More than a million people, from average Joes to Jay-Z, poured into Washington four years ago to witness the historic inauguration of Barack Obama. They occupied nearly every hotel room, snapped up every ball ticket and filled the Mall. The weekend provided some unforgettable milestones and a few regrettable logjams.
President Obama’s second inauguration on Monday will be a markedly scaled-down affair, which means it’s shaping up to be a great weekend for the inauguration-goer.
Whether you’re riding in from Shady Grove or you’ve flown in from a far-off city to see Obama take the oath of office and Beyonce hit the high notes of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” there are plenty of ways to soak up the pomp and circumstance — and this time, there will be a lot more room in which to do so. If you don’t have a gown or a plan, don’t worry.
Let this be your low-stress guide; list of 10 events you can hit for $20 or less.
Throughout the weekend
Chuck Close’s tapestries
of President Obama
The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled two new jacquard tapestry portraits of the president created by renowned artist Chuck Close. After a more than hour-long photo shoot with the president last summer, Close used the resulting Polaroids as the basis for his weavings, each nearly eight feet tall and more than six feet across. In one, Obama has a serious look; in the other, he wears a warm smile. In all, 10 tapestries Close made were snapped up for $100,000 apiece by private collectors (the cash went to the reelection campaign); the ones at the Portrait Gallery are on loan through March 3, so this might be your best chance to see them in a museum setting.
Eighth and F streets NW. 202-633-1000. www.npg.si.edu. 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Free.
‘Out of Many: A Multicultural
Festival of Music, Dance and Story’
The National Museum of the American Indian has joined with the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, Asian Pacific American Program and forthcoming Museum of African American History and Culture for a three-day festival highlighting America’s role as a melting pot of culture. Family-friendly activities take place throughout the museum and include performances of Bolivian folkloric dance, hula from Halau Ho’Omau, jazz music and taiko drumming, all by groups that are keeping those traditions alive stateside.
Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW. 202-633-1000. www.nmai.si.edu. Through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The museum is closed Monday. Free.
Day of Service
The official ball is sold out. Tickets to the swearing-in have been snapped up. If you’re hoping to be part of an official event, you can take part in the day of service that will kick off inauguration weekend. Among the major White House-endorsed volunteer events is the Points of Light project that will enlist 10,000 volunteers to pack 100,000 “care kits” with bandages, hand sanitizer and more for deployed military, wounded service members and veterans. Volunteers commit for one 2 1/2-hour shift at the D.C. Armory, but registration is required. For more community-based work, sign up for one of the 45 projects HandsOn Greater D.C. Cares is organizing across the region at www.greaterdccares.org.
D.C. Armory, 2001 E. Capitol St. SE. www.pointsoflight.org. Free.
If you found the milestones of President Obama’s first term alternately confounding, funny, brilliant and touching, you’re not alone. Look back on those moments with the nationally recognized artists who dissected them in pen and ink at Art Soiree’s one-night exhibition, featuring pointed political cartoons from major publications. Work from artists including KAL, Mike Keefe, Signe Wilkinson and The Post’s Tom Toles will be on display at the party, held at Malmaison, a new Georgetown venue. The event will feature food, a cash bar and a performance by Suspicious Package, which just might be D.C.’s only band fronted by journalists and wonks.
3401 Water St. NW. 202-841-6441. www.theartsoiree.com. 8 p.m. to midnight. $15 in advance; $20 at the door.
I Don’t Have a Super-Pac to Buy Me a Ticket to the Inaugural Ball ball
There’s no swing-state politicking in Glen Echo’s grand Spanish Ballroom, only swing dancing, and that’s what makes this party perfect for families that want to celebrate but stay far from the havoc in the city. American Swing asks guests to dress as if they’re headed to a real ball. Bring the kids along for the performance by Eight to the Bar, a roots-music inspired act that should get the crowd jumping. Come early to pick up a few moves: An hour-long dance lesson begins at 8 p.m.
7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. 703-359-9882. 301-634-2222. www.glenechopark.org. 9 p.m. to midnight. $18; $12 ages 11-17; $10 age 10 and younger.
Smokey Robinson and
the ‘Let Freedom Ring’ concert