- - Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pick of the Pack

Festival: Buzz Bissinger at the Gaithersburg Book Fest

Buzz Bissinger’s reporting has helped shape popular culture. From profiling the Texas high school football team that inspired the TV show “Friday Night Lights” to laying bare the fantastic deceptions committed by serial fabulist Stephen Glass (which formed the basis for “Shattered Glass”), Mr. Bissinger’s stories somehow always seem to be relevant beyond their original medium. The same holds true for his public pronouncements. Mr. Bissinger’s rant against Gawker’s sports journalism in 2008 (“I think that blogs are dedicated to cruelty; they’re dedicated to journalistic dishonesty.”) is referenced as a high-water mark of old media backlash. His public meltdowns on Twitter a few years later (during which he used words we can’t print in a family newspaper) earned him a New York Times profile. Mr. Bissinger’s latest work, a memoir about raising his son, combines the best of his reporting and personal reflection. He’ll be speaking about it, likely without holding anything back, at this year’s book festival. Saturday at 31 S. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, Md.

Phone: 301/258-6350

Web: gaithersburgbookfestival.org

Exhibit: ‘Big Cats: Vanishing Icons’

The eight largest feline species on the planet also happen to be some of the rarest: Lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, snow leopards, clouded leopards and mountain lions all are endangered, and some of them are almost guaranteed to go extinct. While the argument for preserving these species at any cost has its flaws (extinction-as-tragedy is a psychological construction), the innovations being made in the field of big-cat conservation are quite interesting. In places where big cats are endangered because they pose a threat to the livelihoods of human ranchers, conservationists have invested in better fencing technology for livestock. That sort of development, which acknowledges the importance of placing human needs over those of critters, is likely the only way forward. Learn more about it at the National Geographic Society’s big-cat exhibit.

Through Sunday at the National Geographic Society, 1145 17th St. NW

Phone: 202/857-7588

Web: www.nationalgeographic.com

Tour: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, located 90 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is the only one of his architectural masterpieces that hasn’t been updated, dismantled or adulterated since its creation. Developed for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, the structure, which seamlessly blends a waterfall, a home and the surrounding forest, is maintained by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. It’s also a long hike from D.C., a city where many residents commute by public transit or bicycle. Luckily, the Smithsonian Associates program is providing transportation for this particular tour. The bus picks up visitors in D.C., takes them to Pennsylvania, tours them around the house, and brings them back that night.

Tour departs Saturday from the Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C St. SW

Phone: 202/633-3030

Web: residentassociates.org

Theater: ‘The Whipping Man’

Matthew Lopez’s “The Whipping Man” puts a twist on Passover, the Jewish holiday during which descendants of Egyptian slaves celebrate their freedom from Pharaoh. Instead of focusing just on the emancipation of the Israelites, “The Whipping Man,” set in 1865 at the end of the American Civil War, also shines the light on the emancipation of black slaves who had been owned by Southern Jews. Caleb DeLeon, a Jew fighting for the Confederacy, returns to his home in Richmond to find it destroyed, his family gone and two freed slaves living on the property. The two former slaves, Simon and John, care for their injured former master while waiting for his family — and social stability — to return.

Through Sunday at Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW

Phone: 202/518-9400

Web: washingtondcjcc.org

Concert: Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum

What Darius Rucker was to the ‘90s, back when he was the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, country pop trio Lady Antebellum one day will be to the 2000s: A band that is as widely reviled as it is wildly successful. Alas, this is the fate of most major pop acts — to be either loved or hated. Depending on your tastes, seeing these two acts perform together will be either a dream come true or a waking nightmare.

May 20 at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md.

Phone: 410/ 715-5550

Web: www.merriweathermusic.com

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