A Moment in the Reeds
13TH ANNUAL HUMP! FILM FESTIVAL
Sex advice columnist Dan Savage offers up a sex-positive, rough-around-the-edges assortment of homemade pornography — gay, straight, fetish, you name it. “Hump!” is less erotic than it is avant garde. While definitely not soft-core, it’s less about titillation than breaking down sexual barriers. Savage has curated the annual festival since 2005, with each year bringing a new batch of shorts, each clocking in at less than five minutes, featuring amateurs revelling in sexual expression. Thursday, April 19. Doors at 7 p.m. Also Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21. Doors at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Black Cat Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-667-4490 or visit humpfilmfest.com.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
Malcolm McDowell is over-the-top magnificent as a Beethoven-loving ringleader of a band of thugs in one of Stanley Kubrick’s most shocking and powerful films. Based on Anthony Burgess’s novel, the film, which features extreme violence and a horrific rape sequence, caused such an uproar on its release in 1971 that Kubrick demanded it be pulled from theaters. It remains one of the most powerful films about the evils of society ever made. It’s the latest in the April series “Heeere’s Kubrick” at area venues in the Angelika movie theater chain. Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Call 800-680-9095 or visit angelikapopup.com. Also at the Angelika Film Center Mosaic, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax, Va. Call 571-512-3301 or visit angelikafilmcenter.com.
A MOMENT IN THE REEDS
This month’s Reel Affirmations Xtra screening is an intimate drama about the chance encounter of two men by a Finnish lakeside. Among the first queer-themed feature films made in Finland, Mikko Makela’s A Moment in the Reeds focuses on Leevi, who returns home from studying abroad to help renovate the family lake house with his father and hired help Tareq, a Syrian asylum seeker. Leevi and Tareq proceed to give into their mutual attraction and discover one another. Rayceen Pendarvis of The Ask Rayceen Show hosts the screening, which is preceded by a Cocktails and Cinema Open Bar Happy Hour with DJ Honey. Friday, April 20, starting at 6 p.m. HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Tickets are $12, or a VIP Pass for $25 including reserved seating, a complimentary cocktail, and candy or popcorn. Visit thedccenter.org.
A STAR IS BORN
Judy Garland plays a young singer who saves a famous star — an alcoholic whose career is on the wane — from making a fool of himself on stage. The irony is rich in this classic directed by George Cukor starring the gay icon who would go on to make a fool of herself on stage. A Star Is Born screens as part of Landmark’s West End Cinema Capital Classics weekly series. Wednesday, April 18, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m., 2301 M St. NW. Happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit landmarktheatres.com.
Brian Shoaf’s drama stars Zachary Quinto — also a producer of the film — as a troubled man who has lived in the shadow of his brother (Jon Hamm) for so long, he starts seeing that shadow everywhere. Enter Jenny Slate as a young therapist charged with caring for Quinto’s character, who gets entangled in her patient’s obsession instead. (It currently has just 22 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so you may want to obsess over something else.) Opens Friday, April 13. Area theaters, including the Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE, Unit E. Call 800-680-9095 or visit angelikapopup.com.
BLUMHOUSE’S TRUTH OR DARE
What would happen if not playing Truth or Dare properly had lethal consequences? That’s the question asked in Jeff Hadlow’s horror. Anytime someone refuses a dare or tells a lie, they get punished by someone… or something. Expect a sequel about the consequences of not kissing during spin the bottle. Opens Friday, April 13. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
LEAN ON PETE
If what’s missing in your life is a coming-of-age tale in which a teenager steals a fading racehorse and runs away with him, this drama from Andrew Haigh (Weekend) based on the novel by Willy Vlautin is here to help. Charlie Plummer apparently gives a great performance as Charley, who takes horse Lean on Pete from his disgruntled owner (Steve Buscemi) and proceeds to meet a bunch of colorful small-town Americana characters on his journey away from home. Opens Friday, April 13. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)
The 1986 arcade game Rampage had a simple premise: Take control of a gigantic, mutated monster — a gorilla, a dinosaur/lizard, or a werewolf — and smash your way through as many cities as possible. Naturally, Hollywood has taken that idea, made it needlessly convoluted, charged Dwayne Johnson with stopping the monsters, and spent millions pasting over plot holes with CGI. Ah, movies. Opens Friday, April 13. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)
Documentaries focused on the Israel-Palestine conflict screen for free on select Sundays as part of Voices from the Holy Land series, now in its fourth year and sponsored by 41 area interfaith, interdenominational, and civic groups. Among the offerings over the next two Sundays are screenings of Mordechai Vardi’s hopeful 2017 feature-length look at the Roots Project, followed by a moderated discussion with the audience. A first-of-its-kind initiative, Roots finds Palestinians and Israeli settlers working towards coexistence and peace not through politics but rather through a grassroots movement. All of it stems from the work of Ali Abu Awwad, who over the past few years has hosted regular sessions on his land at which people on both sides of the conflict share their stories and discuss their hopes and ideas for a better future. Screens Sunday, April 15, at 2:30 p.m. Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St. SW. Also Sunday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd., Virginia. Both screenings are followed by a moderated discussion with the audience. Visit voicesfromtheholyland.org for more details.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Landmark’s E Street Cinema presents its monthly run of Richard O’Brien’s camp classic, billed as the longest-running midnight movie in history. Landmark’s showings come with a live shadow cast from the Sonic Transducers, meaning it’s even more interactive than usual. Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at midnight. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit landmarktheatres.com.
YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
Lynne Ramsay’s thriller, adapted from Jonathan Ames’ novella, follows a traumatized veteran who hunts down missing girls for a living, until one job starts spiralling out of control — both personally and professionally. The film received a seven-minute ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, while Ramsey’s screenplay and direction and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as lead character Joe have received particular praise. Original music composed by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Opens Friday, April 13. Area theaters. Visit fandango.com. (RM)
American College Theatre Festival
The edgy, innovative, and immersive local company Rorschach Theatre presents Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s dark play exploring identity, love, tradition, and progress, and set in the afterlife. Gregory Keng Strasser directs Linda Bard, Yasmin Tuazon, Sebastian Amoruso, Andrew Quilpa, and Jacob Yeh in this tale about a Chinese-American boy and his video game-style struggle with the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and the Monkey King. Closes Sunday, April 15. Lab Theatre II in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit rorschachtheatre.com.
