Metro Weekly

Out on the Town: DC arts & entertainment highlights — May 31-June 5

Everything arts and entertainment in the D.C. area this week

Empire of the Sun



Modern-day daredevil Johnny Knoxville is back on the big screen in a new comedy that follows the formula of Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa — lots of stunts connected by a loose narrative. Knoxville plays the crackpot owner of a low-rent, out-of-control amusement park in New Jersey, with rides designed with minimum safety for maximum fun. And just as in Jackass, Chris Pontius is part of Knoxville’s loony crew of misfits. Opens Friday, June 1. Area theaters. Visit


Christian Bale plays a pampered English brat who matures into an inspiring man of the world in Steven Spielberg’s visually stunning heroic epic, based on J.G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel and adapted by Tom Stoppard. Set in Shanghai before and during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, Empire of the Sun also featured John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, and Leslie Phillips. Released 30 years ago this year. Part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, June 6, 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


Every second Friday this summer the Unity church in Fairfax offers a Mystical Movie Night. Next up is Tom Shadyac’s 2010 documentary I Am, in which he interviews scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists, and philosophers including Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Lynne McTaggart, David Suzuki, and Howard Zinn, ultimately exploring the question, “What is wrong with the world, and what can we do about it?” Friday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. Unity of Fairfax, 2854 Hunter Mill Rd., Oakton, Va. Admission is $10. Call 703-281-1767 or visit


Landmark’s E Street Cinema offers 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, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, at midnight. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit


A decade before Mean Girls, there was this coming-of-age rom-com written and directed by Amy Heckerling as an updated version of Jane Austen’s Emma. Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, and the late Brittany Murphy starred in Clueless, which is next up in the monthly warm weather Drive-In Series at Union Market. You don’t have to have a car to take it all in — just grab a viewing spot in the free picnic area. Food and beer are available, delivered to you or your car window by the DC Rollergirls. Friday, June 1. Gates at 6 p.m., with the movie starting after sunset at 8:45 p.m. In the parking lot at 1305 5th St. NE. Free for walk-ups or $10 per car. Call 800-680-9095 or visit


The American Film Institute concludes its month-long series Jazz on Film with a free screening of Liz Garbus’ sensitive documentary from 2015 about one of the most influential, beloved, provocative, and least understood artists of the modern era. A classically trained, chart-topping music artist and Civil Rights/Black Power icon, Nina Simone perennially struggled with conflicting realities: a classical pianist pigeonholed in jazz, a professional boxed in by family life, a black woman in racist America. What Happened, Miss Simone? features never-before-heard tapes, rare archival footage, and interviews with close friends and family to offer an intimate portrait of “the High Priestess of Soul.” Thursday, June 7, at 7:15 p.m. The AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Free. Call 301-495-6720 or visit

Girlfriend — Photo: Christopher Mueller



A few years ago, Denis O’Hare (American Horror Story) and Lisa Peterson created a contemporary adaptation of Homer’s classic war poem. Conor Bagley directs a local production with Iason Togias performing all the roles. To June 9. Lab I in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


While painting “The Birth of Venus,” the famed artist Sandro Botticelli is put to the test by the arrival of a conservative priest leading a populist revolution in Lorenzo de’ Medici’s Florence. Heralded by the Montreal Gazette as “the hottest name in Canadian theater,” Jordan Tannahill offers an ambitious, modern story that sounds custom-made for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Marti Lyons directs a production with company members Cody Nickell, Jon Hudson Odom, and Dawn Ursula. Now to June 24. 641 D St. NW. Call 202-393-3939 or visit


Alan Paul, Shakespeare Theatre Company’s resident musical director, takes on Lerner and Loewe’s classic about the powerful love triangle in King Arthur’s court. Ken Clark plays the King, while Nick Fitzer is Lancelot du Lac, both in love with Queen Guinevere, played by Broadway star Alexandra Silber. Legends Ted van Griethuysen and Floyd King are also featured in a show with choreography by Michele Lynch, who won a Helen Hayes Award for her work on STC’s Kiss Me, Kate. To July 1. Sidney Harman Hall, Harman Center for the Arts, 610 F St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit


