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Posted at 5:22 PM ET, 02/ 7/2010

Free and Easy events

By Fritz Hahn

See Timothy H. O'Sullivan's dramatic western landscapes -- including this 1868 view of Idaho's Shoshone Falls -- in a new exhibit at the American Art Museum. (Library of Congress)

This week, hear up-and-coming Broadway stars, test your chopstick skills at a Japanese festival or see amazing photos of the old west without spending a single cent.

'Framing the West: The Survey Photographs of Timothy H. O'Sullivan' at the American Art Museum
Between 1867 and 1874, photographer Timothy H. O'Sullivan crisscrossed the American West, taking photographs of dramatic landscapes like Shoshone Falls and the ghostly canyons and rock formations of Nevada and Utah. This exhibit collects both large-format photographs and smaller 3-D-like stereograph cards made from O'Sullivan's images.

We've all had relationships that ended less than perfectly, to put it diplomatically. Some people just buck up and move on. Others hit events like the Bottom Line's Shred Your Ex and Meet Your Next party. At this annual gathering, jilted lovers bring photos of their exs, love notes, old Valentine's Day cards and other tokens of affection, then ceremonially put them through a shredder. Hey, it's a sure way to know if that cute guy or girl at the bar is single. The ripping and tearing starts at 8 p.m., and specials, including $2.50 Miller Lites and $3 Valentine's Day shooters, go all night.

Update: This family festival, originally scheduled for Saturday, will now take place on March 7.
'Matsuri: A Midwinter Japanese Festival for Families' at the Textile Museum
Sample Japanese food, learn to fold origami, test your chopstick skills and watch dance performances at this festival for all ages.

Dynamite at Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Heart's Club
Get a triple helping of 1960s and '70s soul from D.C.'s own DJ Nitekrawler of Moneytown; Pittsburgh soul maven Jay Malls, who runs the deep-funk-and-soul night known as TitleTown; and expert DJ Jason Perlmutter, who runs a Web site dedicated to vintage R&B of the Carolinas. The dark, unmarked bar is the perfect setting for late-night grooving. PBR tallboy cans are $3 all night long.

Update: We moved the events we wrote about earlier in the week to the bottom of the post so you can find the events for today at the top.

'Broadway: Today & Tomorrow' at the Kennedy Center
Tonight, the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage starts a cabaret-style series that pairs composers and lyricists with up-and-coming Broadway singers. Leading off is Peter Mills, who wrote the music and lyrics for an all-bluegrass adaptation of the play "Playboy of the Western World" set in 1930s Appalachia. Performing are Matt Cavanaugh, fresh off a Broadway role in "West Side Story," and Kate Baldwin, who has appeared in "Thoroughly Modern Millie."

Flamenco at Las Tapas
You could spend up to $65 at George Washington University's annual Flamenco Festival, which begins Tuesday night. Or, you could head to Alexandria to see Spanish dancers and guitarists performing on a stage that's visible from both the dining room and the bar area.

'All Gone' launch party at Commonwealth
If you want to know about the coolest elements of street culture - from limited-edition T-shirts and sneakers to skateboards by artist Damien Hirst - you check out the Parisian boutique Colette and its partner, La MJC. Every year, La MJC's Michael Dupouy documents the most interesting merchandise in a book called "All Gone." He's in town to launch the book at D.C.'s finest street-style shop, and the party includes DJs and free drinks.

Update: The "Baptism by Fire" talk has been canceled because the National Archives is closed on Thursday. Instead, go country at one of the most unlikely places: a British-themed pub in Bethesda. Every Thursday, it's Country Night, and a cover band plays country songs. Get a free cowboy hat or bandana to complement your outfit, too.
'Baptism by Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis' at the National Archives
How do the issues on President Obama's plate compare to those faced by Abraham Lincoln or presidents managing the country in times of war or the Great Depression? Mark Updegrove, director of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and Michael Duffy, assistant managing editor of Time magazine, discuss eight other chief executives who faced immediate problems and how they responded.

-- Fritz Hahn

By Fritz Hahn  | February 7, 2010; 5:22 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Free and Cheap  
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