AFTER THE REHEARSAL AND PERSONA
Celebrated Belgian director Ivo van Hove (the recent, stunning Broadway revival of A View From The Bridge) has brilliantly reimagined for the stage two Ingmar Bergman screenplays for a theatrical double-bill delving into the messy lives of stage artists. The Kennedy Center presents van Hove and his acclaimed ensemble Toneelgroep Amsterdam performing in Dutch with projected English titles as part of the “Bergman 100 Celebration” honoring the legendary Swedish artist, considered one of the most accomplished and influential auteurs of all time. Opens Thursday, April 19, at 8 p.m. To April 22. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $29 to $59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
AMERICAN COLLEGE THEATER FESTIVAL
All week long, the Kennedy Center has been hosting outstanding theater students from universities across the nation as part of this annual national festival, which offers master classes and visits to leading D.C. theater companies. The festival concludes with a public performance of the finalists in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships. Eighteen students from eight regions of the U.S. audition before a panel of theater experts, who will determine the winners of $3,000 in scholarships. “You really get blown away by these kids,” marvels Gregg Henry, a former Irene Ryan finalist from 1979 who now runs the festival for the Kennedy Center. The first half of the evening is straight plays, while the second is dedicated to musical theater. Friday, April 13, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $25. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Somewhere inside Roxie Hart’s first number, “Funny Honey,” during which the brazen, fame-craving floozy introduces her sorry sap of a husband Amos, it dawns that this Roxie is bananas. Portrayed by Maria Rizzo with a bold mix of moxie and murderous rage, she’s Roxie unhinged. And she is amazing. Matched with Michael Innocenti’s portrayal of Amos, who’s a perfectly pathetic patsy, and Kurt Boehm’s solid take on fast-talking flim-flammer Billy Flynn, this Roxie revitalizes the familiar tale of celebrity and corruption. Extended to April 14. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $45 to $55. Call 202-265-3767, or visit KeeganTheatre.com. (Andre Hereford)
FLY BY NIGHT
Kim Rosenstock conceived of this darkly comic rock fable, developed with Will Connolly and Michael Mitnick, set during a New York City blackout in 1965 and focused on a man who becomes enchanted with two sisters. Kathryn Chase Bryer directs a local production of the bittersweet romance, a sweeping ode to young love, featuring Aaron Bliden, Tiziano D’Affuso, Ryan Manning, Sasha Olinick, Farrell Parker, Jamie Smithson, and Caroline Wolfson. Walter “Bobby” McCoy serves as musical director. Opens in previews Thursday, April 12. Weekends to May 6. 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $38. Call 703-854-1856 or visit 1ststage.org.
In 1993, Matthew Sweet toured as an opening act for newly out lesbian rocker Melissa Etheridge. Sweet’s power-pop tunes — including 1991 alt-rock album Girlfriend — continue their LGBTQ appeal and connection, soundtracking a gay coming-of-age theatrical tale set in ’90s-era small-town Nebraska. Matthew Gardiner directs Lukas James Miller and Jimmy Mavrikes as a college-bound jock and his first boyfriend in the D.C. premiere of a chamber musical with music and lyrics by Sweet and a book by Todd Almond. Opens in previews Tuesday, April 17. To June 10. The Ark, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
I DID IT MY WAY IN YIDDISH (IN ENGLISH)
MetroStage concludes its Spring Solo Series — “celebrating work by women, about women, starring women,” as a nod to the now-wrapped Women’s Voices Theater Festival — with a show by Canadian/New Zealand comic/musician Deb Filler, who strums her guitar and portrays a raft of lovable characters as she weaves tales about encounters with three Lennys. Opens Friday, April 13. To April 29. 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $45. Call 703-548-9044 or visit metrostage.org.
A quietly suspenseful and transfixing work by Annie Baker, one of today’s most celebrated up-and-coming playwrights. Joe Calarco directs legendary local actress Nancy Robinette as a slightly kooky innkeeper in Gettysburg, where a New York couple has taken up refuge to escape the hubbub of the holidays — only to be disturbed by a pesky ghost. Jonathan Feuer, Anna Moon, and Ilona Dulaski also star. To April 29 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
LET IT BE: A CELEBRATION OF THE MUSIC OF THE BEATLES
What if the Fab Four had reunited a decade after their break-up? That’s the premise behind this theatrical romp through the Beatles’ repertoire, from the seminal performance of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” on The Ed Sullivan Show to hits from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road. The second half is styled as a Beatles reunion performance, where the crowd goes wild — as it did in previous runs on Broadway and London’s West End. Saturday, April 14, at 3 and 8 p.m. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $45 to $85. Call 202-628-6161 or visit thenationaldc.org.
Five gay Filipino guest workers care for elderly Orthodox men in Israel by day and headline a drag show by night. Philip Himberg’s “karaoke musical,” based on Tomer Heymann’s uplifting and thought-provoking 2006 documentary, makes its American premiere kicking off Mosaic Theater Company’s 2018 Voices From A Changing Middle East Festival. Mark Brokaw (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) directs a production with choreography by Jeff Michael Rebudal and a cast including Ariel Felix, Kevin L. Shen, Evan D’Angeles, Rafael Sebastian, Jon Norman Schneider, John Bambery, Chris Bloch, Lise Bruneau, Elan Zafir, Brice Guerriere, Chris Daileader, and Dallas Milholland. Extended to April 29. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit mosaictheater.org.
Co-written and co-performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, this “Unauthorized Harry Experience” is a loving parody of Hogwarts. “What we attempt to do is condense all seven Harry Potter books into 70 minutes,” Clarkson told Metro Weekly during a previous tour of the show. With Turner in the titular role, Clarkson is left to assume all the 360 other characters, plus they even throw in “a live game of Quidditch.” A critical and commercial success everywhere it’s played after its launch at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Potted Potter returns for another local run presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Now to April 22. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
Roz and Ray — Photo: C. Stanley Photography
ROZ AND RAY
A gripping medical drama about a doctor at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, as Dr. Roz Kagan offers a new miracle drug to save Ray Leon’s hemophiliac twins. Theater J’s Adam Immerwahr directs the East Coast premiere of Karen Hartman’s play exploring the complex issues surrounding biomedical ethics and starring two of D.C.’s greatest contemporary actors, Susan Rome and Tom Story. To April 29. Theater J, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $39 to $69. Call 202-777-3210 or visit theaterj.org.
THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE
Few companies do epic adventure on an intimate scale as fantastically as Constellation Theatre Company. Bertolt Brecht’s story, with its vivid characters, high-stakes scenarios, and live music, should put that award-winning theatrical sleight of hand into sharp relief. Allison Arkell Stockman directs 14 actors playing more than 60 characters in a 360-degree theatrical experience — “no curtain, no back wall, no proscenium” — propelled by an original rock-inspired score by Brian Lotter and Matthew Schleigh and performed live by a three-piece band. Based on an English translation by Alistair Beaton, The Caucasian Chalk Circle finds the heroism of a woman who saves an abandoned baby put on trial during a time of corruption and violence in the Caucasus Mountains. To May 13. Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $45. Call 202-204-7741 or visit constellationtheatre.org.
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Quirky Landless Theatre is testing “its mettle and metal” approach with Rupert Holmes’ The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The 1986 choose-your-own-ending musical is a dark tale of deception, based on the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens. Landless brings together artists from the theater and music worlds to help give the show the power and punch of a rock concert. Melissa Baughman directs Lily Hoy in the title role. With Steve Wannall, Melissa LaMartina, and Andrew Lloyd Baughman. To April 29. Trinidad Theatre in the Logan Fringe Art Space, 1358 Florida Ave. NE. Tickets are $25. Call 202-737-7230 or visit landlesstheatre.com.
Fairfax’s Helen Hayes Award-winning Hub Theatre celebrates 10 years by reprising its inaugural production, Craig Wright’s modern twist on Our Town. Kelsey Mesa directs Nora Achrati, Matt Bassett, and Helen R. Murray in a work, by turns metaphysical and comic, romantic and philosophical, that follows a man returning home for his 20th high school reunion in hopes of rekindling things with his childhood sweetheart. Closes Sunday, April 15. The John Swayze Theatre in the New School of Northern Virginia, 9431 Silver King Court, Fairfax. Tickets are $22 to $32. Visit thehubtheatre.org.
THE NORMAL HEART
George Boyd directs a production of Larry Kramer’s searing, Tony-winning drama about AIDS, a central work to the history of the LGBTQ movement and its theater. Presented as part of its 25th anniversary season, Richmond Triangle Players touts The Normal Heart as one of the most important plays of the modern era. Opens Wednesday, April 18. To May 12. The Robert B. Moss Theatre, 1300 Altamont Ave., Richmond. Tickets are $10 to $30. Call 804-346-8113 or visit rtriangle.org.
