- U.S. Botanic Garden docent Marjorie Abbot will host an “October Snugglers” tour for parents and care providers with a tiny one in a snuggly (no strollers or older siblings due to narrow paths and the nature of the program). 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Free; reservations required. Conservatory Classroom, U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. 202-225-8333.
- The Kid’s Chess Club will offer weekly chess instruction. 5 p.m. Free. Chevy Chase Library, 5625 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-282-0021.
- The Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs will host a tai chi class. 8 to 9 a.m. Free. Chinatown Park, 5th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW. 202-727-3120.
- The D.C. Public Library and Goethe-Institut Washington will present a lunchtime chamber music series featuring local musicians Ralitza Patcheva and Vasily Popov with special guests. Noon. Free. Goethe-Institut Washington, Suite 3, 1990 K St. NW. goethe.de/washington.
- Members of the National Symphony Orchestra will perform chamber works. 6 p.m. Free. Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600.
- The National Symphony Orchestra, guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann and violinist Arabella Steinbacher will perform works by Dvorák, Brahms and Lalo. 7 p.m. $15 to $89. Concert Hall, Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600. The concert will repeat Friday at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.
- The multinational cast of Up With People will perform original and popular music as part of its 50th-anniversary world tour sharing a message of global cooperation and goodwill. 7:30 p.m. $15 to $20. Auditorium, Columbia Heights Educational Campus, 3101 16th St. NW. upwithpeople.org/washingtondc.
- Critically acclaimed conductor James Blachly and the Experiential Orchestra will present “The Sins in Concert,” an evening of imaginative compositions in response to an exhibition of evocative paintings by Washington artist William Woodward. 7:30 to 9 p.m. $25; reservations required. American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. american.edu/museum.
- The Boston-based acoustic band Night Tree will perform folk music with innovation and edge to celebrate the release of its self-titled debut album. 8 p.m. $5 cover. Tenley Bar & Grill, 4611 41st St. NW. 202-237-1783.
Discussions and lectures
- The “Textiles at Twelve” series will present “Ask a Curator, Ask a Conservator.” Noon to 2 p.m. Free. George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. 202-994-5200.
- Haneen Zoabi, a member of the Arab Joint List in the Israeli Knesset, will discuss current affairs. 12:30 to 2 p.m. Free; reservations required. The Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW. 202-338-1958.
- Andrew G. Ferguson, professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, will discuss his book “The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race and the Future of Law Enforcement.” 5 to 6 p.m. Free; reservations required. Moot Courtroom, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, 4340 Connecticut Ave. NW. law.udc.edu.
- The Braxton Institute Dialogues on Resisting and Thriving will present panelists Richael Faithful, Joanne Braxton and Rebecca Ann Parker discussing “Grounding Resistance in Love and Joy.” 6 to 8 p.m. Free; reservations requested. The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Road NW. pottershousedc.org.
- In conjunction with the exhibition “Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light,” curator Keely Orgeman and longtime Wilfred collectors Eugene and A. J. Epstein will discuss the preservation of the sculptor’s work. 6:30 p.m. Free. McEvoy Auditorium, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and G streets NW. 202-633-1000.
- Leah Weiss will discuss her book “If The Creek Don’t Rise.” 6:30 p.m. Free. East City Bookshop, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. eastcitybookshop.com.
- The World Affairs Council will present a talk by Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the U.S., on the free trade agreement between the two countries and the current climate for investment in Oman. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. $25 to $35; reservations required by Oct. 2. Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, 1100 16th St. NW. worldaffairsdc.org.
- HumanitiesDC will sponsor a “Humanitini” happy hour focusing on “DC Graffiti Art and Murals,” about the changing definition of what’s legal in public art. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Free; reservations required. Busboys and Poets Brookland, 625 Monroe St. NE. wdchumanities.org/humanitini.
- As part of its Signature Series, the National Museum of Natural History will host “An Evening With Ruth DeFries: How Humans Innovate in The Face of Natural Disasters,” featuring the MacArthur “genius grant”-winner and environmental geographer. DeFries will discuss her book “The Big Ratchet” in conversation with museum director Kirk Johnson. 6:30 to 8:10 p.m. Free; registration required. Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. go.si.edu/aneveningwith.
- Mark Helprin will discuss his novel “Paris in the Present Tense.” 7 p.m. Free. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-364-1919.
