September Culture Guide

Very few people consider September their favorite month of the year. With summer receding in the rearview mirror, and the holiday season only beginning to be referenced by the occasional early Halloween candy sale, September, it seems, is nothing but a liminal time. The weather is awkward, bringing out the grey hoodie on Monday, the shorts and tee on Tuesday, and maybe even the raincoat on Wednesday.

One saving grace of the month, however, is that GDS’s swiss cheese calendar provides ample time out of class. And, living in the District of Columbia, with its bounty of cultural offerings, there are both summer- and autumn-themed events, festivals, and exhibits to experience. Here are some events and happenings worth checking out.

No one doubts that Adams Morgan has for a long time set the standard in DC for what a vibrant neighborhood community can look like. A big piece of that reputation is Adams Morgan Day, which is on Sunday, September 9 this year. Besides a wide variety of food and beverage options, the music lineup is eclectic and very DC: expect go-go, West African griot, funk, Afro-Brazilian percussion, Colombian blues, and mariachi. If you are looking for a primer in the musical history of this city, this street festival is a decent place to begin.

The World Cup may be long over, but don’t blink, or else you will miss D.C. United’s two matches on their September schedule at the newly opened Audi Field in Southwest. On September 12, they take the state-of-the-art field against Minnesota, and on September 29, they match up against Montreal. Even if you are not a soccer aficionado, the atmosphere is probably going to be rowdy enough to make any game there worth visiting.

Beginning on September 9, there will be a special exhibit at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery called Shaping Clay in Ancient Iran. Expect to see animal-shaped vessels as well as jars and bowls decorated with animal figures. The ceramics that will be on display are actually the most common type of object to survive from ancient Iran, with some coming from as far back as 5200 BCE. The creative shapes and decorations show the attempts of ancient potters to aesthetically improve their tools of survival.

Although they are hard to get, tickets to Academy Award-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s conceptual virtual reality installation CARNE y ARENA are actually completely free. Check its website to find out more information, but the basic gist of this groundbreaking immersive film is this: you are lead into a cavernous room, barefoot, with a heavy backpack on. You put on the VR goggles, and you are transported into the desert at dusk: you are on the US-Mexico border, travelling with a group of migrants. The experience lasts only seven minutes, during which you witness a border patrol come across your group. I have never done anything like this before. I highly recommend it.

On September 29, Art All Night: Made in DC will be transforming public and private spaces around the city with visual and performing arts displays and exhibits, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. the next morning. The festival will be taking place in six Washington neighborhoods, including Tenleytown. So, if you are into theater, film, dance, crafts, fashion, photography, poetry, Washington, sculpture, music, or the simply the darkness of the night, this may be for you.

September can be more than waiting for October. Seize the month. Just make sure you have a tee shirt, shorts, a hoodie, and possibly a raincoat.

By William Goldberg’ 19