Friends of Dorothy, both young and young at heart, should find plenty to love in Ford’s Theatre’s The Wiz. And “plenty” is the operative word for director Kent Gash’s smile-inducing production, which amps up the camp fabulousness of the classic ’70s “super soul musical” journey to L. Frank Baum’s wonderful world of Oz. Featuring beloved music and lyrics by Charles Small, a book by William F. Brown, and one glorious number composed by then-rising talent Luther Vandross, this African-American spin on Dorothy’s adventures in Oz was plentiful long before Gash’s twister blew through Ford’s. Yet his staging expands the show’s varied palette of gospel, jazz, funk, and soul-infused Americana by adding a glossy layer of queer-friendly attitude. A gay cornucopia of music and fashion, The Wiz might allow Baum’s original story and themes to slip somewhat through the cracks of the dancefloor. The tale’s rougher edges of abandonment and anxiety have been smoothed over by a pithy comic sensibility ready to drop hip references to Siri and Wakanda. But what this rendering loses of the standard “no place like home” moral is compensated for by an affecting sincerity in the heroes’ pursuits of brains, heart, courage, and family. To May 12. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $73. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fords.org. (AH)
TOP AND BOTTOM
Five years after its formation, the LGBTQ-focused Rainbow Theatre Project’s strong work is not going unnoticed — and as evidenced by being nominated as an Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company at this year’s Helen Hayes Awards. The company closes out its current season with a recent hit at the New York Fringe Festival exploring intimacy and identity in a gay world of labels and stereotypes. A comedy by Kevin Michael West (The DOMA Diaries), Top and Bottom focuses on an encounter between two guys who want to explore their sexual bondage fantasies, but they’re a bit klutzy, a bit nerdy, and a bit unsure of what they’re doing, and as a result everything goes a bit awry. Dimitri Gann and Ryan Townsend star. Production contains full male nudity. To April 29. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-462-7833 or visit dcartscenter.org.
British army engineers arrive in 19th-century rural Ireland to draw new borders and translate local place names into the King’s English in a work dating to 1980 from celebrated Irish playwright Brian Friel (Dancing at Lughnasa). “Born out of a contested cultural moment,” says Studio’s David Muse, “Friel’s classic about language and all of its limits will have particular resonance in this town at this time.” Directed by the company’s Belfast-born Associate Artistic Director Matt Torney and starring Caroline Dubberly, Megan Graves, Martin Giles, Molly Carden, Matthew Aldwin McGee, Jeff Keogh, and Joe Mallon. To April 22. Metheny Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Eugene Lee plays the owner of a soon-to-be-demolished diner in a changing black Pittsburgh neighborhood circa 1969 in this quintessential epic drama from the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. Also reprising their roles from a celebrated Seattle Repertory Theatre production to Arena Stage’s theater-in-the-round are Carlton Byrd, William Hall Jr., Reginald Andre Jackson, Nicole Lewis, Frank Riley III, and David Emerson Toney. Juliette Carrillo directs this Wilsonian masterpiece, showing the impact of social change in the lives of everyday people. To April 29. Fichandler Stage, 1101 6th St. SW. Tickets are $50 to $99. Call 202-488-3300 or visit arenastage.org.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD GAME
Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard perform as two middle school teachers who get shockingly down and dirty with a lesson about race, sex, and power in this unflinching comedy. The two actors, affiliated with Philadelphia’s avant-garde theater troupe Pig Iron Theatre Company, go round after round on the mat of our nation’s history in a far-reaching, unfiltered, and unflinching comedy that won the 2017 Obie Award as Best New American Theatre Work. Taibi Magar directs the production from New York’s Ars Nova company and presented at Woolly Mammoth. Now to April 29. 641 D St. NW. Call 202-393-3939 or visit woollymammoth.net.
USE ALL AVAILABLE DOORS
Dupont Underground, the former subterranean streetcar station, returns to its transit roots with this only-in-D.C. kind of play by Brittany Alyse Willis, performed on the stations’ real tracks and featuring seats made with cushions donated from a scrapped Metro car. A grieving operator re-evaluating her life’s path transports a revolving door of passengers in soon-to-be-decommissioned Metro cars traveling the length of the Red Line, from Shady Grove to Glenmont, with vignettes occurring between each stop showcasing the diversity of people, experiences, and happenings along the way. Toni Rae Salmi directs the production by local feminist theater company Pinky Swear Productions, co-presented by CulturalDC. The cast includes Lady Davonne, 2Deep Carter, Shane Marshall Solo, Ezra Tozian, Jay Sun, Darnell Eaton, Nexus, and Nicole Ruthmarie. Opens Friday, April 13. Weekends to May 6. 19 Dupont Circle NW. Tickets are $20 to $35. Visit pinkyswear-productions.com.
Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner debut their fourth musical developed as part of the Bold New Works for Intimate Stages series for Virginia theater company Creative Cauldron. With a book and lyrics by Smith set to music by Conner, the insightful, provocative Witch channels the current #MeToo zeitgeist while also examining the roots of misogyny and inequality across centuries and cultures. Well-regarded local actors Florence Lacey and Iyona Blake lead an all-female cast also featuring Susan Derry and Catherine Purcell, plus student actors. To May 6. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE
A celebration of the mating game from gay Tony-winning scribe and lyricist Joe DiPietro (Memphis) and composer Jimmy Roberts, this musical comedy revue takes on the truths and myths behind modern love and relationships, as presented in the form of a series of vignettes. Touted as the second-longest running musical Off Broadway (after The Fantasticks), I Love You… sees a Baltimore community version directed by Fuzz Roark, with Mandee Ferrier Roberts as musical director and a cast of six taking on over 30 characters, all in search of love. To April 22. Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., Baltimore. Tickets are $18 to $22. Call 410-752-1225 or visit spotlighters.org.
MOON OVER BUFFALO
Ken Ludwig’s fast-paced screwball comedy circa 1995, a throwback farce, is a valentine to the stage, featuring characters with larger-than-life personalities. Set in 1953 in Buffalo, Charlotte and George Hay are the stars of a floundering touring theater company currently staging repertory productions of Noel Coward’s Private Lives and a “revised, one nostril version” of Cyrano de Bergerac. The Maryland community theater Laurel Mill Playhouse offers a production directed by Larry Simmons. Closes Sunday, April 15. 508 Main St., Laurel, Md. Tickets are $$15 to $20. Call 301-617-9906 or visit laurelmillplayhouse.org.
Sofi Tukker — Photo: Shervin Lainez
CONGRESSIONAL CHORUS: LET US ENTERTAIN YOU!
Subtitled “Children on Stage & Screen,” the latest program from the vocal group features its American Youth Chorus, comprised of singers aged 8 to 14, accompanied by the Congressional Chorus Chamber Ensemble. It’s an all-ages concert in every sense, however, as the chorus’ NorthEast Senior Singers is also featured. Saturday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. The Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol St. NE. Tickets are $17. Call 202-629-3140 or visit congressionalchorus.org.
D.C.’S DIFFERENT DRUMMERS: DC SWING!
“Groovin’, Soulin’, and Swingin'” is the name of the game for the the swing and jazz band part of the LGBTQ musical umbrella organization Different Drummers. The Big Band Era-loving ensemble performs a special Sunday afternoon show out in the ‘burbs of Virginia. Sunday, April 22, at 2 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $10. Call 703-255-3747 or visit jamminjava.com.
