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  • Lauded as “a string quartet of boundless imagination” by NPR...
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  • The NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner takes the Songbyrd Stage w/ Angelica Garcia
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  • Tanisha C. Ford is a pop culture expert and star academic. An associate professor of Africana Studies and History, she has written for the New York Times,, the Atlantic, the Root, and featured on NPR, among other places. Ford is the author of Dressed in Dreams, Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful, and Liberated Threads, which won the 2016 Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for best book on civil rights history. She lives in Harlem.

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  • New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers, with Olive, Again.

    Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is a compelling life force. Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force, and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life, but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.

    Strout will be in conversation with Bethanne Patrick, "hot books" columnist for The Washington Post Book World and reviewer for the section, as well as for NPR Books, TIME Magazine, and The LA Times.

    Book signing to follow.

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  • As the old cliche goes, "home is where the heart is" but what does that really mean? Is home a physical space, such as a house, or something that we carry within us? Does home change over time, or is it permanent? How do identity and language contribute to our ability to feel "at home"? In this workshop, participants will read a selection of texts inspired by these questions all while reflecting on the sensory details of their home--wherever that might be. By the workshop's end, participants will have generated a piece of original writing in the genre of their choosing and inspired by collective discussion and reflection on ideas and understandings of place.

    About the instructorLacey N. Dunham's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares (online), McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Midwestern Gothic, The Other Stories, The Collagist, and Full Stop, among others. The editor of five anthologies of writing which have received recognition in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and NPR, she is currently Fiction Editor at Necessary Fiction and directs literary education programming for the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She is a first-generation college graduate originally from the Midwest and now lives in Washington, DC.

    Scholarships are available for this workshop, along with alternate payment methods. For more information, please send an email to

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  • It's a house concert in Ashburn!

    Polished and precise, yet buoyed with an airy grace, Joy Ike paints with a broad palette that defies easy categorization. Born to Nigerian immigrants, the singer/songwriter’s music, voice, and writing have drawn comparisons to female musicians such as Nina Simone, Laura Nyro, and Regina Spektor. But her percussive piano-playing and soaring vocals give homage to her African upbringing.

    Leaving her career as a publicist in 2008, Joy has spent the last 10 years playing thousands of shows across the country. A write-up on NPR's All Things Considered says "The depth of subjects she tackles in her poetic lyrics are perfectly complemented by a unique blend of neo-soul, with just the right dash of pop...a truly compelling act to watch in person, with the ability to create an intimate setting in locations big and small."

    Ike is currently on tour in support of her new album Bigger Than Your Box. Written over a four-year period that included a relocation from the comparatively small Pittsburgh to the gritty, thrumming metropolis of Philadelphia, the record is joyously defiant, standing proud and wrapped in blasts of exotic color. It dares us to believe in ourselves, to knock down the walls of fear and doubt we build around ourselves. “This is an open-armed invitation to dive head first into the unseen”, says Ike. Bigger Than Your Box boldly explores what Ike often refers to as divine discontentment; the restless middle ground between what is and what ought to be. “The spiritual mystery of life and the ever-present Spirit of God that embraces us in our most helpless state.” For details visit:

    Hearty snacks and refreshments (both alcoholic and non) will be served, however you are welcome to bring your own food and beverages.

    We will open our doors for folks to mingle and meet Joy at 7:30 p.m. Music will begin at 8:00 pm.

    Suggested donation, collected at the door: $15-20 (100% of all contributions are given directly to the artists) (Cash only)

    Artist's merchandise (CDs, etc). will be available for sale, so bring a little extra cash. ;)

    RSVP for the address.


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  • Tank & the Bangas

    Coming from New Orleans, Tank & the Bangas grew up surrounded by grand musical traditions. Steeped in a rich mix of styles, the group has a rare knack for combining fiery soul, deft hip hop, deep-groove R & B and subtle jazz into one dazzling cohesive whole, evoking the scope of their hometown music while retaining a distinctive feel all its own. Powerhouse singer and poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball is a “protean storyteller” (San Francisco Chronicle) and a two-time winner of the National Slam Poetry Championship. Her vivid charisma helped the band win NPR’s 2017 Tiny Desk Concert Contest by unanimous acclaim—beating out 6,000 competitors. Since then their reach has exploded: an ever-widening tour path recently took in a spot with Jimmy Fallon and concerts in 11 European cities. Rolling Stone writes, "Seeing a Tank & the Bangas show is an exercise in positivity.” And as one fan put it: “If you can’t dig this show, you should probably take up stamp collecting."

