Metro Weekly

Above and Beyond: Comedy, Readings, Discussions, Spoken Word, Multimedia, Tastings, Tours in D.C.

Fall Arts Preview 2013

Next weekend ushers in the National Book Festival on the National Mall, and later comes a locally focused day-long literary event at the Folger Library followed by the big annual Jewish Literary Festival. But there’s plenty of silly to go with the studious and serious when looking for things to see and do beyond the traditional arts this season. From stand-up comedians to funny storytellers, drag kings and queens to Halloween costume parties, you’ll no doubt stay entertained. Why, even your dog can get in on the act at Hillwood. How howlarious is that?

9:30 CLUB

815 V St. NW

  • The Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival Opening Night — BrightestYoungThings presents a four-day comedy festival in October curated by comedian Tig Notaro and landing at venues The Sphinx Club, U Street Music Hall and the Lincoln Theatre, but the launch is at the 9:30 Club, with stand-up from, among others, Notaro, Doug Benson and Wyatt Cenac (10/10)
  • Comedy Bang! Bang! LIVE! — Scott Aukerman and IFC present this tour with special guest Paul F. Tompkins and opening act the Birthday Boys (10/15)


McLean Community Center
1234 Ingleside Ave.
McLean, Va.

  • Pat Hazell: The Wonder Bread Years — A salute to Baby Boomers written and starring this Seinfeld writer in a mix of stand-up and theater (10/26)
  • The Capitol Steps — Political satire from the best in the business (1/4/14)
  • The Gizmo Guys — Allan Jacobs and Barrett Felker are your comedy jugglers for the evening (1/12/14)
  • MLK Celebration: Andrew Young — A key strategist and negotiator during the Civil Rights era — and later mayor of Atlanta and U.S. congressman from Georgia — will reflect on his life’s work and the future in ”A Continuing Legacy” (1/17/14)


2903 Columbia Pike

  • Cool Cow Comedy Showcase – A 60-minute comedy show every Thursday night
  • ThreeGuysOn presents The Final Draft — Hosts of popular podcast present this comedy show every Friday night
  • Brad Wollack — The funny schlub (and butt of so many jokes) on Chelsea Lately (9/20-21)
  • Reel Rock Film Tour 8 — This film festival presents the best climbing and adventure films of the year (9/25-26)
  • Joe Matarese — Another familiar straight comedian from guest spots on Chelsea Lately (9/27-28)
  • Josh Wolf Another familiar, straight comedian from guest spots on Chelsea Lately (10/4-5)


1101 Wilson Blvd.
703-875-1100 or cultureDC

  • Night of 1,000 Andys Dance Party — In conjunction with its installation of Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds, Artisphere presents a party that will culminate in a Warhol look-alike contest, but also feature performances by genre-busting costumed musical spectacle March Fourth Marching Band and electro/disco/funk duo Javelin, plus creative pop-art play stations (10/12)
  • Not So Silent Cinema Presents Nosferatu — As part of a Halloween Special Program, Artisphere presents Not So Silent Cinema’s live Klezmer quintet accompanying a screening of Max Shreck’s legendary 1922 silent film, Nosferatu, with haunting music, including Gypsy grooves and classic horror effects, that is both suspenseful and campy (10/26)


201 Prince St.
Alexandria, Md.

  • SLAM: Alexandria Poetry Slam (9/20)
  • Banned Book Week Read-Out — Various Alexandria poets, politicians and students will read excerpts from classic books that have been nonetheless been targeted and banned by overzealous leaders around the country (9/23)
  • Lost Books of Antiquity — Many of the great books of classical antiquity no longer exist, having been burned, traded, cut up, badly stored, written over or carbonized by the heat of volcanic eruptions (9/27)


1333 H St. NE

  • Library Late: L’Etranger/Remix — An interdisciplinary visual and aural experience, including contemporary electronic music and original images mixed by video artists Orchid Bite, and centered on The Stranger by Albert Camus, in honor of his centennial year (11/8)


1811 14th St. NW

  • Dr. Who Happy Hour – One episode of Dr. Who and drink specials every Friday, for free
  • Hellmouth Happy Hour – One episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and drink specials every Saturday, for free
  • Gilded Lily Burlesque (9/20)
  • The 2013 Halloween Circus (10/31)

John Waters

John Waters

(Photo by Todd Franson)


3701 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, Md.