GMCW: SMALL ENSEMBLES EXTRAVAGANZA
All four of the select adult groups of the chorus — Potomac Fever, Rock Creek Singers, Seasons of Love, and 17th Street Dance — take the stage together for the first time for a concert of amazing music and dance in Wolf Trap’s intimate, acoustically rich confines. But like any Gay Men’s Chorus production, expect a mix of everything from gospel and pop to Broadway and Fosse — “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys to “Waving Through A Window” from Dear Evan Hansen,” to cite but two examples. Saturday, April 14, at 4 and 8 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $40 to $45. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit wolftrap.org.
HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF
Singer-songwriter and banjo player Alynda Lee Segarra, a New York native of Puerto Rican descent, leads this tender, bluegrass-inspired indie-folk collective, based in New Orleans. Telling NPR it’s “a very queer band” in 2014, Segarra identified herself as queer and as “a longtime ally of queer causes.” Currently performing as a trio with Caitlin Gray and Jordan Hyde, Hurray for the Riff Raff returns for a female-forward folk double-bill concert with Waxahatchee, Katie Crutchfield’s indie-folk/rock project, and presented by All Good. Bedouine, the alias of Armenian folk singer-songwriter Azniv Korkejian, opens. Sunday, April 15. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
Last fall this D.C.-based singer-songwriter became one of the first acts to perform at the intimate Pearl Street Warehouse in Southwest’s Wharf development. Tsaggaris is a strong live performer, as evidenced by her 2014 locally recorded set, Live at the Atlas, featuring acoustically reworked tracks from her impressive bluesy rock catalog and funded by fan contributions and pre-order sales. For her return, she shares a bill with folk singer-songwriter Todd Wright, while up-and-comer Kathryn Rheault opens this showcase of all-local talent. Sunday, April 22. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-380-9620 or visit pearlstreetwarehouse.com.
MAMA’S BLACK SHEEP
Ashland Miller and Laura Cerulli, who together make up the soulful folk-pop band Mama’s Black Sheep, both felt like the black sheep of their respective families. Why? Because they’re struggling artists, pursuing their artistic dreams. “We’re still [just] pickin’ and a grinnin’ in the beer joint, as my father likes to put it,” Miller joked to Metro Weekly when they performed at Capital Pride. Whatever you call them, just see them live — they’re really good. And they keep good company, too: Mama’s Black Sheep tours the country on the sixth “Sirens of Spring Tour,” a heady lesbian folk double-bill with Christine Havrilla and her rock/blues/country band, Gypsy Fuzz, which will preview new songs from a forthcoming release. Wednesday, April 18. Doors at 6 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 703-255-3747 or visit jamminjava.com.
MANSIONAIR, MIKKY EKKO, NOMBE
SiriusXM presents Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement Tour, and all three artists on the triple bill are certainly deserving of wider recognition. Sydney’s synth-pop trio Mansionair, featuring the ethereal falsetto of Jack Froggatt, has opened for Chvrches and Florence + The Machine, while Mikky Ekko, who you no doubt know from his stunning hit duet “Stay” with Rihanna a few years ago, will open for Fitz and the Tantrums and X Ambassadors in June at Wolf Trap. Just one spin through Ekko’s dramatic, melodically rich hip-pop tunes and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to come around. Finally there’s NoMBe, Chaka Khan’s godson who has just released his impressive tribute to women and feminism, They Might’ve Even Loved Me. Friday, April 13. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $13 to $23. Call 877-987-6487 or visit unionstage.com.
NEW ORCHESTRA OF WASHINGTON
The small chamber ensemble, led by the husband-and-wife team of artistic director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez and executive director and pianist Grace Cho, presents its resident company the Aeolus Quartet performing Antonín Dvořák’s String Quartet No. 12, nicknamed the “American Quartet.” And that’s the kickoff to a program of three works celebrating the sounds of America, at least early America, as it was heard by two towering composers from the last two centuries: Dvořák and George Gershwin. In a new arrangement for chamber orchestra, Iain Farrington puts a modern twist on one of the most iconic American folk operas with his Fantasy on Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Finally, a second Dvořák work — heard via another new arrangement by Farrington — is the centerpiece of the program, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9. One of the most popular of all symphonies, the Czech composer’s work, known as the “New World Symphony,” is notable for incorporating American folk elements, such as melodies drawn from African-American spirituals and rhythms and harmonies evoking Native-American music. Sunday, April 15, at 5 p.m. National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 240-745-6587 or visit neworchestraofwashington.org.
NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: SCHOOL FOR LOVERS
Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte is performed in a concert opera production by Strathmore’s resident orchestra led by Piotr Gajewski. Rising Washington-area native soprano Danielle Talamantes leads a roster of guest vocalists taking on roles in this delightful and elegant opera buffa, a tale of mistaken identities, love, trust, deceit, and reconciliation and featuring some of Mozart’s most beautiful music. The production also includes soloists Shirin Eskandani, Trevor Scheunemann, Norman Shankle, Arianna Zukerman, and Kenneth Kellogg. Saturday, April 14, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $30 to $76. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
PERPETUAL GROOVE W/CBDB
Variously described as a band playing “improv rock” and “trance arena rock,” the Athens, Ga.-based Perpetual Groove has become popular on the rock festival circuit with its funky blend of jazz, psychedelia, R&B, trance, progressive rock and anthemic pop. Opening for the collective is a kindred group, Alabama’s progressive rock/jam band CBDB, which has christened its style Joyfunk. Friday, April 13. Doors at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
Five years ago, the singer-songwriter-cum-trapeze artist Alecia Moore swung through town twice on her Truth About Love Tour, which the Hollywood Reporter dubbed “pop’s biggest spectacle.” All indications are the artist is still up to her spectacular show tricks, and she’s certainly still got the goods to support it, with last year’s accomplished Beautiful Trauma another showcase for her power — from vocal pipes to melodic hooks to dramatic lyrics. In addition to DJ Kid Cut Up, the main opening act for P!NK is Bleachers, the band fronted by fun. and Ally Coalition co-founder Jack Antonoff that stirred up the crowd at last year’s All Things Go Fall Classic with its own power anthems as well as its own spectacle of a show. All of which is to say, this is one stadium show not to be missed. Monday, April 16, and Tuesday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center), 601 F St. NW. Call 202-628-3200 or visit capitalonearena.com.
SHIFT: A FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS
The Kennedy Center and WPA co-present this second annual series highlighting classical music organizations striving to go beyond the classics and the status quo. The two remaining main performances in the Concert Hall are: Krzysztof Urbański leading the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in an all-ages program mixing classic and contemporary Polish works inspired by the music director’s heritage — Witold Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra featuring superstar cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo featuring five singers and two Indianapolis choirs — on Friday, April 13, at 8 p.m.; and Gianandrea Noseda leading the National Symphony Orchestra in a “Russian/Italian Inspirations” program nodding to Noseda’s Italian pedigree and longtime experience in Russia — Stravinsky’s Pulcinella featuring vocal soloists and the Russian solo piano works Islamey by Mily Balakirev and 5 Études-Tableaux by Sergei Rachmaninoff per orchestrations by two Italians, Alfredo Casella and Ottorino Respighi, respectively — on Saturday, April 14, at 8 p.m. The festival also includes free performances on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage as well as at other area locales, from the Hamilton to the Anacostia Community Museum to the National Zoo. Shift runs through Sunday, April 15. Tickets are $25 for each main concert. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
SIMONE DINNERSTEIN WITH THE FSO
The star New York-based pianist and Sony Classical artist joins with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra to perform the regional premiere of a new concerto written for her by renowned composer Philip Glass, his Piano Concerto No. 3. “There are almost no concertos written for piano and strings since Bach’s time,” Dinnerstein says in the program’s official note, explaining the significance of Glass’ work, and the reason it’s paired with Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in G Minor, to show “how his music impacts us today [and] enabling the listener to create bridges between the old and new.” Christopher Zimmerman conducts a program also including Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro for Strings. Saturday, April 21, at 8 p.m. George Mason University Center for the Arts, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $39 to $65. Call 703-563-1990 or visit fairfaxsymphony.org.
