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Popular Culture Programs
The Stories Behind Harry Potter’s Magic

The extraordinary world that J.K. Rowling created in the first Harry Potter book in 1997 has expanded into a universe that millions of readers and moviegoers have embraced. Curator Cristian Petru Panaite reveals the roots of that world, which reach far deeper in time to cultural traditions of magic and folklore that have captivated imaginations for centuries.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
A Toast to the Rat Pack

Author and cocktail expert Philip Green celebrates the spirit—and the favorite spirits—of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and other members of the swingin’, high-living clan who came to symbolize ’60s-style cool onstage and off.

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Instantly French: A Classic Kitchen Technique Goes Modern

One of the latest cooking crazes has its roots in French culinary history. Author and travel writer Ann Mah traces how the traditional pressure cooker morphed into the Instant Pot, and how dishes that French home cooks make in their beloved cocotte-minute can deliciously translate into versions that take advantage of the multifunctional electric pressure cooker.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
A Red-Carpet Night with Oscar

As the awards race approaches its conclusion, join Washington City Paper film critic Noah Gittell for an evening that focuses on all things Oscar, from Academy Awards history and trivia to discussions of this year’s nominations and behind-the-scenes stories.

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
The Women Who Animated the Movies: Uncovering a Colorful History

Their names may not be as familiar as those of Minnie Mouse or Betty Boop, but female animators have made significant contributions to the form since the its earliest days. Mindy Johnson, a leading expert on women’s roles in animation and film history, tells their mostly little-known stories.

Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.
Bob Dylan: Maker of Songs

Despite decades in the spotlight, Bob Dylan remains a beloved enigma. Drawing on his new book, Bob Dylan’s Poetics, Timothy Hampton, explores the interplay of music and lyrics as a key to understanding the heart of Dylan’s artistry—and perhaps, the man.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 6:45 p.m.