Only in D.C.: political chats, comedy shows and breakfast with astronauts

There always seems to be good reason to leave your assignments for the Sunday night scramble in Gelman — your favorite author is reading at Politics & Prose or a certain socialist presidential candidate could be hosting a rally on the National Mall.

Whether you’re a newbie in the city or a District veteran, everyday in D.C. can be interesting. Here, we help you plan ahead so you can enjoy your fall back in D.C. sans stress.

Order in the synagogue
Justice Stephen Breyer In Conversation with Nina Totenberg
Sixth & I
600 I St. NW
Sept. 16
7 p.m.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton, leans liberal on contentious issues like abortion. But it’s his pragmatic approach to law that’s earned him a reputation as the counterweight to Justice Antonin Scalia’s more literal interpretation of the Constitution.

The 77-year-old will talk to Nina Totenberg, a legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio, about his new book “The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities.” The work tackles the delicate balance of tradition in SCOTUS in a rapid-paced, global society.

The event is followed by a book signing.

Space out
NPC Breakfast with NASA Astronauts
The National Press Club
529 14th St. NW
Sept. 14
8:30 a.m., $37

Starbucks, not Mars, is probably the first place on your mind on a Monday morning. But with Terry Virts, the most recent astronaut to return from the International Space Station, along with fellow astronaut Mark Kelly, talking about mission to the red planet in 2030, you should set your alarm early.

Space has also become a frontier for international affairs nerds to examine: Above the atmosphere, the United States military protects high-tech satellites, and countries like Russia and China duke it out over who is responsible for cleaning up space junk. Virts and Kelly will discuss international cooperation in space, as well as their work with NASA.

The National Press Club, which attracts dozens of high-profile speakers every year, is a 20-minute walk from campus.

Four days of funny
The Bentzen Ball
Lincoln Theatre
1215 U Street NW
Oct. 1
8 p.m., $35

The opening night of the annual Bentzen Ball is sure to be a hoot. Comedian Tig Notaro, who produces and curates the four-day comedy fest, will perform on opening night.

Janeane Garofalo, as well as Laura Silverman, will also perform on the first night. Garofalo acted in the eight-episode Netflix prequel “Wet Hot American Summer” this summer and performed on “Saturday Night Live.” Silverman — yes, Sarah’s older sister — voiced Andy Pesto on “Bob’s Burgers” and played Jan in the 1998 film “Half Baked.”

Organizers have yet to announce performers for the following three days. Past comedians on the Bentzen Ball stage include Reggie Watts, Sarah Silverman and Nick Kroll.

Between the world and him
Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation with James Bennett
Sixth & I
600 I St. NW
Oct. 14
7 p.m.

Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a 176-page letter, a book called “Between the World and Me,” to his 15-year-old son earlier this year. His unabashed work is both critical and insightful: the book is about the complexities and contradictions in Coates’s life as a black man in the United States.

Coates, a writer for The Atlantic who attended Howard University — which he calls “the mecca” in his book — will discuss the novel with The Atlantic’s editor in chief James Bennet. The event will be followed by a book signing.

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