    Photo credit Alex Marks

    Additional Ticketing Information

    Reserved seats not claimed by five minutes before the scheduled start of the event will be distributed to waiting RUSH patrons. For more information about RUSH please visit

    For patrons unable to obtain a reservation, we strongly encourage attendance anyway—while there is no guarantee of seating due to the intimate size of some spaces, patrons are almost always accommodated, especially if they collect a RUSH Space Available pass two hours in advance of the show's start time. In over 99% of cases, all guests are able to be seated, and some seats are ALWAYS available for sold-out performances due to returns and no-shows.

    Please request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or

    Support free programming at the Library of Congress by joining the Friends of Music.


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  • Conrad Tao and Caleb Teicher

    Conrad Tao, piano
    Caleb Teicher, tap dance

    This not-to-be-missed evening is the product of a brilliant partnership of two rapidly rising stars. The admirable pianist and composer Conrad Tao is a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist who galvanized New York Philharmonic audiences as the soloist in his Everything Must Go. Caleb Teicher is Dance Magazine’s Best Emerging Choreographer, with compelling recent works cited in The New York Times rundown of Best Dance of 2018. Each earns raves for electric performances; together, they are astonishing in Counterpoints, a program of music and dance both composed and improvised. Dancing to J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, “Teicher slaps the pallets with lightning speed, leaping from one to the other for contrast, matching Tao, note for accelerated note." (NPR Music). Teicher’s comment captures the essence of their collaboration: “…it's hard to sense where the music starts and the dancing ends, or where the dancing starts and the music ends. They're just one."

    Conversation with the Artists
    Whittall Pavilion, 6:30 pm



    J.S. BACH
    Goldberg Variations, selections, BWV 988
    Sarabande from French Suite no. 5 in G major, BWV 816

    Rhapsody in Blue, arr. for solo piano

    Five Piano Pieces, op. 23


    Additional Ticketing Information

    Reserved seats not claimed by five minutes before the scheduled start of the event will be distributed to waiting RUSH patrons. For more information about RUSH please visit

    For patrons unable to obtain a reservation, we strongly encourage attendance anyway—while there is no guarantee of seating due to the intimate size of some spaces, patrons are almost always accommodated, especially if they collect a RUSH Space Available pass two hours in advance of the show's start time. In over 99% of cases, all guests are able to be seated, and some seats are ALWAYS available for sold-out performances due to returns and no-shows.

    Please request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or

    Support free programming at the Library of Congress by joining the Friends of Music.


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  • Pitch Perfect 101 is taking applications for the Fall seminar.  Apply today to learn the secrets to media exposure and brand awareness.

    "Pitch Perfect 101" is  a 2 hour workshop with leading communications specialists who want to help you push your message beyond the pews.  It's time for your organization to get the attention that it deserves.

    This workshop will give you the tools you need to get noticed by both local and national media outlets.

    Since 2005, the My Media Buzz team vetted thousands of pitches and press releases for national exposure. We know what works and what does not.

    We can help you navigate the web of mass communications.

    If you have a special message, event or book - THIS is the workshop for you.

    In this workshop you will learn:

    *How to create your top notch press release and personal pitch to move your message into the spotlight.

    *How to connect with television and radio producers 

    *10 Things to do to get noticed by the media and 3 things you NEVER want to do

    *How to polish your message and build your brand

    This is the time for investment in your image. 

    Sign up today for the 'Pitch Perfect' workshop!

    Facilitator: Alegra Hall

    As a member of the National Press Club I am excited to be a part of the media landscape which influences the world. In my role as a producer and guest booker for more than a decade I gained the unique set of skills that helps small businesses, non-profit organizations and burgeoning new talent reach the media spotlight.

    It has been my pleasure to work alongside such great people at CBN News and on Capitol Hill. It is here that I honed my writing skills and had the opportunity to interview scores of politicians, missionaries and world changers like NPR newsman Juan Williams, Chik Fil-A legend Truett Cathy and even meet A-list actor/humanitarian George Clooney.

    In 2000 I founded Women Walking in Wisdom which produces the annual Jump Into January event.  JIJ has grown to seat hundreds of women and now reaches over 300,000 Facebook viewers during our LIVE conferences.