One year after putting on a raucous sold-out show at U Street Music Hall, Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern now return as bona fide hitmakers in the U.S., with a song that also served as the soundtrack to last fall’s iPhone X launch. The jerky, playful popper “Best Friend” is a tribute to friendship and the power of platonic twosomes also featuring another set of New York house hipsters, the Knocks, as well as Australian EDM DJ duo and twin sisters Nervo. The duo, which garnered a Grammy nomination for samba-infused Portuguese jam “Drinkee,” kick off a new tour in support of just-released debut full-length Treehouse. Kah-Lo and LP Giobbi open. Wednesday, April 18. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $26. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
Fans of the Pitch Perfect movie franchise — as well as NBC’s The Sing-Off and Fox’s Glee — are sure to be entertained at the fifth annual competition, where a mix of both collegiate and adult professional groups compete for a $1,000 grand prize, with second place garnering $500 and $250 for third. (All groups walk away with at least $100 and a professional photo shoot just for participating.) Presented by Garling’s Alexandria Harmonizers and its 14-member contemporary a cappella group TBD, the 2018 Aca-Challenge will be emceed by Deke Sharon, touted as the godfather of contemporary a cappella, and feature Post-Collegiate Contestants The WORKSHOP from New York, CONNECT from Hartford, and returning 2014 champs WORD of MOUTH from Washington, and Collegiate acts The Bluestones from James Madison University, the GW VIBES from the George Washington University, and DaCADENCE from the University of Maryland. A panel of judges and the audience, voting via text, will select the top three “most entertaining” acts. Saturday, April 14, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 day-of show, or $45 for VIP Seating and After-Party Admission. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
At first listen, you might think Colin Meloy and company were a contemporary Irish folk-rock act, not just an American one of strong British and Irish influence. Meloy often sings in a vaguely Irish accent, over minor-key melodies and harmonies and slightly driving rhythms that only fan the embers burning in his hyper-literate lyrics weaving grand, occasionally to the point of grandiloquent, stories. Meloy and his four fellow Portland, Oregon-based bandmates tour in support of eighth studio album I’ll Be Your Girl, which occasionally turns to synth-pop to add a little levity, even absurdity, to the proceedings. Saturday, April 21. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $45 to $199. Call 202-888-0020 or visit theanthemdc.com.
THE WASHINGTON CHORUS: CARMEN IN CONCERT
Experience the famous story through the eyes of the killer’s mother in John Constable’s wickedly smart narration of the famous opéra comique. The Washington Chorus’s new Artistic Director Christopher Bell leads a concert version of Bizet’s masterpiece starring mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano and featuring the Washington National Opera Orchestra and members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $18 to $72. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Based in part on real events, Florida is a darkly comic contemporary opera by Randall Eng, with libretto by Donna Di Novelli, and presented by the local company founded by Robert Wood dedicated to short, contemporary operas. Focused on a teenage girl falsely accused of matricide, the chamber piece presents a highly stylized version of suburbia, complete with creepy neighbors, and set to a jazz-inflected score. Kevin Newbury directs Sharin Apostolou in the eponymous role as the girl who discovers herself through a maze of gossip, desire, justice, and lipstick, in a work that also brings to light societal problems, from the complexities and corruption of our legal system to our culture’s reflexive suspicion of teenage girls and sexuality Nancy Allen Lundy, Daniel Rowan, Ethan Greene, Hannah Hagerty, Ian McEuen, and Katherine Riddle round out the cast. Remaining performances are Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at 8 p.m. The Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $39 to $42. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
Dissonance Dance Theatre — Photo: Shawn Short
DISSONANCE DANCE THEATRE: ALLOY
The celebrated gay-run dance company offers a mixed-bill concert of riveting contemporary ballet featuring world premieres by urban dance-inspired classical choreographer Kameron N. Saunders and Shawn Short, Dissonance’s principal choreographer. The program bonds classical form with present-day creative innovation. Saturday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. The Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
EL TEATRO DE DANZA CONTEMPORÁNEA/DC CONTEMPORARY DANCE THEATRE
One of D.C.’s first multicultural repertory dance companies showcases internationally and nationally recognized choreography with dramatic appeal and universal messages. A resident company of Joy of Motion Dance Center, the troupe, led by Founder and Producing Artistic Director Miya Hisaka Silva, presents: an excerpt from Mockingbird by Terra Firma Dance’s Stuart Loungway and featuring guest performing artist Morgann Rose; Songs Without Words by Lloyd Whitmore, formerly of the Atlanta Ballet’s Philadanco, and set to the music of Brandenberg, Bach, and Bobby McFerrin; and excerpts from Spectra, reflecting the sensations of the color spectrum through neoclassical dance, by company member Therese Gahl, also of the Washington School of Ballet. Friday, April 20, at 8 p.m. The Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS
Based in New York, this group seeks to breathe new life into traditional Chinese culture, with a particular focus on classical Chinese dance, one of the world’s oldest art forms. Blending beauty, energy, and grace, dancers in dazzling costumes move in seamless, flowing patterns, while a live orchestra and thunderous drums shake the stage against stunning, otherworldly backdrops. Shen Yun returns to the Kennedy Center for a 2018 edition of its epic production focused on “reviving 5,000 years of civilization,” presented by the Falun Dafa Association of Washington, D.C. To April 15. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $80 to $250. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
SPRINGBOARD PERFORMANCE SERIES: D.C. DANCE ARTISTS
Dance Loft on 14 presents a multi-week showcase of up-and-coming local movement artists and companies, selected to perform in the venue’s renovated 120-seat theater. The main lineup concludes with Natalie Boegel, Madeline Gorman, Errant Movement, Keslerdances, Motion X Dance DC, Mountain Empire, Soles of Steel, and the SAPAN Institute on Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14, at 7 p.m. 4618 14th St. NW 2nd Floor. Tickets are $25 each, with proceeds going to support the participatory artists. Call 202-621-3670 or visit danceloft14.org.
THE WASHINGTON BALLET: MIXED MASTERS
The company closes out its second season under Julie Kent with a Kennedy Center program of three masterwork ballets that remain inspiring and relevant, all performed with live musical accompaniment by the Washington Ballet Orchestra. There’s Serenade, the first ballet that George Balanchine choreographed in America, a milestone in the history of dance and set to Tchaikovsky; Symphonic Variations, Frederick Ashton’s abstract celebration of movement and physicality, set to Franck and heralded by the New York Times as “one of the purest pure-dance classics ever made”; and The Concert (or, The Perils of Everybody), Jerome Robbins’s timeless and humorous one-act charade, set to Chopin, depicting with satirical glee the thoughts and fantasies of a concert audience. To April 15. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $25 to $140. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
BROAD WAY HOSTED BY FRANQI FRENCH
In its black box space, D.C.’s Drafthouse Comedy presents a variety show featuring stand-up comedy, music and sketches by a diverse group of local female, minority, and LGBTQ performers, hosted by Franqi French. The next show is Saturday, April 14. Doors at 3 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $5. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.