  • Gad Elmaleh — Three nights of stand-up from a French-Moroccan actor and comic — and all in French, bien sur (9/16-18)
  • The Official Blues Brothers Revue (9/27)
  • Wil Wheaton vs. Paul & Storm (10/3)
  • Belladonna & Ken Vegas Present Raven’s Night 2013: Villains — Another year, another Halloween-pegged very LGBT-friendly ”Dark & Decadent Belly Dance Show,” with women in various attire, including male drag (10/26)
  • The Four Bitchin’ Babes — ”Mid Life Vices!” (11/9)
  • Paula Poundstone — If you wait too long to buy tickets, which are going fast, you’ll be crying ”Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me It’s Sold Out!” (11/16)
  • A John Waters Christmas (12/18)


2021 14th St. NW

  • Sunday Kind of Love Open Mic Poetry – Every week featuring emerging and established poets in an open-mike segment
  • Tuesday Night Open Mic Poetry – Wide-ranging topics and speakers for two hours every Tuesday
  • Story League Story Contest – Every third Wednesday of the month brings ”story shows,” or collaborative story-performing exercises in which storytellers get guidance on honing their craft; the best wins $100 (9/18)
  • SPARKLE Queer Open Mic – Queer-friendly, queer-focused reading series, hosted by Regie Cabico and Danielle Evennou (10/6)
  • Nine on the Ninth Open Mic Poetry – The 9th of every month, at 9 p.m.
  • The 11th Hour Poetry Slam – Opportunity for poetry lovers to enjoy the competitive art of late-night performance poetry (10/11)


University of Maryland
College Park, Md.

  • Orpheus’ Son: The Life and Legacy of Sidney Lanier and His Music of Language — UMD Professor Gran Wilson interweaves music performance with poetry readings to introduce the poignant life story of a Baltimore poet and flutist, who taught at Johns Hopkins University and performed with the Peabody Symphony (9/26)
  • Sidney Lanier’s ”Science of English Verse” — UMD professor Gran Wilson offers a lecture about this American poet’s poetry theory and techniques (10/3)
  • Crafting Inspiration: Why The Speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Still Motivate Us Today — WAMU’s show host extraordinaire Kojo Nnamdi moderates a panel of communications experts to discuss the similarities and resonance of two speeches separated by almost 100 years (10/7)
  • Same Sex Marriage and the Faith Community: A Conversation about Equal Rights — Kojo Nnamdi moderates this panel discussing ways to reconcile biblical teachings and modern sexuality (11/12)


Georgetown University
3700 O St. NW

  • The Georgetown Improv Association – A monthly night of improv inspired by audience suggestions and showcasing the performers’ (hopefully) quick wit (10/12)
  • Future of Music Summit 2012 — The only national conference that focuses on the connections between musicians and fans, policymakers and academics, legal experts and technologists, media professionals and entrepreneurs (10/28-29)


1140 Connecticut Ave. NW

  • LaVell Crawford — Probably the biggest (literally) funny man in the business (9/13-15)
  • DC Improv Comedy School Comics – A night of improv comedy starring the house-grown troupe (9/20)
  • Dave Attell (9/20-22)
  • Funniest Celebrity in Washington, D.C. Contest — A benefit for the Final Salute Foundation (9/25)
  • Gary Valentine (9/26-28)
  • Earthquake (10/5-6)
  • John Caparulo (10/10-13)
  • Deon Cole (10/17-20)
  • Bert Kreischer (10/24-27)
  • Tony Rock — Chris’s brother (10/31-11/3)
  • Steve Byrne (11/7-10)
  • Flip Orley — America’s premier comic hypnotist (11/13-17)
  • Bob Marley — Not that Bob Marley, but the still-living comedian (11/20-24)
  • Donnell Rawlings (11/29-12/1)
  • Gary Owen (12/5-8)
  • Alonzo Bodden (12/12-15)
  • Rory Scovel (12/19-21)
  • Christina Pazsitzky & Tom Segura (12/27-29)


201 East Capitol St. SE

  • District of Literature: Our Literary District — Elizabeth Alexander, Edward P. Jones, E. Ethelbert Miller and George Pelecanos participate in a discussion about D.C.-based authors as part of a free, day-long festival (9/30, Lutheran Church of the Reformation)
  • Tom Perrotta & Maria SempleThe Human Comedy: Serious Humor in the American Novel authors read as part of the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series (10/22)
  • Mortally Beautiful: C.K. Williams and Stanley Plumly — Poetry reading and discussion (10/28)
  • Philip Caputo & Kevin PowersBlood Lines: The Literature of War authors read as party of the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series (11/4)
  • The Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize: Shelley Puhak (11/18)
  • PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story: George Saunders (12/6)
  • Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute: Peter Gizzi (12/9)


511 10th St. NW

  • History on Foot Walking Tour – ”Investigation: Detective McDevitt” follows an actor dressed up as a detective in the Civil War era investigating the Lincoln assassination (Saturdays through October)
  • In conjunction with its new production of The Laramie Project, Ford’s Theatre offers a series of events about homophobia and hate crimes against minorities, among them, With Malice Toward None: Judy Shepard, a Mother’s Response to Hate (9/30)
  • Panel Discussion: With Charity for All: Lives Changed by Hate (10/7)
  • Panel Discussion: To Bind up the Nation’s Wounds: Communities Respond to Hate (10/21)
  • Panel Discussion: To Achieve and Cherish a Just and Lasting Peace: Envisioning a World Beyond Hate (10/28)