Virginia’s Creative Cauldron presents Charles Strouse’s beguiling adaption of E.B. White’s classic tale, with a book by Joseph Robinette. Matt Conner directs a cast led by Will Stevenson as Wilbur and Abby Middleton as Charlotte. To June 17. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Call 703-436-9948 or visit


Set amid the Great Flood of Pennsylvania in 1889 as well as the drying up of the state’s steel industry a century later, Gabrielle Reisman’s hopeful dark comedy traverses time and space to look at the impacts disasters and corporate irresponsibility have on a community. Flood City shines a light on the community’s resilience in the wake of the unimaginable. Jenna Duncan directs the Theater Alliance production. To June 17. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Call 202-241-2539 or visit


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. Lukas James Miller and Jimmy Mavrikes star as a college-bound jock and his first boyfriend. Directed by Matt Gardiner. To June 10. The Ark, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit


Winner of the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play at last week’s Helen Hayes Awards, this irreverent comedy has been remounted by Mosaic Theater Company after its original sold-out run last year. All but one of the cast members as well as all of the designers return to the show, a deft examination of two young black teens from vastly different circumstances. Metro Weekly‘s André Hereford praised the voice of playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm as “authentic and original,” further noting the “smart, funny staging” of director Serge Seiden. But he heaped the most praise on lead actor Jeremy Keith Hunter as “the engine that keeps the show humming along.” To June 3. The Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect) is J. Pierrepont Finch and Betsy Wolfe (Broadway’s Waitress) is his love interest in the Kennedy Center’s final Broadway Center Stage of the season. The semi-staged concert production of the musical lampoon of mid-20th Century corporate America is celebrated for Frank Loesser’s buoyant score, and a sharp book Abe Burrows, Willie Gilbert, and Jack Weinstock. With Michael Urie and Nova Y. Payton. Opens Wednesday, June 6. To June 10. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $59 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Six new 10-minute stage works will be produced in a limited-run production via a collaboration among six theater companies across the city led by Rorschach Theatre Company. Named after a childhood game that later inspired Hermann Rorschach’s famous Inkblot Test, Klecksography embraces the metaphor of that test by having all six plays take inspiration from just two prompts, allowing each company’s aesthetic to influence the eventual storytelling and performance. Joining Rorschach in creating the new works are teams from Hissing Black Cat Theater, Pinky Swear Productions, Pointless Theatre, Theater Alliance, and Young Playwrights Theater. Saturday, June 2, at 5, 7, and 9 p.m. Lab Theatre II at the Atlas, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Touted as “a courtroom drama for the ages,” Chris Cragin-Day and Max McLean’s play examines one of history’s most explosive personalities and the religious and political controversies he unleashed 500 years ago. Reportedly as funny as it is far-fetched, the play is styled as a fantastical afterlife courtroom trial for the soul of Martin Luther, at which his beloved widow Katie Von Bora leads the defense and the Devil the top prosecutor, while a whole range of witnesses take the stand: Adolf Hitler, Sigmund Freud, Rabbi Josel, St. Paul, Martin Luther King Jr., and Pope Francis among them. Shakespeare Theatre Company offers a weekend run of Martin Luther on Trial from the New York-based, Christian-focused theater company Fellowship for Performing Arts as part of a multi-city national tour. Performances are Thursday, May 31, and Friday, June 1, at 8 p.m., Saturday, June 2, at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 3, at 3 p.m. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Tickets are $49 to 89. Call 202-547-1122 or visit


New York’s brilliant theater company Bedlam, responsible for last year’s Sense & Sensibility, returns for another stripped-down production, this time of George Bernard Shaw’s Joan of Arc tale. Four actors perform over 25 roles in the special engagement. To June 3. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


Kwame Kwei-Armah concludes his tenure as artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage with a world-premiere musical about the storied Memphis-based label Stax Records, which created the very foundation of American Soul Music through its star roster. Stax launched the careers of Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, and Booker T & the MG’s. Matthew Benjamin wrote the book for what is essentially a jukebox musical featuring a huge 21-member cast. Choreography by Chase Brock. To June 10. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $79. Call 410-332-0033 or visit


Owen, an urban 14-year-old, clashes with his fisherman father while visiting the family’s secluded cottage on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Cue a beached whale to help save the relationship and awaken Owen’s sense of wonder and connection with the sea. Bob Bartlett’s drama gets a world premiere in a production directed by Alex Levy. Previews start Thursday, May 31. To June 24. 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $15 to $33. Call 703-854-1856 or visit