JOKES THAT GIVE BACK
Once a month, Baltimore comedian Nicki Fuchs offers a standup comedy show featuring comics from the area and beyond as a fundraiser for a different charity each month. A portion of proceeds from the April edition will go to the D.C. chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which works to improve the quality of life by resolving particular infrastructure needs in developing communities both locally and internationally. Fuchs hosts a show featuring Violet Gray, Mike Engle, Sheila Wenz, Davine Ker, and Shelley Kim. Wednesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-750-6411 or visit drafthousecomedy.com.
UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE
Like the funniest extroverts at the party, the improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade riffs on D.C. and audience-members alike. The brigade has many famous alumni, including Amy Poehler and Ed Helms. They return for a biannual performance at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 day-of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
ALEX WAGNER: FUTUREFACE
Subtitled A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest, and the Secret to Belonging, this book by a CBS News and The Atlantic contributor dives into the wild world of ancestry on a quest to find answers to ultimate questions such as who she really is and where she belongs. Wagner also raises deeper questions about the American experience of race, immigration, exile, and identity in FutureFace, the focus of a discussion led by Vann Newkirk II, a staff writer at The Atlantic, with a signing to follow. Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $14, or $30 with one book, $40 for one book and two tickets. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
BETHESDA’S LOCAL WRITERS SHOWCASE
The Bethesda Urban Partnership hosts two separate evening ceremonies featuring 32 writers from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia who will be honored and awarded a total of $4,400 in prize money. First up, the annual Bethesda Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony features readings from awardees selected by E. Ethelbert Miller, the D.C.-based editor of Poet Lore. D.C.’s Bailey Blumenstock is the 1st Place Winner, while High School Poetry Winners are Alexa Marsh of the Madeira School and Helen Qian and Justin Zhang, both of Richard Montgomery High School. Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. Gallery B, 7700 Wisconsin Ave. Suite E, Bethesda.
The next evening brings the annual Bethesda Essay & Short Story Contest Awards Ceremony where winners will read excerpts from their work. More than 700 pieces were submitted for this competition that earns winners $500, publication in Bethesda Magazine, and membership to the Writer’s Center. Bethesda’s Sherrell Lam win 1st Place in the Essay contest while Silver Spring’s Lindsay Moore took top honors in the Short Story category, with Olivia Choi of Sidwell Friends School and Elinor Berger of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School the respective winners at the high school level. Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m. Bethesda Hyatt, 7400 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda. Visit bethesda.org for more information.
KATE MASUR, MICHELE NORRIS DISCUSS THEY KNEW LINCOLN
Nearly 80 years ago, the late teacher/historian John E. Washington sought to record for posterity the experiences of those black Washingtonians who had personal relationships with Abraham Lincoln — a remarkably little researched area of Lincolniana. Yet his 1942 book They Knew Lincoln quickly sold out and just as quickly fell into obscurity, out-of-date and out-of-mind. That is, until now, with a long-overdue second reprint including a new introduction by Kate Masur, a Northwestern University history professor and author of An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. Michele Norris, former host of NPR’s All Things Considered and founder of The Race Card Project, will lead a discussion with Masur of the book and its significance in shedding light on those African Americans who served and interacted with the Lincolns, some to the extent of influencing the 16th President’s view on slavery. Afterwards Masur will sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase in the bookstore. Monday, April 16, at 5 p.m. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are free and can be reserved in advance. Call 800-982-2787 or visit fords.org.
DAY TO NIGHT: IN THE FIELD WITH STEPHEN WILKES
Stunning, technology-enhanced imagery capturing the passage of time in a single photograph is the hallmark of photographer Stephen Wilkes, who spent much of last year on assignment for National Geographic documenting bird migration routes, as featured in the magazine’s March 2018 issue. This companion exhibition offers behind-the-scenes insight into all that’s involved in Wilkes’ shoots, and presented as part of the “Year of the Bird” initiative, a partnership of over 100 organizations, from National Geographic to the Audubon Society. The exhibition features four expansive and powerful mega-prints of captivating bird migrations, measuring roughly 7 feet tall and 12 feet wide and reflecting the theme of conservation. To April 18. National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-857-7588 or visit ngmuseum.org.
IN BLOOM: A PHOTOGRAPHIC CELEBRATION OF THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
The Blind Whino SW Arts Club, the repurposed art/event space formerly the Friendship Baptist Church, hosts a free showcase of the incredible work of local photographers in covering the beauty of the cherry blossoms and vibrant festival displays last year. The exhibition originates from an open call for submissions organized and judged by engaged members of IGDC, the Washington Instagram community. Hours are Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m. Through April 29. Blind Whino, 700 Delaware Ave. SW. Free. Call 202-554-0103 or visit swartsclub.org.
KRISTAL MCLAUGHLIN: KONTROLLED KHAOS
A self-taught abstract artist, the D.C.-based McLaughlin is the latest to be featured in the gallery space at the DC Center for the LGBT Community. With a master’s in psychology, McLaughlin aka Ms. Bald-Du styles her art as therapy and approaches her sketches on paper, to a certain extent, as a way to make sense or take control of the chaos of life. Center Art Gallery, 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit thedccenter.org/centerartgallery.
MARLENE DIETRICH: DRESSED FOR THE IMAGE
From her very first Hollywood film — the Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 drama, Morocco, which earned the actress her only Academy Award nomination — Dietrich “was able to introduce to a very conservative, American, puritan population the idea of accepting women being attracted to other women,” says National Portrait Gallery historian Kate Lemay. Dressed for the Image charts the actress’s career, longevity, and influence on everyone from Madonna and Jane Lynch to Janelle Monae. It includes details about the 1955 outing of the German-born actress as bisexual. Through April 15, 2018. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.
MIKE KELLEY: MEMORY WARE FLAT #27
Potomac’s Glenstone Museum loans a major wall sculpture for display at Strathmore, continuing a partnership that has brought works by Martin Honert, Lee Bontecou and Keith Haring to the Music Center. Part of the late Kelley’s series of 100 two- and three-dimensional works that imitate and subvert the folk-art tradition of preserving small, personally meaningful objects in mosaic-like decorations, Flat #27 is a large-scale, abstract assemblage of thousands of illegible political buttons and beads fixed with grout onto a wood panel and hung on the wall like a painting. On view through Saturday, April 21. Lockheed Martin Lobby, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
Transcultural humanity is on display in this exhibition curated by Brigitte Reyes. Antonius Bui, Amy Lin, Nekisha Durrett, Muriel Hasbun, and Jeff Huntington are five artists bridging diverse cultures and aesthetic traditions and embracing and exploring their place in the world through their represented artworks. Closes Sunday, April 15. The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-0035 or visit nvfaa.org.
The latest group show at Transformer features artworks in various media examining the notion of the tropics in the Global South as sites of leisure, sensuality, and play, by a variety of artists, not all of them LGBTQ. Original conceived of and presented by New Orleans-based Pelican Bomb Gallery X, Queer Tropics also sheds light on how the concept of the tropics as a palm-framed oasis has been variously created, reinforced, and confronted. Artists — all based in the U.S. — represented in the exhibition include Ash Arder, Kerry Downey, Madeline Gallucci, Victoria Martinez, Joiri Minaya, Carlos Motta, Pacifico Silano, and Adrienne Elise Tarver. To April 21. Transformer, 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit transformerdc.org.
