The Washington Times: AFI Docs and Other Weekend Pics

I’ve got the details on my favorite Washington film festival in my Washington Times column, in the print edition, in PDF format, and below.

The Washington Times Get Out: The Week’s Pocket Picks for June 12, 2015

By Samantha Sault

Pick of the Pack: AFI Docs 

Escape the humidity for a cool movie theater to catch some of the most important new documentaries. Beginning Wednesday, AFI Docs will feature 81 films from 25 countries, including four world premieres, with screenings, discussions and special events at Silver Spring’s AFI Silver Theatre and other venues. The festival opens with “Best of Enemies,” set in 1968, when ABC hired Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr. as commentators for the presidential election. The screening will be followed by a discussion with directors Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon. Other picks include “Mavis,” following R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, and “All Things Must Pass,” Colin Hanks’ exploration of the demise of Tower Records and what it means for music. Many fi lms take critical looks at the world, including photojournalists working to establish a free press in Afghanistan (“Frame by Frame”) and human trafficking in Cambodia (“The Storm Makers”). On June 19, head to Silver Spring’s Fountain Plaza for a free screening of “Close, Ride, Rise, Roar,” electronic musician Brian Eno’s fi lm about the Talking Heads’ David Byrne. Wednesday through June 21 at the AFI Silver Theatre, Silver Spring, Maryland, and other venues in the Washington area. 301/495-6700. Web:

AFI Docs Opening Night in 2015 (Courtesy AFI Docs)

AFI Docs Opening Night in 2015 (Courtesy AFI Docs)

Jazz: Jazz at the Yards

The highlight of the DC Jazz Festival takes place this weekend at Yards Park at Capitol Riverfront, featuring two days of performances by contemporary jazz artists and plus outdoor fun for all ages at the beautiful urban oasis near Nationals Stadium. On Friday, Jazz at the Yards features several free performances by Sharon Clark, Cubano Groove, and New Orleans’ eight-piece ensemble The Soul Rebels. On Saturday, purchase tickets to see big names such as Grammy Award winner Esperanza Spalding, Common, and Femi Kuti & the Positive Force. Splurge for premier tickets for reserved seating areas near the stage and other perks, or purchase a general admission ticket and bring a lawn chair or blanket. On both days, enjoy a food and beverage marketplace, tastings and chef demonstrations, and other family-friendly activities. Friday and Saturday at the Yards Park at Capitol Riverfront, 355 Water St. SE. Web:

Dining: Virginia Cheese Festival

This weekend, take a drive a few hours outside of Washington to Blacksburg, Virginia, home of the Virginia Tech Hokies and some really great cheese. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, the city will host the first-ever Virginia Cheese Festival, where visitors can try local artisan cheeses expertly paired with beers and wines. Activities throughout the day will include cheese-making demonstrations and workshops, live music, displays of regional art, and a petting zoo, face painting and other activities for children. Arrive early to participate in the 5K Rat Race and 1-mile fun run/walk, and indulge in your cheese guilt-free. Saturday at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg,Virginia. 540/443-2008. Web:

Concert: Vertical Horizon

You know Vertical Horizon, one of the quintessential alternative rock bands of the late 1990s, but you may not know that it got its start playing covers at Georgetown University parties. Formed in 1991 by undergrads Matthew Scannell and Keith Kane, the band produced a few albums and toured the country before releasing its smash 1999 album, “Everything You Want,” which propelled Vertical Horizon to mainstream success and sold over 2 million copies in the United States. The band released several more albums, including its most recent in 2013, “Echoes From the Underground,” and is now touring with a stop at the Howard Theatre on Wednesday. Expect to hear hits such as “Everything You Want,” “You’re A God,” “Save Me From Myself” and “Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning).” Wednesday at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. 202/803-2899. Web:

© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC and Samantha Sault