Arts Desk

Celebrate MLK Day About A Million Ways


Thirty-eight percent of workers in D.C. are government employees–which means there are a whole lot of people who are going to have spare time on their hands this Monday, which is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. If you're among these lucky many, and you're looking for ways to celebrate King, you've got plenty of options.

  • King’s legacy of nonviolence and tolerance has made him a classroom favorite for decades, so its only natural for students to pay homage. In collaboration with the DC Jazz Festival, students from John Phillips Sousa Middle School and the Teen Arts Performers of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington will perform in concert, "In Celebration of MLK: Lift Every Voice and Sing." The performance includes choral and dance performances and recitations of excerpts of King’s speeches. The event takes place Monday at 1 p.m. at the John Phillip Sousa Middle School, 3650 Ely Pl. SE.
  • Singing legend Patti LaBelle and the Let Freedom Ring Choir will perform a musical celebration of King, followed by the awarding of the ninth annual John Thompson Legacy of a Dream Award to Civil Rights leader Joseph Lowery. Festivities take place Monday at 6 p.m. at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. Tickets are free, but those interested need to line up early: They'll be passed out, two per person, at the Kennedy Center's Hall of Nations starting at 4 p.m. Monday.
  • Head out to Montgomery County for another MLK musical tribute–this one features Men of Valor, 2010 winners of the How Sweet the Sound competition; gospel jazz saxophonist Brian Lenair; and jazz keyboardist Marcus Johnson. The concert's Monday at 4 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Ln., North Bethesda. Advance tickets for this show are already sold out, but those willing to try their luck at getting in can hop in the stand-by line starting at 3 p.m. Monday outside the Music Center.Advanced tickets become null and void at 3:45, at which time folks in the stand-by line will be allowed to grab an available seat.
  • Frederick Douglass’ last home couldn't be a more fitting place for the National Park Service’s MLK Film Festival. The festival features screenings of A&E’s Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Man, The Dream and episodes of the series America’s Civil Rights Years, Eyes on the Prize. The three-day festival takes place 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. tomorrow through Monday at the visitor's center at the Douglass site, 1411 W St. SE.
  • One of our City Lights picks this week is for Monday's screening of King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis. Directors Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz completed the three-hour documentary–which features narration and commentary from Hollywood luminaries like Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman, and Charlton Heston–just two years after King’s assassination; the film was screened in 600 theaters across the U.S. for one night in 1970. Catch it Monday for free at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring.
  • The National Cathedral's annual MLK event, "King Across the Ages," features a variety of performers including the African Heritage Dancers & Drummers, the Children’s Chorus of Washington, the Urban Nation H.I.P. H.O.P. Choir, and more. The event is set for Monday at 2 p.m. at the cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Visitors are also welcome to participate in a number of community service projects that will take place at the cathedral in the morning, before the festivities.
  • In addition to the bevy of concerts and film screenings, MLK Day has inspired a sale at Smash Records, the independent record store in Adams Morgan. Get 10 percent off your purchases on Monday. Let freedom ring.
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