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Posted at 9:38 AM ET, 10/26/2009

Free and easy events

By Fritz Hahn

Every week, the Going Out Gurus suggest ways to enjoy Washington's cultural scene without spending any money. Have an idea for us? Send it to

A Celebration of Statehood at the National Theatre
Our 50th state is about to turn 50, and in honor of the anniversary, Hawaiian dance and music troupe Halau Ho'omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai'i performs two programs of traditional and contemporary dance. Tickets are distributed 30 minutes before showtime.

High Heel Race in Dupont Circle
One of Washington's favorite Halloween traditions features extravagantly costumed drag queens sprinting up 17th Street as fast as their three-inch platform shoes will carry them. The race begins around 9, but spectators begin gathering on the sidewalk hours earlier to watch the queens strut up and down the race course, turning it into their own asphalt catwalk.

Ill Element at Science Club
Get through hump day with this new lounge night hosted by DJ Lil El (of the very cool Kids and Level Up events) and a rotating crew of friends spinning hip-hop, electro, indie rock and whatever else moves them. As a bonus, Science Club has extended happy hour from open to close Monday through Thursday during the month of October: That means beers are $3 and mixed drinks are $4 all night long.

October Art Salon at the Corcoran Gallery of Art
Local visual artists and musicians interact with and react to the Corcoran's exhibits "Sargent and the Sea" and "Edward Burtynsky: Oil" while an audience watches and listens. You can skip the Corcoran's admission fee by RSVPing to dccahevents@ by noon on the day of the event.

'The October Man' at the National Gallery of Art
"Brit Noir" is the subject of the National Gallery's latest classic film series -- a look at the gloomy, atmospheric black-and-white mysteries and crime dramas of the 1940s. It begins with "The October Man," a 1947 picture about a troubled chemist who may or may not be a murderer.

'Pinball: The Art of Interactive Entertainment' at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Yes, there's lots of Halloween stuff going on, but this is too cool to pass up: In conjunction with the museum's current William T. Wiley exhibit, the National Pinball Museum is bringing a selection of historic pinball machines for visitors to sample, including ones from the 1930s and '40s, and classics from the '60s. National Pinball Museum founder David F. Silverman will speak about the history of the game.

Community Day at the National Museum of Women in the Arts
On the first Sunday of the month, the National Museum of Women in the Arts is open to all without the usual $10 admission fee. Take this opportunity to explore the exhibits "Lands of Enchantment: Australian Aboriginal Painting" and "Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions and Conundrums in Contemporary Art," where all of the works are open to multiple interpretations.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | October 26, 2009; 9:38 AM ET
Categories:  Events, Free and Cheap  
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Long story short -- best friend is in McLean (from Boston) tonight and tomorrow. Her training session ends at 6pm, today is her birthday, she has no mode of transportation except a cab and must be sober/awake/professional at day 2 tomorrow but would love to go dancing (salsa-like rather than clubbing-like) with some of her training session colleagues (also from Boston), in/near McLean.

Through the grace that is flu season, I won't be going but have been asked to see what I can dig up for fun. So far my incompetent internet searches have turned up Applebees, a strip club in DC and Clarendon Grill's salsa night.

Can anyone suggest anything in/near McLean that a 33 y/o woman would find fun?! She'll be calling me this afternoon for suggestions and I am stuck!

Posted by: capecodner424 | October 26, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Just wanted to let everyone out there know about a free show on Halloween night in Greenbelt, MD. The show is at The New Deal Cafe ( located at 113 Centerway, Greenbelt, Maryland, and will be feature local bands The Galt Line ( and The Nice Trys ( The show starts at 8:00pm, and is open to all ages. Be prepared to try the delicious food at The New Deal Cafe and enjoy some great, free music, including Halloween-related covers!

Posted by: mkbtrue999 | October 28, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

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