     Who should attend this workshop?

    Volunteers for media ministries at local churches, authors, non profit groups who want to gain insight into building appropriate publicity for upcoming events.


    Yes there is FREE parking at the library.

    Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

    Once you have paid your name will be on the registration list however it is helpful to bring the printed ticket.

    How to contact event organizer?

    Please feel free to emai us with your questions at


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  • Join us for a cookbook talk in support of Washington Post food writer Cathy Barrow's latest cookbook release When Pies Fly! Cathy will be in conversation with Nancy Pollard, former proprietor of La Cuisine in Alexandria and current writer of the food blog Kitchen Details, talking about recipes, techniques, ingredients, and more! The event will conclude with audience Q&A followed by a book signing. Your ticket includes a signed copy of When Pies Fly and a slice of pie!

    About the author: Cathy Barrow is a food writer, cooking teacher and pie maker. Barrow writes the “BRING IT” column in the Washington Post’s Food section. She has written for the New York Times, Garden and Gun, The Local Palate, Modern Farmer, Saveur, Southern Living, NPR, and National Geographic, among others. Cathy lives near Washington, DC, with her husband Dennis and their two terriers. Her first cookbook, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry, won the prestigious IACP Award for best single-subject cookbook.

    About the book: Following up on PIE SQUARED’s slab pies, food writer Cathy Barrow finds more ways to use pastry dough deliciously with crowd-pleasing (and easy to make) galettes and small tarts, as well as empanadas, strudels, and knishes. Barrow digs into a world of doughs for turnovers, fried pies, poppers, and Texas-by-way-of-Krakow kolaches, all offered in sweet and savory iterations.

    WHEN PIES FLY guides the rolling pin novice and the experienced dough wrangler to dozens of shapes and styles of crusty, flaky, delicious treats. Barrow’s well-tested, foolproof crust recipes means pie-making is fun, not scary, and her step-by-step techniques makes turning out a free-form pie practically foolproof.

    WHEN PIES FLY includes many types of pastries (both homemade and store-bought), ready for the lunchbox, the dinner table, road trips, and picnics. These handy crusty offerings go from freezer to oven, and will win over everyone at the table. No one will be able to resist Sesame Chicken Hand Pies, Savory Nectarine Marscapone Tarts, Pork Pastor Empanadas, Spiced Apple Strudels, and much more. The perfect mix of nostalgic favorites and new pastry creations, WHEN PIES FLY is a wonderful dive into the world of pies in all of their forms.

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  • Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library and Esther Productions Inc. have joined forces to present this exciting community conversation: FAMILY RESTORATION: Celebrating Fathers, Empowering Parents on June 1 from 1:00 pm to 3 pm. 

    Recently, I was sitting on the front porch of my mother's home in New Orleans, La. I was caught in reverie, remembering the days riding my bike with friends from the neighborhood; the backyard picnics my grandmother used to throw; and all the other families who lived in houses on Mexico Street. Those families were as imperfect as my own. But I have come to appreciate the lessons and values they passed along to us.

    Family matters.

    A distinguished group of professional experts and seasoned activists lead an important conversation about strengthening and restoring families in DC and the Metropolitan region. Representatives from Unified Parenting a program at George Washington University will make a special presentation.

    The event features an exciting group of leaders including, 

    Brittany N. Adams ATR, LPC is a licensed Art Therapist and clinician in private practice. She received her master’s degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. She has worked as a primary/clinical therapist providing therapeutic services through integrative counseling approaches to adolescents and families. Darryl Green, is an author, coach and speaker who has transformed the lives of many on domestic and international platforms with his message of healing, reconciliation and Deep Forgiveness.  He is the President and Principal Consultant for Deep Forgiveness, a non-profit organization established to serve in the restoration of families, economic empowerment for the disenfranchised and a staunch proponent for libertarian reconciliation and forgiveness.  Green has been pegged by industry professionals as an innovative change agent on mental health, healing, social welfare and restorative justice. David Miller is founder of the Dare to Be King Project, a unique initiative challenging contemporary narratives about Black manhood and masculinity. He received acclaim for Dare to Be King: What If the Prince Lives. A Survival Workbook for African American Males, a thought provoking, 52-week curriculum teaching adolescent males how to survive and thrive in toxic environments. Lowell Vincent Muse envisioned himself a father even when he was himself a child. Nothing could block his dream. He enjoyed a 44-year career as a broadcast; for 20 of those years he was an engineer. In 2015, he retired from NPR as an audio recording technician. jonetta rose barras, award-winning journalist and author of Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl? The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women, will moderate the conversation.