Celebrated local commedia dell’arte troupe Faction of Fools puts its physical comedy stamp on this classic, their first adaptation of Anton Chekhov. Paul Reisman directs a cast led by Sara Barker, Julia Klavans, Amber James, and Jesse Terrill (pulling double-duty as the show’s composer) in this mix of high art and low comedy, complete with secret plots, wily servants, tortured lovers, and a sprawling family estate on the chopping block. To June 10. Eastman Studio Theater in the Elstad Annex at Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave. NE. Tickets are $18 to $22. Call 800-838-3006 or visit


A comedy about the tragedy of loving starring Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock) as one half of a gay couple celebrating a 10th anniversary and revealing the truth of their seemingly perfect relationship. David Muse directs a world premiere by Ken Urban. To June 17. Studio Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit


Joe Calarco directs Signature Theatre’s take on Kander & Ebb’s final musical collaboration, a breathtaking critique of a true story of racism and injustice from 1931. Eight years after The Scottsboro Boys debuted on Broadway, the D.C. premiere features an ensemble cast including Jonathan Adriel, Malik Akil, Christopher Bloch, Chaz Alexander Coffin, Felicia Curry, C.K. Edwards, DeWitt Fleming Jr., Andre Hinds, Darrell Wayne Purcell, Aramie Payton, Lamont Walker II, Joseph Monroe Webb, and Stephen Scott Wormley, with choreography by Jared Grimes. To July 1. MAX Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit

Trayf — Photo: Teresa Wood


Theater J presents a world premiere of Lindsay Joelle’s play set in 1990’s New York, named for the Yiddish word for “non-kosher” or “forbidden.” Trayf predominantly focuses on the double life of 19-year-old Zalmy: a loyal foot soldier for his rabbi and Orthodox Jewish community by day, a freewheeling, roller-skating, secular club kid at night. Derek Goldman directs Josh Adams, Madeline Joey Rose, Tyler Herman, and Drew Kopas. In previews. To June 24. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater, Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $39 to $69. Call 202-777-3210 or visit


Based on the 2007 movie, Waitress focuses on Jenna, a diner employee with a passion for baking pies that helps her cope with a loveless marriage and the malaise of her small town. Diane Paulus (Pippin) directs a show with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, book by Jessie Nelson, and choreography by Lorin Latarro. To June 3. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $48 to $108. Call 202-628-6161 or visit



Spotlighters presents a series of monologues written by the late Nora Ephron with her sister Delia Ephron, based on a book by Ilene Beckerman. A hit Off Broadway at the turn of this decade, the stories in the work largely revolve around the theme of women and fashion. And yet, as Nora once described the book, “It is not about fashion; it is about what clothes really are to us, those moments when we are constantly trying to find our identity through them.” Weekends to June 10. Spotlighters Theatre, 817 St. Paul St., Baltimore. Tickets are $18 to $22. Call 410-752-1225 or visit


The “nance” — as in Nancy boy, or effeminate homosexual — was a stock character in burlesque and vaudeville shows in 1930s New York, when it might have been popular to play gay on stage, for laughs, but certainly not to be gay in reality. The play The Nance shines a light on that honest-to-goodness chapter in history that even few gay people know about. Alexandria’s Little Theatre offers the first area production of the entertaining and informative comedy, a three-time Tony winner from Douglas Carter Beane (Little Dog LaughedXanadu) that starred Nathan Lane on Broadway in 2013. Chuck Dluhy takes on the title role at this community theater in Old Town, directed by Frank D. Shutts II. Opens Saturday, June 2. Runs to June 23. 600 Wolfe St., Alexandria. Tickets are $19 to $23. Call 703-683-0496 or visit

Lea Michelle and Darren Criss



Áurea Isabel Ramos de Sousa emerged as a Portuguese soul singer in 2008, becoming a coach on The Voice Portugal in 2015. Áurea performs a concert at the Kennedy Center presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Portugal and as part of the free, nightly Millennium Stage programming. Sunday, June 3, at 6 p.m. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Kirill Gerstein performs Gershwin’s jazzy Piano Concerto as part of a program led by the BSO’s Marin Alsop, also featuring Stravinsky’s dazzling Suite from The Firebird and Schumann’s incredibly personal Symphony No. 2, expressing the conductor’s triumph over darkness. Thursday, March 31, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Also Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at 8 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets are $30 to $99. Call 410-783-8000 or visit