TARGET GALLERY’S 2018 EMERGING ARTISTS
The contemporary exhibition space in Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory Art Center is championing up-and-coming regional artists in this new annual exhibition series. Four stylistically diverse artists were selected by a jury panel to be featured in the first year: abstract painter Katie Barrie of Richmond, figurative artist Ronald Jackson of Spotsylvania, Va., reclaimed-material sculptor Hollis McCracken of Richmond, and D.C.’s HOlly Trout, another artist using repurposed cast-off materials. A public reception and Artist Talk is Friday, April 13. On view through May 20. Target Gallery, 105 North Union St. Alexandria. Free. Call 703-838-4565 or visit torpedofactory.org.
UP IN THE AIR
Before it became a traditional spring pastime, kites were used for ceremonies, military campaigns, and scientific experiments. Featuring innovative kitemakers and flyers, this exhibition at the Mansion at Strathmore explores the artistry of kites in their abundant color and sculptural design, with a view to how modern-day kitemakers use state-of-the-art materials, complex construction, and intricate designs to elevate kites into fine aerial art. To April 29, with Strathmore’s Kite Fly Day set for Sunday, April 22. The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 or visit strathmore.org.
Cherry 2017 at Town — Photo: Ward Morrison / File photo
CHERRY 2018: KALEIDOSCOPE
Launched over two decades ago as Cherry Jubilee, D.C.’s annual LGBTQ fundraising circuit party has settled into a steady, satisfying groove. One of the circuit’s newer stars, Italian DJ Danny Verde, kicks things off with an opening set by New York DJ Kenneth Rivera. Thursday, April 12, starting at 9 p.m. Cobalt, 1639 R St. NW. The party really comes into focus the next night with Synergy, featuring two star veteran house DJs, Victor Calderone and Tom Stephan, in a nearly unprecedented joint pairing at Echostage, a venue recently ranked by industry arbiter DJ Mag as the No. 1 nightclub in the U.S. Friday, April 13, starting at 9 p.m. Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE.
The weekend lineup continues with Moodin Rouge with DJ Joe Gauthreaux, the annual afternoon tea dance celebrating the hallowed birth of the beloved Dr. Moody Mustafa. Saturday, April 14, starting at 2 p.m. Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th St. NW. That night at Town comes the Main Event — Chroma with Berlin DJ Micky Friedmann and an opening set by nationally recognized local DJ X Gonzalez, providing the soundtrack to the last-ever Cherry Main Event at Town. Saturday, April 14, starting at 10 p.m.
Mirage/Aurora, a “2 Parties in 1” After-Hours features DJs Eddie Martinez and Alex Acosta on the main level until 9:30 a.m. and DJ Isaac Escalante until noon on the Roof Top. Sunday, April 15, at Flash, 645 Florida Ave. NW. Things don’t end there: Iris, a daytime soiree hosted by LaFantasy Productions boasts New York DJ Joe Pacheco, on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m. L8, 727 15th St. NW. Finally, there’s Infinity featuring music from drag DJ Nina Flowers and Cherry veteran Alain Jackinsky at downtown D.C.’s celebrated underground nightclub. Sunday, April 15, at 9 p.m. Soundcheck, 1420 K St. NW. Tickets range from $20 to $75 per party, $185 to $225 for Weekend Passes offering express entry to all events, with various combo tickets and transportation options available. See this magazine’s Nightlife Section or visit cherryfund.org for full details.
Bird and Blossom
FOOD & DINING
BAR ROUBAIX: SASSY DRAG BRUNCH
Over the past few months or so there’s been an explosion of new venues from the Hilton Bros., who’ve expanded well beyond Marvin and The Brixton and their original U Street base. None of the additions, however, stand out as much as Bar Roubaix, which opened in the former Acre 121 space in Columbia Heights, given its biker bar theme, with bike chains dangling behind the bar and bike wheels serving as light fixtures. Named after the French city sponsoring one of the world’s oldest and most iconic professional bike races, Roubaix features a menu of European-inspired bites from Chef Rafael Nunez (formerly of Eatonville). And now, Roubaix stands out even more thanks to hosting a drag brunch the third Sunday of every month and organized by Josael Abraham Gutierrez. Sassy Drag Brunch features host Latina diva Sylvanna Douvel, Desiree Dik, Laronica Vegas, and other special guests. Drink specials include unlimited mimosas for $18. Sunday, April 15, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. 1400 Irving St. NW. Ste. 109. Tickets are $21 including show plus one entree and 18-percent gratuity, or $10 for show with no food. Call 202-560-5721 or search “Sassy Drag Brunch” on eventbrite.com.
BIRD & BLOSSOM
As a nod to the cherry blossoms, EatWell’s poultry-focused restaurant in Shaw offers a culinary tour to celebrate Hanami, the traditional Japanese party focused on the transient beauty of flowers. A five-course tasting menu spotlights fowl and fresh vegetables paired with cocktails and wines highlighting the subtle, unique flavors of Japan. To Sunday, April 15. The Bird, 1337 11th St. NW. Five-course menu is $50, plus $20 with drink pairings, available by reservation only. Call 202-518-3609 or visit thebirddc.com.
TAQUERIA DEL BARRIO: DRAG BRUNCH
The Petworth Mexican eatery from the DC Empanadas crew now offers its popular Saturday drag brunch twice monthly, hosted by Kristina Kelly and featuring a cast of local performers all while guests enjoy French toast, chilaquiles, and Taqueria’s signature tacos, among other dishes, all washed down with mimosas, Bloody Marys, and Absolut vodka cocktails. But any day of the week is a treat at Chef/Owner Anna Bran-Leis Mexican retreat, whether eating in a colorful dining room, at the horseshoe bar, or on one of the sunny sidewalk tables. Drag brunch is served next on April 14 and April 28 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. 821 Upshur St. NW. Reservations required. Call 202-723-0200 or visit taqueriadelbarrio.com.
Baltimore’s Light City
ABOVE AND BEYOND
LA-TI-DO: NEW MUSICAL THEATRE NIGHT
The long-running variety series founded by Regie Cabico and Don Michael Mendoza La-Ti-Do chiefly focuses on music and singing, enlisting professionals from the theater or opera worlds performing on their night off, but also including spoken-word poets, storytellers and comedians. Next week, Mendoza co-hosts with Anya Randall Nebel an annual night of songs from musicals created since 2010, a list that includes The Book of Mormon, Once, Kinky Boots, If/Then, Fun Home, Waitress, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, and a little something called Hamilton. Katherine Riddle is the featured performer, and she’ll be joined by additional guests including Isabella Basco, Katie Rey-Bogdan, Tim Bugh, Erin Granfield, Larry Grey, Carrie Heflin, Lindsey Litka, Christina McCann, Katherine O’Connor, and Claire Schad. Accompanying them will be a three-piece band plus Paige Rammelkamp on piano. Monday, April 15, at 8 p.m. Bistro Bistro, 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $15, or only $10 if you eat dinner at the restaurant beforehand. Call 202-328-1640 or visit latidodc.wix.com/latidodc.
