Events November 2-4: Political Machines, Moon Rocks and Substantial Music

This weekend, survey the technologies of campaigns past, learn about the quirky history of moon rocks and catch a show by hip-hop artist Substantial

Local hip-hop artist Substantial will perform at the American Art Museum.
Local hip-hop artist Substantial will perform at the American Art Museum. Photo by Eddie B. Tombs IV

Friday, November 2: Political Machines Symposium: Advertising

If you have email, Twitter, Facebook, a television, radio, telegram service or neighbors at the fence, you might have heard that there’s an election going on. And if you have all of the above, you might be pretty sick of it. In an election cycle where candidates are harvesting a wealth of data on potential voters, campaigns are edging ever closer to our daily lives. But just how close? As part of a two-day symposium beginning Friday morning, David Schwartz, chief curator at the Museum of the Moving Image, will walk us through the illustrious history of political ads into today’s modern YouTube era. Pulling from his online exhibition, The Living Room Candidate, Schwartz will discuss the changing role of technology in election coverage and provide some much needed perspective. Free. 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. American History Museum.

Saturday, November 3: Smithsonian’s Stars Lecture Series: Moon Rocks and How They Became Famous, Farcical and Instruments of Foreign Relations

Imbued with mystical, magical and sometimes humorous qualities, moon rocks have captured the imagination of every kid who looks up at the night sky. It turns out, many a researcher has been similarly possessed by the power of moon rocks. Ever since Apollo astronauts began collecting the space specimens, the rocks have been major a must-see artifact and have even served as gifts for foreign heads of state. Teasel Muir-Harmony, Guggenheim Fellow at the museum, will talk about the many adventures of moon rocks and how the American public viewed the early days of space exploration. Free, but tickets required. 5:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Air and Space Museum.

Sunday, November 4: Luce Unplugged with Substantial

From Maryland’s Prince George’s County, hip-hop artist Substantial seems to have a soft spot for art, or at least the title of his most recent album, Home Is Where The Art Is, does. The new album features plaintive and sweet samples beneath commanding verse. His versatility allows him to collaborate with all sorts of artists including the late Japanese producer and DJ, Nujabes. Part of an acoustic concert series, his performance will follow an art talk at the American Art Museum. Free. 3 p.m. American Art Museum.

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