving spirit. First up is the Palace of Wonders' Quentin Tarantino Thanksgiving, which is, as you might imagine, aimed at people who don't want to spend the entire holiday thinking about family and togetherness. This year they'll be showing the Grindhouse Double Feature that Tarantino made with director Robert Rodriguez. The films start at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday,Thanksgiving Day, and the bar will also be offering specials on PBR and wild turkey shots all night.
Another film showing this weekend is "The Room," which is one of these bizarre cult films that have become inexplicably popular over the years not because it's good, but because it's actually one of the worst films ever made. When it first debuted in Los Angeles in the early '00s, it achieved a legendary status for being mind-blowingly terrible, that serious film geeks started lining up to see it, almost like a case study in what not to do. You should expect a lot of audience interaction when you go see this - people will definitely be yelling at the screen, cracking jokes, maybe even performing skits to go along with painful dialog and wooden acting. The Room is screening at the Landmark E Street cinemas at midnight on both Friday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 28 this weekend, as well as next weekend.
When You Need a Drink
Whether it's the stress of family coming together or the desire to catch up with old friends who might be in town just for the holiday, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest bar nights of the year, especially since no one has to work the next day. If you're looking for a solid, casual bar that also offers high quality cocktails, beers and wines, the new bar from brothers Tom and Derek Brown, The Passenger, would be a good choice. You can get a nice glass of wine for $7 or $8, you can get an interesting beer on draft or even a fancy cocktail, but you can also get cheap beer, even cans of things like Steel Reserve or Butternuts Porkslap Ale. They're closed Thanksgiving Day, but the rest of the weekend The Passenger will be open starting at 5 p.m. 1021 7th St. NW.
- They Might Be Giants
The kings of their own brand of experimental new wave alternative pop music, They Might Be Giants are at the 9:30 Club on Sat., Nov. 29 for two shows, the first of which is a family-friendly affair that will feature only their songs that are kid appropriate, which frankly is a lot of their music (songs like "Dr. Worm," "Particle Man," "Istanbul Not Constantinople," etc.). I always love it when these big rock venues like the 9:30 Club carve out some space for parents to be able to introduce their kids to the concert experience, so it's great to see They Might Be Giants taking advantage. Unfortunately the daytime family show, which is at 3 p.m., is sold-out, but make sure to check Craigslist or just stop by the venue about 30 minutes before the show starts.