600 14th St. NW

  • Howard Gospel Brunch — Howard University’s Howard Gospel Choir performs two hour-long shows every Sunday while diners enjoy a buffet at this Clyde’s Restaurant Group establishment (every Sunday)
  • Newmyer Flyer Presents: Halloween Howl — Various local music acts, including Steve and Annie Sidleys, Laura Tsaggaris and Mark Noone, perform along with monsters from the last 40 years, from Werewolves of London to Thriller to Bad Moon Rising (10/25)
  • Janeane Garofalo — The liberal firebrand actress and comedian is celebrating 21 years in the business (10/26)


620 T St. NW

  • Live Viewing Party: Mayweather vs. Canelo — A live broadcast from Las Vegas of one of the biggest fights in the history of the brutal sport of boxing; after the bloodbath, what better way to celebrate than with an after-party with DJ, live band, prizes and special guests? (9/14)
  • Howard Gospel Brunch — Another gospel-show-over-brunch option, this one featuring a house choir welcoming a different guest gospel star each week (every Sunday)
  • The Huggy Lowdown Comedy Throwdown (9/25)
  • Rev. Al Sharpton — The political provocateur-cum-TV-talk-show host talks about his new book, The Rejected Stone (10/12)


4155 Linnean Ave. NW

  • Gay Day – Activities at the 12th annual Gay Day at Hillwood include an LGBT family garden party with Rainbow Families DC, “Punch on the Portico,” exclusive peeks into rooms not usually open to the public, vintage cars from Straight Eights, and performances by singers from the a cappella group Not What You Think and DC Lambda Squares (9/28)
  • Hands-on Workshop: How to Get Your Orchid to Rebloom (10/5, 10/12)
  • Spooky Pooch Howl-o-ween Celebration – This one’s gone to the dogs (10/26)
  • Fabulous Wreath Workshop (12/6-7)
  • Russian Winter Festival (12/15)


1529 16th St. NW

  • Selected Highlights: Opening Night: E.L. Doctorow — Celebrated novelist offers an exclusive preview of his newest book, Andrew’s Brain: A Novel (10/6, Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center)
  • Mark Cohen: Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman — Hear long-lost parodies of Broadway favorites from this comedian, who 50 years ago released the hit ”Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” (10/8)
  • Jeremy Dauber, The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem: The Remarkable Life and Afterlife of the Man Who Created Tevye — What would Jewish-American life be without Fiddler on the Roof? (10/9)
  • Ben Urwand, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (10/10)
  • Dan Savage, American Savage: Insights, Slights and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love and Politics (10/12, Foundry United Methodist Church)
  • Allen Salkin. From Scratch: Inside the Food Network (10/14)
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz, For The Next Generation: A Wake-Up Call to Solving Our Nation’s Problems (10/16)


3309 Bunker Hill Road
Mount Rainier, Md.

  • Comedy Supreme’s Anniversary Show: Abbi Crutchfield — A stand-up comedy show featuring an all-female lineup and a DJ between sets (10/12)
  • Late Night Expressions 2013 — Deviated Theatre co-produces this evening supporting local alternative performance artists (10/19)
  • Art Auction (11/2)


1212 Cathedral St.
Baltimore, Md.

  • Amy Schumer — The American stand-up comedian and Comedy Central star (10/4)
  • Charlie Wilson (10/6)
  • David Sedaris — The gay hilarious author and essayist offers more jokes on tour (10/17)



  • Saul Lilienstein: Wagner at 200 — Musicologist examines the arc of artistic achievement that begins with Wagner’s music and spreads across Europe to profoundly influence composers, writers and artists (10/12)
  • Saul Lilienstein: Verdi at 200 — Musicologist examines the musically rich middle period of Verdi, the most important of all Italian composers (10/26)
  • Ballet 360: The Magic of Swan Lake — Dance critic Alexandra Tomalonis uses video of well-known ballets to take us beyond the steps and into the fine craft of making a ballet (1/25/14)


730 21st St. NW

  • Im Hussein Jubilee Show — Celebrating 25 years of comedy staged by the Ajyal Theatrical Group, the first Arab-American theatrical group in North America (9/21)
  • Richard Dawkins (9/29)
  • Mirman, Hodgman, Schaal — Sandwich to Go Tour (10/16)
  • David Sedaris — Reading and speaking from his new book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (10/18)