A year after finally, officially coming out, Manilow will come to the area over Capital Pride weekend to perform two concerts at Wolf Trap, supported by a Danish-American jazz/soul saxophone-playing composer. Friday, June 8, and Saturday, June 9, at 8 p.m. The Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $45 to $125. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


The first to perform when the Pearl Street Warehouse opened back in October, the Grammy-winning soul pioneer and producer returns to the DC Wharf’s hip, intimate venue. Jones tours in support of his current album Sound The Alarm, featuring collaborations with Mayer Hawthorne, Anthony Hamilton, Estelle, and Gary Clark Jr. But he’ll also play from his vast repertoire, including hits with the legendary Stax Records band Booker T & The MG’s, as well as other more recent tunes with the Drive By Truckers and the Roots. The sax-driven jazz/funk machine the Ron Holloway Trio opens. Friday, June 1. Doors at 7 p.m. 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $50 to $75. Call 202-380-9620 or visit


After performing the Durufle Requiem with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington back in February, the transgender opera singer, a native of Baltimore who lives in San Francisco, returns to close out the organization’s 37th season. Frank D. Shutts II directs a program celebrating all those who identify as transgender, non-binary and genderqueer, and featuring Vanessa Ford, a board member of the National Center for Transgender Equality who is also the mother of a seven-year-old transgender daughter. Artistic Director Thea Kano will lead the full, 250-member-strong chorus, its smaller ensembles, plus the GenOUT Chorus, in performances of songs including “What A Wonderful World,” “Everyday People,” “Somewhere” from West Side Story, “Who Will Love Me As I Am” from Side Show, and “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. Dancers will add to the fun, aided by choreography from Craig Cipollini and James Ellzy. In addition, Bishop Gene Robinson will lead a panel discussion with guest speakers prior to the first performance on Saturday, June 1. Doors at 7 p.m. Second performance is Saturday, June 1, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 2, at 3 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $65. Call 202-888-0050 or visit


Recently touted by the Los Angeles Times as “the next big organ talent,” the newly appointed Chair of Chapel Music at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, offers a recital to dedicate the new Casavant Frères Pipe Organ at Capitol Hill’s Christ Church, Washington Parish. Historic parishioners of this, the first church built in Washington over 200 years ago, include Thomas Jefferson and John Philip Sousa. Presented by Classical Music Communications, Houlihan will perform works for organ by JS Bach, Robert Schumann, Louis Verne, and Herbert Howells. Sunday, June 3, at 5 p.m. 620 G St. SE. Free, including post-show reception. Call 202-547-9300 or visit


Hyped in its official press release as “promising to be the Tour of the Year,” this double-bill show features two of the biggest baby-boomer legacy acts. According to the official release, Journey from San Francisco and Def Leppard from Sheffield, England, have transcended their generation, time, and place to register as “two of the world’s greatest rock bands.” They are, in fact, two of the world’s biggest-selling musical acts of all time — as measured in total album sales. Led by founding vocalist Joe Elliott with original bassist Rick Savage and longtime drummer Rick Allen, the British five-piece — responsible for hits including “Rock of Ages,” “Photograph,” and that big sticky-sweet suggestive stomper, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” — will open half of the shows and close the remainder as a way to keeps things fresh on its second outing with Journey after a similar 2006 co-headlining trek. Neal Schon, lead guitarist and singer, is the only original member of the American five-piece, with Arnel Pineda, lead singer for the last decade, on duty to perform the band’s most popular soaring anthems originally performed by Steve Perry — including “Faithfully,” “Open Arms,” and of course that big ditty still heard often enough, you don’t believe you could ever forget it, try as you might. Friday, June 8, at 7 p.m. Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow, Va. Also Saturday, June 16, at 7 p.m. Royal Farms Arena, 201 West Baltimore St., Baltimore. Tickets are $129 to $1870 before taxes and fees, or $71 to $89 for most lawn seats at Jiffy Lube Live. Call 703-754-6400 or visit


