Arts Desk

ToDo ToDay: Cornel West and Tavis Smiley

Last year, the pundits/authors/black intellectuals/men about town Tavis Smiley and Cornel West took to the road for a “Poverty Tour” of the country. (Don’t be thrown by the seeming formality of Dr. West’s signature black three-piece suit—he calls his attire “cemetery clothes,” explaining, “If you love poor people you better be coffin-ready.”) At the time, they spent a good chunk of the trip criticizing President Barack Obama for ignoring the plight of the poor. Even if it was low-hanging fruit, talking about poverty is important even as politicians focus on the shrinking or invisible middle class. West and Smiley’s tour of urban and rural poverty eventually gave them enough fodder to write a book, The Rich and the Rest Of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. And the book is a sign that we’ll be seeing lots more of the pair this year as they promote it. West better dry-clean his summer suit. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley sign copies of their book at noon at Barnes & Noble Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Free. (202) 289-1724. (Shani Hilton)

Paint Fumes returns tonight to play alongside Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and Puerto Rico's Los Vigilantes. Here's what we wrote about the trashy North Carolinans last time: "Andrew W.K. may talk about partying, but someone was clearly sober when they polished up his slick pop-metal debut. Not so with Paint Fumes. The debauched southern punks want you to party till you puke—as evidenced by the vomit in band’s press photo—and there’s no tongue-in-cheek bro-rock to pollute the experience. Paint Fumes’ hamfisted garage assault is not frat-friendly in the slightest; it’s just loud, stupid, and fun. The band’s loose guitarwork and sloppy solos careen through three-chord punk like the best of ’em. There are a few ways to enjoy a show like this, but I recommend the following: Microwave a 7-Eleven burrito, pick up a Steel Reserve (or two), leave the refrigerator door open, and forget your medication. Don’t take your girlfriend. Just tell her you’ll be back late—really late. Deal with the consequences later." 9 p.m. at Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. $10. More information on Facebook. (Ryan Little)

On assignment for National Geographic, photographer Ed Kashi traveled to the southeastern coastal city of Marseille, France. He returned with reams of vibrant images depicting the old Mediterranean port city—which has one of the country's biggest populations of North African immigrants—as a genuine melting pot. Kashi shares his images tonight at National Geographic. "The Changing Face of Marseille" begins at 7:30 p.m. at 1600 M St. NW. $20 for nonmembers.

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