1215 U St. NW

  • Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale — A one-man show from this Oscar-nominated New York actor, writer and director (10/3)
  • Bentzen Ball Comedy Festival feat. Ira Glass and Friends (10/13)
  • Cheech & Chong (10/24)


140 West Mount Royal Ave.
Baltimore, Md.

  • Spank! The Fifty Shades parody (10/18)
  • So You Think You Can Dance (10/21)


National Mall
9th and 14th Streets NW

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are honorary chairs once again for the National Book Festival, now in its 13th year. The Library of Congress organizes the event featuring the nation’s best and best-selling authors discussing their work and interacting with fans. Linda Ronstadt, Andrew Solomon, Hoda Kotb, Jonathan Hennessey, Evan Thomas, Terry McMillan, Christopher Buckley, Mark Helprin and Joyce Carol Oates are just a few of the many others on tap this year (9/21-22)


Grosvenor Auditorium
NGS Headquarters
1600 M St. NW

  • Jonathan Alderfer: Bird Walk Adventure to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens & National Arboretum — National Geographic author, artist and editor leads a day-long excursion to two Alexandria parks home to hundreds of species of birds (9/21)
  • Jonathan Alderfer: Bird Walk Adventure to Huntley Meadows & Dyke Marsh — National Geographic author, artist and editor leads a day-long excursion to observe waterfowl and migratory birds (10/5)
  • Michael ”Nick” Nichols, Earth to Sky: Among Africa’s Elephants, A Species in Crisis — One of the world’s leading wildlife photojournalists shares stories and reads from his forthcoming book advocating for the protection of elephants, whose survival is threatened by humankind (10/15)
  • David Pogue and The Science of EverythingThe New York Times technology columnist leads an evening of discovery based on a new National Geographic book (11/4)
  • Tim Cope: On The Trail of Genghis Khan — Explorer discusses his recent 6,000-mile expedition by horse from Mongolia to Hungary (11/7)
  • Steve Winter and Sharon Guynup: Tigers Forever — Award-winning wildlife photographer and author talks about his forthcoming National Geographic book about two of the planet’s iconic felines, the tiger and the cougar, and efforts to save them (11/19)
  • Richard Crawford: The Whiskeys of Scotland — Sample whiskies from Scotland led by this James Beard Award winner (11/22)
  • Rhett Allain, Peter Vesterbacka: What Makes Angry Birds Soar? — Author of the book Angry Birds Furious Forces!: The Physics at Play in the World’s Most Popular Game discusses the No. 1 paid iPhone app of all time alongside the head of the company, Rovio, which created the franchise (12/4)


33 West St.

  • Capitol Steps (9/28)
  • Jim Belushi & The Chicago Board of Comedy (11/1)
  • Paula Poundstone (11/15)


600 I St. NW

  • Lee Camp w/Brian Parlse — ”Comedy, Revolution and Beer” is the name of the new one-man show from this man who stole the spotlight at Sixth & I’s Downstairs Comedy show; opener won first place in Pardon the Pundit’s Political Comedy Competition (10/19)
  • Jeff Ross — Host of Comedy Central’s The Burn with Jeff Ross performs his no-holds-barred style of comedy that has earned him the nickname of ”Roastmaster General” (10/27)
  • Maria Bamford — Hilariously dead-panned and delightfully off-kilter comedian (11/9)



  • Solo Double Feature: Anne Thomas, John Donvan — Attorney and advocate Thomas reads ”No More Helen Keller Jokes: Stories of Living Large Through the Seat of My Pants” while ABC News’ Donvan reads from ”Lose The Kid” (Remaining dates 9/14, 9/21, 9/28, Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint)
  • What Was I Thinking? — A night of (hopefully) hilarious true stories about mistakes, missteps and things that went horribly wrong (9/29, Birchmere)
  • Going Viral — Stories about things that spread, invade and multiply (10/8, Town Danceboutique)
  • Keeping up with The Joneses — Stories about climbing, covering and competing (11/12, Town Danceboutique)
  • Destiny’s Child — Stories about fate, serendipity and coincidence (12/10, Town Danceboutique)


5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda

  • Bill Engvall — The Blue Collar Comedy Tour staple is way out of his element in North Bethesda (10/6, Music Center)
  • Amy TanThe Joy Luck Club author stops by for an evening discussion (11/15, Music Center)


513 13th St. NW

  • The truTV Impractical Jokers Tour feat. The Tenderloins (10/4)
  • John Oliver — A night of standup from the sub-par sub host for Jon Stewart this summer on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show (11/8)
  • Margaret Cho – Queer comedian’s new standup show, Mother, offers an untraditional look at motherhood and strong women but, sadly, little riffing on her own mother (11/9)

Above and Beyond Television Pop, Rock and Jazz Galleries Dance Classical Music Stage Film

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.