LIGHT CITY BALTIMORE
Also called “A Festival of Light, Music and Innovation,” Light City returns for a third year to illuminate Charm City as the first, free, large-scale international light festival in the U.S. The main part of the festival takes place on a winding, 1.5-mile stretch of the Inner Harbor and Harbor East and featuring 21 large-scale, temporary light installations brand new to Light City developed by national and international artists, including 10 from Baltimore. One such display is truly mobile and will be seen all around: Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s Fireflies, with 900 handcrafted lanterns attached to the top of 27 pedicabs transporting festivalgoers around the BGE Light Art Walk, which can also be explored this year on self-guided audio tours offering detailed descriptions of the light installations by Live Baltimore. The festival kicks off with an Opening Night Parade featuring various community and school marching bands Saturday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. Highlights among free performances this year include Grandmaster Flash on Saturday, April 14, G. Love & Special Sauce on Friday, April 20, and Kimbra on the festival’s closing day Saturday, April 21. Display hours are 7 to 11 p.m. weeknights, 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The final four days of the festival also includes the Labs@LightCity series of social innovation conferences grouped by subject area, from EduLab to SocialLab, MakerLab to FoodLab. Wednesday April 18, to Saturday, April 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 410-752-8632 or visit lightcity.org for a map and details on all events.
MARYLAND PSYCHIC FAIR
Late last summer ushered in a Maryland Paranormal Conference in a small, tucked away town outside of Baltimore. Now, the very same Elks Lodge welcomes back all of those interested in activities and phenomena going beyond explanations of science (and reason). This time around, the focus is on psychics, mediums, and healers and those interested in readings, sessions, and discussions, or in buying related crafts, books, oils, crystals, and ephemera. More than 30 vendors are scheduled to participate, including: Anne Miller & Tony Stevens of the readings-focused Spiritual Information Center; Rev. Ella Fales, “Healing & Spirit Messages with Ella”; Intuitive Life Coach and Clairvoyant Dr. Gwen MacGregor aka The Medium of Maryland; Baltimore-based diorama artist Jim Doran; mystic Joanne Amorosi of Mary Magdalene Medicine; mixed-media tarot deck artist Jo Offduty; Reiki master/reader Lou Foster and her Herb Fancy line of healing teas, soaps, and jewelry; angel readings/healings from Rev. Mary Perry of Wings Unfurled; Robin Strom of the Delaware Paranormal Research Group and author of Anatomy of a Ghost: A Guide to Analyzing the Dead; Rosalyn Kincaid of the Karmic Wellness Center in Woodbridge, Va.; and mediums Terri Rodabaugh, Sharon Galloway, and Rhonda Russo giving collective “The Haunted View” readings. Sunday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bowie Elks Lodge No. 2309, 1506 Defense Highway, Gambrills, Md. Tickets are $5 plus $1.22 in service fees bought in advance, or $10 in cash only at the door. Call 301-261-3260 or visit maryland-psychic-fair.eventbrite.com.
NATIONAL CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
The Tidal Basin’s cherry trees hit peak blossom last weekend, and this weekend sees the concluding Signature Event of the official four-week pretty-in-pink festival — touted as “the nation’s greatest springtime celebration.” The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is a star-studded processional of giant balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands, and celebrity entertainers this year led by Grand Marshal Carla Hall of ABC’s The Chew, ’90s hip-hop group Arrested Development, hunky gay pop/classical string quartet Well Strung, The Voice‘s gay contestant Billy Gilman from Season 11 and Sarah Potenza from Season 8, country singer Ty Herndon, and extreme pogo stunt team XPOGO. Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets NW. Visit nationalcherryblossomfestival.org.
Other affiliated events still to come, all free unless noted: the Umetsugu Inoue Film Series, featuring classics by the prolific Japanese filmmaker known as “Japan’s Music Man,” presented at select times through Sunday, April 22. Meyer Auditorium in Freer Gallery of Art. Visit freersackler.si.edu for full schedule; Up In The Air Kite Exhibition at Strathmore (see separate entry under “Exhibits”); NCSS Cherry Blossom Grand Ball, a black-tie affair featuring a sushi and cocktail reception, a full-course duet dinner, selection of the 2018 U.S. Cherry Blossom Queen, followed by dancing. Friday, April 13, from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $200. Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St. NW; Newseum Nights: In Bloom, an evening of Japanese sights, sounds, and tastes from Wolfgang Puck’s The Source, plus all-night open beer and wine bar, and access to current exhibitions. Friday, April 13, from 8 to 10:30 p.m. 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 888-NEWSEUM or visit newseum.org; the 26th Annual National Japan Bowl – Championship Rounds, an academic competition for U.S. high school students studying Japanese language as well as history, culture, and society. Friday, April 13, from 2 to 5 p.m. National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase, Md; Tamagawa University Taiko Drumming and Dance Troupe, thundering taiko drumming meets traditional Japanese dance in this special performance. Friday, April 13, at noon. National Gallery of Art, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW; Yoga in the Temple, a free, all-levels-welcome, BYOM session in artist David Best’s room-sized installation, part of the exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man. Saturday, April 14, at 9 a.m. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW; the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival, the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the U.S., with performances on four stages, plus arts vendors and food booths, all presented by the Japan-America Society of Washington DC, on Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pennsylvania Ave. between 3rd and 7th Streets NW. Tickets are $10. Visit facebook.com/sakuramatsuriDC; Cherry Blossom Art Walk, celebrating the blossoms in ceramics, glass, jewelry, and other visual arts on display in every building and open artist studios at the Workhouse Arts Center. Saturday, April 14, fro 6 to 9 p.m. 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton, Va. Visit workhousearts.org; all-vocal local covers band Pitches Be Crazy, dancers from Fairfax’s hula school and performance group Halau hula O Ke Anuenue Punahele, and singer-songwriter Hayley Fahey, among other performance highlights in the festival’s final afternoon. Sunday, April 15. ANA Performance Stage in the Tidal Basin; the Anacostia River Festival, presented by the 11th Street Bridge Park and National Park Service, and including canoe trips, a bike parade, and lawn games, all celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Anacostia Park and the “Year of the Anacostia.” Sunday, April 15, from 1 to 5 p.m. Anacostia Drive and Good Hope Road SE; “Sunday Funday” at the Drink Company’s Cherry Blossom P.U.B., the latest Pop-Up Bar serving themed cocktails in the string of Shaw businesses once known as the eateries Mockingbird Hill, Eat The Rich, and Southern Efficiency. Timed-entry passes guarantee entry and the $20 suggested donation apiece goes to the festival on Sunday, April 15, from 5 to 11 p.m. The P.U.B. runs to April 29. 1843 7th St. NW. Visit popupbardc.com; and New York-based Japanese singer-songwriter/guitarist Kana Uemura performing “J-Pop and American Pop Songs,” and co-presented by Japan Information & Culture Center and the Embassy of Japan. Tuesday, April 18, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. Finally, you can also dine and see the blossoms up close and comfortable from boats run by Odyssey Cruises ($61.90 at lunch, $73.90 at brunch, or $109.90 at dinner, not including taxes and fees) and Spirit Cruises ($51.90 at lunch, $91.90 at dinner non-inclusive).
TALES FROM THE ROUND WORLD: I HEARD THE MUSE TODAY, OH BOY
Sprung nearly three years ago from the zany mind of Chris Griffin aka Lucrezia Blozia, the live podcast/radio show Tales From The Round World incorporates circus, sideshow, and burlesque into its scripted productions. Griffin and a ragtag group of writers and performers return with another charity-benefiting storytelling podcast performed live, this time focused on “stories behind the number one hits you’ve never heard by world-famous musicians you’ve never heard of” — artists with names such as bitchcraft, Anne Bonny from the Big Bootyed Buccaneer Bitches, and Sassy Summers of Sweet Sassy and the Molassees. Interstitial burlesque will come from Delilah Dentata, Miss Fanny Tittington, and Chris Mess Jacobs, with music by Sarah Azzara. Saturday, April 14, at 9:30 p.m. Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Call 202-667-4490 or visit facebook.com/butthecircus.