- - Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nothing grates quite like a lecture from a “locavore,” a scold who mixes food and politics by refusing to buy any product that has traveled more than 100 miles from stable to table, and lecturing those who don’t do likewise. While the “buy local” philosophy often makes for pitiful politics, the locavore crowd is right about one thing: Food that has traveled for thousands of miles and grown out of season generally isn’t tasty. So if you believe in letting your palate guide your spending, there is something to be said for urban farming. Yes, hipsters do it. Yes, it can be expensive. But it also can be, well, delicious and convenient. But perhaps the prospect of immediate access to tasty greens and the promise of spiritual renewal via sifting through topsoil hasn’t sold you. Maybe you need to taste an urban garden for yourself. Here is your chance. The District’s urban gardens are opening their doors for self-guided tours during Eat Local First week. Check in at Old City Green, and you will get a map of the area’s urban gardens. Afterward, there will be a party with booze — which does not discriminate on the basis of a foodie’s politics. Tuesday at Old City Green,902 N St. NW. Web: www.eatlocalfirstdc.com

Museum Mars Day

Mars, the planet, is not the selling point it once was. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ turn-of-the-century tales about John Carter and the red planet Barsoom satiated the appetites of young Americans hungry for stories about space. Today, movies about space — such as “John Carter,” “Prometheus,” “Mars Needs Moms” and “Apollo 18” — are commercial flops. Perhaps it’s the economy — space travel feels downright irresponsible at a time of record deficits. Or maybe the lack of interest in our planetary cousins is because no fantasies about alien technology can compete with what is available at the Apple Store. Regardless of the root of our indifference, the Smithsonian is not giving up its quest for our attention. At Mars Day, visitors young and old can talk with people whose jobs are to plot human missions to the Red Planet and monitor the travel of Curiosity, the rover being sent to replace Spirit and Opportunity (may they rest in pieces). Friday at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, 600 Independence Ave. SW. Phone: 202/633-1000. Web: http://airandspace.si.edu

Film ‘The Rise and Fall of the Clash’

Several years ago, New York magazine noted the rise of the “Grup.” The label is a contraction of “grown-up” and applies to adults who listen to music popularized by people 10 years (or older) their junior. An equally fascinating phenomenon is young people listening to old-people music. See: people born in the mid-1990s who listen to music made in the late ‘70s. The reverse-grup may have retarded popular culture, but it also has presented all kinds of opportunities for intergenerational bonding. A teenager may not want to his dad going with him to a Lupe Fiasco concert, but what Dad would mind taking his teenager to see a documentary about the Clash? “The Rise and Fall of the Clash” is not the best music documentary ever made, but the opportunity it presents old Gen Xers (born after 1964, but before 1981) to connect with their fashionably rebellious teenagers is pretty much unparalleled in pop-culture history. Saturday at St. Stephens Church, 1525 Newton St. NW. Phone: 202/232-0900. Web: www.saintstephensdc.org

Concert Michael Jackson ‘Immortal’

Shortly before he died in 2009, Michael Jackson was preparing to kick off a string of 50 concerts in London. The dates were spread out over the course of a year, and every last one of them was sold out. The rest is history: A few weeks before “This Is It” was to start, Jackson overdosed and died — some say the drugs he was using were steadying his nerves about the show. Three years later, Cirque du Soleil has launched its own massive Michael Jackson tour, an homage titled “The Immortal World Tour.” The show features the usual Cirque stunts, dancing and physically daunting feats, all performed to Jackson’s music with the King of Pop’s likeness broadcast on a giant screen. Through Sunday at the Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. Phone: 202/628-3200. Website: http://verizoncenter.com

Book talk David Lampo at Cato Institute

Lovers of free markets and individual liberty like to say the GOP is a big tent. But to suggest that conservatism is more about building coalitions than adhering to first principles is to erase what makes being a Republican different from being anything else. First principles, with consistent adherence, are what keep Americans and their markets free. Theoretically, this means the Republican platform has to undergo an intellectually rigorous test for change. In “A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights,” Cato Institute’s David Lampo makes the case that recognizing gay rights is consistent with the ideas of individual liberty and small government, and that grass-roots Republicans are in favor of civil unions for same-sex partners, even if their leaders are not. Mr. Lampo, along with Michael Barone, speak Wednesday at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Phone: 202/842-0200. Web: www.cato.org