✔ Pick of the Pack
Miscellany: Pet Adoption Party
Cats are better than dogs in a number of categories. They practice portion control. They don't require your assistance to use the bathroom. They know when it's time to play, and when it's time to let you work. You can leave them unattended for days at a time. They can leave you unattended for days at a time. A cat will not wake you in the middle of the night by barking insanely when the air conditioner turns on (or off). And this weekend at the Washington Animal Rescue League, cats will best dogs in still another way: They will cost $2. Yes, that's right. This weekend only you can buy a whole cat, spayed or neutered, loaded to the gills with the necessary vaccinations, for less than the cost of a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Granted, you soon will spend a king's ransom on cat food and kitty litter and feathered toys, but by then, you'll be in love with your estranged roommate.
Feb. 12 at the Washington Animal Rescue League, 71 Oglethorpe St. NW
Exhibit opening: New work by Ben Claassen III
Ben Claassen III is a saint. When alternative weeklies across the country started dropping their comic strips one by one, Mr. Claassen did something unbelievably nice: He allowed papers that wanted to run his strip, but couldn't spare the peanuts, to run "Dirtfarm" free of charge. For this, surely beatification (and perhaps destitution) awaits him. That's not to say Mr. Claassen doesn't sell his work, because he totally does. Next week he'll unveil a slate of original pieces at the Galaxy Hut's Last Minute Valentine party. To really set the thing off, local acts Torches and Third Channel will play, and Baltimore comics (Mr. Claassen lives in Charm City) Mickey Free and Ellie Beziat will perform. If you look closely at Mr. Claassen's pieces, you may notice these little things called price tags. That means he's not giving it away.
Feb. 13 at Galaxy Hut, 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.
Exhibit: '30 Americans'
One of the more haunting pieces in the Corcoran's "30 Americans" exhibit, a retrospective containing works from the best black artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, is "Basketball and Chain" by Hank Willis Thomas. The digitally altered photo features two black legs in basketball shorts and sneakers straining toward the heavens, but held back by a thick, rusty chain that's moored to a basketball. At 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide, the photo is large enough to contain an incredible action shot, the kind that runs in Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine every week. But Mr. Thomas' photo isn't about the glory of the game. It's about basketball as a paradoxical mode for economic mobility: It can make young black men wealthy and famous in exchange for nightly performances in the coliseum. And when their time in the spotlight is over, oftentimes they're left with bad knees and mercurial employment prospects.
Through Feb. 12 at the Corcoran, 500 17th St. NW
Theater: Locally Grown
According to Theater J's website, this year's "Locally Grown" theater festival is "inspired in part by the 'locovore' and Community Supported Agriculture movements which focus on cultivating, appreciating and utilizing local resources for local consumption." No, they won't be serving rooftop kale or row-house rutabaga, just plays from local theater acts. The top pick? Jon Spelman's "The Prostate Dialogues," which borrows its name from Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues." Mr. Spelman's piece is about his experience with prostate cancer (including a "radical prostatectomy," or the full removal of the prostate gland) and the experiences of other men in the D.C. area.
Through Feb. 19 at Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW
Theater: Play in a Day
In the tradition of National Novel Writing Month, in which aspiring fictionistas attempt to write an entire novel in a month, and the 24-hour film festival, in which directors put together movies in a 24-hour window, Bethesda's Play in a Day asks local theater companies to condense into one night a process that can take from months to years. Not only will playwrights from six theater companies have to write plays, they'll also have to work with their companies to rehearse them in time for a performance the following night. This year's theater companies include Adventure Theatre, Flying V, Imagination Stage, Keegan Theatre, Olney Theatre Center and Round House Theatre.
Feb. 11 at Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave., Bethesda, Md.