Smithsonian Events, 2/2-6: Buddy Holly and Black History Month

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Monday, February 2: Nothing Special

There's nothing special planned for you today, so come on out and enjoy the collections at any of the museums. Just please, keep off the grass and don't feed the volunteers working the Information Desk.

Tuesday, February 3: Buddy Holly: The Day the Music Died

Buddy Holly was a rock n' roll pioneer whose life was tragically cut short in a 1959 plane crash that also took fellow trailblazers Ritchie Valens ("La Bamba", "Donna") and the Big Bopper ("Chantilly Lace"). Though he was only 22, he left behind a musical legacy that still draws admirers. Come out to the Natural History Museum to enjoy J.P. Mcermott's musical tribute to the man who gave us rockabilly standards like "That'll Be the Day," "Peggy Sue" and "Maybe Baby." So, if you only know Holly in passing by way of that wonderfully infectious Weezer song or Don McLean's loving homage, you owe it to yourself to check out his work. Tickets are required. Rates are: $30 Members; $40 General Admission. National Museum of Natural History, 6:45 PM.

*Note: Due to the high popularity of this event, there is currently a wait list for seats. Please call the Registration Office at 202-633-3030 to place your name on the wait list.

Wednesday, February 4: At the Elbows of My Elders: One Family's Journey Toward Civil Rights

Celebrate black history month by coming to hear author Gail Melissa Grant tell stories about her family's life in America—from working on the railroad to her father's work as a civil rights activist in St. Louis. Free. Smithsonian Castle. 6:30 PM

Thursday, February 5: A Portrait of Porgy

In my humble opinion, Porgy and Bess is the greatest love story set to music—when performed well, it has me scrambling for the Kleenex box (usually during "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" and "I Loves You Porgy"). The man who originated the role of Porgy—the misanthropic cripple redeemed through the love he shares with Bess, a prostitute—is Todd Duncan, a classically trained performer who taught music at Howard University here in DC. A Portrait of Porgy is a dramatic piece written by Jewell Robinson and features performances by Alvy Powell and Janice Chandler Eteme that explores Duncan's life as well as the story of how Porgy and Bess came to be. Free. National Portrait Gallery, 7 PM. Repeats February 6 and 7.

*Note: For the big Gershwin fans out there, check out the Library of Congress' permanent exhibition on George and Ira, which includes pianos, sheet music, correspondence and handwritten librettos—including pieces from Porgy and Bess.

Friday, Februay 6: Buh Rabbit and Friends

I grew up with the Br'er Rabbit stories. (And after all these years I still have my Br'er Rabbit read-along book and tape, based on the infamous 1946 film Song of the South. Though the movie definitely has some issues—and as a whole it's a middling film—it features some of the best animation I've seen from this studio. Also, seeing 12-year-old Bobby Driscoll getting gored by a bull is pretty freaking awesome for a Disney movie.) While that cannon of folk tales has plenty of detractors, I contend that Br'er Rabbit is one of the savviest characters in popular mythology this side of Odysseus. So come and listen to these timeless songs and stories of the Gullah people of the Georgia Sea Islands. Tickets are required. Rates are: $6 for adults; $5 for children (ages 2-16); $4 for Resident Associate Program Members. Discovery Theater, 10:15 AM and 11:30 AM. Repeats February 13, 20 and 27.

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