It's hard to believe that it was just 50 years ago that the first American orbited the Earth. The 1960s were the jump-start to space exploration with former President Kennedy's famous "Moon Speech," our first mariner probe to reach Venus and the launch of Sputnik 2. To celebrate, National Geographic (1600 M St. NW) has brought together some of NASA's leading scientists for a panel discussion on the human exploration of our solar system. These star panelists include National Geographic's emerging explorer, Kevin Hand; Bethany Ehlmann, who analyses Mars' mineralogy using remote sensing; Margaret Kivelson, who has researched the magnetic signatures of Jupiter's moons; and Ed Stone, the former director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The discussion starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $18 for National Geographic members and $20 for nonmembers.
We're surprised by the number of great shows in town this week that haven't sold out. Maybe everyone's glued to election coverage? Anyway, that's our explanation for tickets to the Rock N Roll Hotel's (1353 H St. NE) Titus Andronicus show still being available.
Titus Andronicus seemed a Washington mainstay, playing a venue every few months for the past few years -- headlining a show at the Black Cat and opening for the Pogues and Okkervil River at the 9:30 Club last year alone. Touring on its latest album, "Local Business," the band is back in town with its style of fist-pumping, fast-moving indie-punk that descends from the Buzzcocks, the Replacements and the Stooges. And they put on one hell of a show!
Doors open at 7 p.m., and we recommend not waiting to get tickets at the door. Also, don't miss openers Ceremony and True Head -- they're worth seeing on their own, as well.
ART ON ROCKS
A smaller scale of the Corcoran's annual bash, Artini, the Art League Gallery (105 N. Union St., Alexandria; in the Torpedo Factory Art Center) has challenged six local mixologists -- from Bastille, Chadwick's, Columbia Firehouse, the Light Horse Restaurant, Red Rocks Pizza Napoletana and Union Street Public House -- to each select a piece of artwork from its current "Color Sphere" exhibit as inspiration to create the most artistic cocktail.
For $35, ticket holders get to sample all the fruity and fun cocktails and vote for their favorite at the event. Appetizers from the restaurants, drawings for prizes and live music by the Gassmann Duo will make the Art on the Rocks evening a good time.
Who doesn't love great art and cocktails? To purchase tickets to the 6 to 9 p.m. event, visit theartleague.org.