- - Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pick of the Pack

Comedy: ‘Please Don’t Beat Me Up’

News reports about bullying often leave out a crucial detail: There’s money in being someone’s childhood punching bag. Films (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid”) and books (“It Gets Better”) on the topic are box-office hits and best-sellers, and political features about bullying (involving, say, a presidential candidate) generate massive page views online. It’s no less a repugnant habit, in other words, but there could be a silver lining to surviving it and telling others how to do the same. Full-time scientist and part-time storyteller Adam Ruben is further evidence of this. Not only did he survive a Darwinistic childhood, but his riotous and heartfelt one-man show, “Please Don’t Beat Me Up: Stories and Artifacts from Adolescence,” is one of the top solo performances in recent memory. Go for the stories about peeing your pants; stay for the life lessons.

Sunday at District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW

Web: www.dcartscenter.org

Arts and Crafts: Creating a memory book of your family’s story

The increasing popularity of tracing one’s genealogy tracks nicely with the rise of the Internet. Today, finding out of you’re related to a long-dead Civil War general or a Wild West general store owner is as simple as entering your name into a genealogy site’s search engine. What then? How many of us have reams of fascinating historical documents filed away in manila folders awaiting, hanging on the family tree? The National Archives’ Patti Hann, an expert on archival research, can help you make your genealogy research into something presentable.

Saturday at the National Archives, Constitution Avenue NW between Seventh and Ninth streets.

Advance reservations are required.

Phone: 202/357-5333

Web: www.archives.gov/nae/news

Food: Safeway BBQ Battle

This weekend marks the Safeway BBQ Battle’s 20th anniversary. Incidentally, it’s also the hottest June D.C. has seen in years. So it’s fair to ask — Is it too hot to spend your weekend at a block party eating barbecue? The answer, fellow foodies, is no. Weekend temperatures likely won’t break 90 degrees, and they certainly won’t keep some of the nation’s best grill masters from displaying their talents downtown. There’s a contest for every type of meat this year, too, from lamb to chicken and spare ribs to baby backs. The event also features cooking demonstrations, free samples, BBQ gear for sale and events for children. So lather on the sunscreen, buy some batteries for your portable fan and starve yourself the night before.

Saturday and Sunday at Pennsylvania Avenue NW between Ninth and 14th streets.

Phone: 202/828-3099

Web: www.bbqdc.com

Festival: D.C. Fashion Walk

This weekend, forget D.C.’s reputation as “a Hollywood for ugly people,” and get your catwalk on at Capital Couture. DJ Adrian Loving will be spinning tunes while models of all shapes, sizes and ages strut around in threads from designers studying at the D.C. Fashion Institute, as well as local boutiques Maven Designs, Andrew Nowell, My Moody Booty, Tashia Senn and Evelyn Brooks Designs. You don’t need to be a stick figure, either: Cain & Carlyle and others will have plenty of plus-size fashions.

Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 760 N St. NW

Web: www.art202.com

Author talk: David Maraniss

If you think enough books have been written about President Obama — by his detractors, his fans and the man himself — to justify publishers never printing another biographical word about him again, you haven’t read David Maraniss’ “Barack Obama: The Story.” Mr. Maraniss, an investigative journalist, shows us a few sides of the president we honestly haven’t seen before. Of particular interest are Mr. Obama’s teenage drug use, the details of which present a stark contrast with his current role as the most aggressive anti-drug warrior since Richard M. Nixon, and also his own perception of himself. According to Mr. Maraniss, the 44th president told more than a few whoppers in his best-selling autobiographies. This may not be the political book of the season, but it nevertheless is lively reading and rigorously reported.Wednesday at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW

Phone: 202/364-1919

Web: www.politics-prose.com

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