    Family Restoration is made possible through a grant from the DC Public Library, The Holden Bequest. Additional support is provided through Esther Productions, Inc. by Kerry S. Pearson, LLC; Pepco, an Exelon Company; Fort Myer Construction Corporation Charitable Foundation; Emmanuel Bailey, Veterans Services Corp.; and Esther’s Friends.

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  • “Few groups have come as far in such a short period of time as The Steel Wheels…” – NPR’s Mountain Stage
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  • Join us for the September Old Town Books Club! We will be reading and discussing Costalegre by Courtney Maum.

    Old Town Books Club is free and open to the public, but RSVP is appreciated. Take 15% off your in-store purchase or pre-order of Costalegre by mentioning the book club. Purchasing the book at our store is not required to attend, but is much appreciated - it sustains our free literary arts programming!

    About the book:  “When young Lara finds herself in Costalegre, living with her mother and a gaggle of 19th century surrealist artists, wonder and mayhem ensues. With this slim novel, Courtney Maum has gifted her readers with a breathtaking meditation on youth, art, and the ever-mysterious bonds between mothers and daughters. Costalegre is a spectacular high-wire act that dazzles and devastates.” - Laura van den Berg, author of THE THIRD HOTEL

    Sinuous and striking, heartbreaking and strange, Costalegre is heavily inspired by the real-life relationship between the heiress Peggy Guggenheim and her daughter, Pegeen. Acclaimed author Courtney Maum triumphs with this wildly imaginative and curiously touching story of a privileged teenager who has everything a girl could wish for except for a mother who loves her back. 

    It is 1937, and Europe is on the brink of war. In the haute-bohemian circles of Austria, Germany, and Paris, Hitler is circulating a most-wanted list of “cultural degenerates”―artists, writers, and thinkers whose work is deemed antithetical to the new regime.  To prevent the destruction of her favorite art (and artists), the impetuous American heiress and modern art collector, Leonora Calaway, begins chartering boats and planes for an elite group of surrealists to Costalegre, a mysterious resort in the Mexican jungle, where she has a home. 

    The story of what happens to these artists when they reach their destination is told from the point of view of Lara, Leonora’s neglected 15-year-old daughter, who has been pulled out of school to follow her mother to Mexico. Forced from a young age to cohabit with her mother’s eccentric whims, tortured lovers, and entourage of gold-diggers, Lara suffers from emotional, educational, and geographical instability that a Mexican sojourn with surrealists isn’t going to help. But when she meets the outcast Dadaist sculptor Jack Klinger, a much older man who has already been living in Costalegre for some time, Lara thinks she might have found the love and understanding she so badly craves.

    About Courtney Maum: Courtney Maum is the author of the acclaimed novels TOUCH and I AM HAVING SO MUCH FUN HERE WITHOUT YOU, which were both selected by such outlets as O Magazine, Time Magazine, The New York Times, Glamour, Marie Claire and others as one of the best books of summer. (TOUCH was a New York Times editor's choice and an NPR Best Books of 2017 pick.) Her chapbook NOTES FROM MEXICO is part travelogue and part eulogy and is available here. Her short fiction, book reviews, and essays on the writing life have been widely published in outlets such as The New York Times, O Magazine, Tin House, Electric Literature, and Buzzfeed, and she has co-written films that have debuted at Sundance and won awards at Cannes. At various points in her life, she has been a trend forecaster, a fashion publicist, and a party promoter for Corona Extra. She currently works as a product namer for M·A·C cosmetics and other companies from her home in Litchfield County, CT, where she founded the learning collaborative, The Cabins which will take place again in the summer of 2020. Courtney has two new books forthcoming in 2019: COSTALEGRE (Tin House), a novel about European surrealists fleeing World War II, and BEFORE AND AFTER THE BOOK DEAL: A writer’s guide to finishing, publishing, promoting and surviving your first book (Catapult), a humorous guide to help aspiring authors navigate their debut publishing experience. She also runs a service called “The Query Doula” where she helps writers prepare their manuscripts and query letters for an agent’s eyes.  

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