- A panel discussion on “Women and the Supreme Court” will feature Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; Deanne Maynard, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster’s appellate and Supreme Court practice; Sarah Harrington, partner at Goldstein & Russell; and Marlene Trestman, author of “Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin.” 7 to 9 p.m. Free. McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th streets NW. 202-357-5000.
- Tabitha Whissemore, president of the D.C. chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, will lead a monthly reading group in a discussion of Ann Patchett’s novel “Commonwealth.” 7 p.m. Free. Kramerbooks & Afterwords, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-387-1400.
- Politics and Prose will present a talk by Masha Gessen, author of “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.” 7 p.m. $5 to $10; $30 for one book and one ticket. Sidwell Friends School, 3825 Wisconsin Ave. NW. politics-prose.com.
- The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family will present a talk on “Why We Snap: The Neuroscience of Sudden Aggression” by neuroscientist and author R. Douglas Fields. 7:30 p.m. Free. Bowen Center for the Study of the Family, 4400 MacArthur Blvd. NW. 202-965-4400.
- The Arab American Institute will present the documentary “This Is Palestine,” about Riverdance founder John McColgan’s journey through Gaza and the West Bank. A panel discussion will follow. 6 to 8 p.m. Free. Cullen Room, Busboys and Poets 5th & K, 1025 5th St. NW. aaiusa.org.
- Goethe-Institut Washington’s film series on “Luther the Reformer: 500 Year Legacy” will feature the final three segments of the six-part documentary “The Luther Code.” 6:30 p.m. Free; reservations required. Goethe-Institut Washington, Suite 3, 1990 K St. NW. goetheinstitutwashington.eventbrite.com.
Performances and readings
- The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “Happenings Happy Hour” series will feature a performance by the long-form improv troupe Press Play. 6 to 7 p.m. Free; reservations suggested. Forum, Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. NW. 202-547-5688.
- The Georgetown Library will host its monthly First Thursday Evening Poetry Reading, followed by an open-mic event. 7 p.m. Free. Georgetown Library, 3260 R St. NW. 202-727-0232.
- The Washington Ballet will present “Russian Masters.” 8 p.m. $25 to $140. Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600. The performance will repeat Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 8 p.m.
- This month’s “Phillips After 5” installment — “Finnish Kool,” an evening of art and tech from the cold north — will feature a chance to experience Finnish media art by artist duo IC-98, sip cool cocktails, sample Finnish food, find your favorite emoji, watch short films, and sing your heart out in a karaoke bar with Singa. 5 to 8:30 p.m. $10 to $12; reservations suggested. Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. phillipscollection.org/events.
- “Fashion Show: Scraps on the Runway” will feature 20 eclectic, upcycling designs by students in the Howard University Fashion Design Program. 6 p.m. $20 to $25; reservations required. George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, 701 21st St. NW. 202-994-7394.
- The Smithsonian Craft2Wear 2017 preview night will feature a benefit, cocktails, artful hors d’oeuvres and first-choice shopping for one-of-a-kind items 6 to 9 p.m. $50; advance purchase required. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. smithsoniancraft2wear.org. The Craft2Wear show and sale — featuring one-of-a-kind, handmade clothing, jewelry and accessories designed by more than 60 top craft artists, including D.C. jewelry designer and environmental activist Sylvia Gottwald — will be open at the National Building Museum on Friday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; daily admission costs $13 to $15.
- Ward 4 D.C. Council member Brandon Todd will host a Ward 4 Brewery Crawl, featuring visits to two local brewers. Free; reservations requested. 6 to 7 p.m. at 3 Stars Brewing Co., 6400 Chillum Place NW; 7 to 8 p.m. at Hellbender Brewing Co., 5788 2nd St. NE. email@example.com.
- Certified arborist and U.S. Botanic Garden education specialist Alexandra Torres will present “Fun With Trees,” a tour spotlighting outdoor gardens and trees. Noon to 1 p.m. Free; reservations required. Meet by the entrance to the Conservatory, U.S. Botanic Garden, 100 Maryland Ave. SW. 202-225-8333.
- “Close-up Tour: Needlepoint” will examine some of the Washington National Cathedral’s 1,500 pieces of needlework and the messages they convey (for ages 10 and older). 2 p.m. $18 to $22; reservations suggested. Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues NW. cathedral.org.