Pop-flavored off-kilter EDM is exactly what you’d expect from a Swedish duo whose collective production pedigree includes quirky dance acts Miike Snow (“Animal”), Bloodshy & Avant (writers of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”), and Style of Eye (a co-writer of Icona Pop’s “I Love It”). Teaming up as Galantis, Christian “Bloodshy” Karlsson and Linus “Style of Eye” Eklow return to D.C. after a rousing live show at last year’s All Things Go Fall Classic, which found the two attractive musicians full of kinetic energy, moving around behind their equipment, even jumping from the stage. Galantis tours in support of new single “Spaceship” featuring singer Uffie, but the duo is sure to play their crowd-pleasing EDM hits, including “Runaway (You & I)” and “No Money,” as part a continuously mixed set with other dance classics from their collective repertoire, as well as others that inspire them. Friday, June 1. Doors at 9 p.m. Echostage, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE. Tickets are $40 to $50. Call 202-503-2330 or visit


A summertime staple, the National Gallery of Art offers free outdoor concerts immediately after work every Friday through late August. Bands offering a range of jazz styles, from swing to Latin to ska, perform amidst the museum’s collection of large-scale sculptural works while patrons enjoy food and drink, including beer, wine, and sangria, as sold by the Pavilion Cafe and outdoor grill. The 2018 series continues with traditional New Orleans-style jazz with the US Army Blues Swamp Romp on June 1, followed by ska/rock/reggae band the Slackers, on June 8. Evenings from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Sculpture Garden, between 7th and 9th Streets NW. Call 202-289-3360 or visit


The Glee stars embark on their first-ever co-headlining tour, performing their own songs, as well as others from Glee and Broadway. Sunday, June 3, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $59 to $149, with multiple VIP Meet & Greet Packages running $299 to $499. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


This LGBTQ-friendly progressive religious organization performs a program also featuring the World Children’s Choir and the Washington International Chorus, all built around the theme “We’re Going to Make it, Together (Songs of Encouragement).” Sunday, June 3, at 5 p.m. Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, 2709 Hunter Mill Rd., Oakton, Va. Tickets are $18. Call 703-281-1767 or visit


Miroslaw Jacek Blaszczyk conducts a program celebrating Poland’s 100th anniversary of independence featuring works by famous Polish composers Krzesimir Debski, Karol Szymanowski, and Fryderyk Chopin. Chopin expert Brian Ganz joins the Philharmonic to perform the Piano Concerto No. 2, a musical love letter to the famous composer’s first romantic crush, while a trio of world-renowned Polish soloists — soprano Esther Heideman, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór, and baritone Tyler Duncan — lead the area premiere of Szymanowski’s unabashedly nationalistic Stabat Mater. Ambassador of Poland Piotr Wilczek will introduce the concert, which concludes the season for Strathmore’s resident orchestra and led by Polish-American Piotr Gajewski. Saturday, June 2, at 8 p.m. Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $23 to $76. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Founder JS Adams has described the annual experimental music event as “an exploration of expression through audio, the digital arts, performance art and spoken word [with] a non-exclusive curatorial focus towards gay, lesbian, and post gender-identified participants.” This year’s event includes a related art exhibition running all of June (see Museums & Galleries). But the focus this weekend is on a multi-act concert with Jassie Rios, Stephen Spera, Novaparolo (featuring Bev Stanton and Winston Psmith), Analog Tara, smallcloud (featuring Chris Videll and Beau Finley), and Adams’s own act BLK w/Bear. Saturday, June 2, at 8 p.m. Rhizome DC, 6950 Maple St. NW. Tickets are $10. Visit

The Roth Concert Series: Broadway and the Great American Song Book


A showcase of songs from the Great White Way as performed by local musical theater powerhouse vocalists Nova Y. Payton, Kevin McAllister, and Brian Quenton Thorne. Accompanying the soloists will be the New York jazz ensemble Peter and Will Anderson Trio and pianist Frank Conlon. Part of the Roth Concert Series. Sunday, June 3, at 5 p.m. Annunciation Catholic Church, 3810 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free, but donations accepted in support of the hunger-fighting charity St. Maria’s Meals and Catholic Charities. Call 202-441-7678 or visit


The pleasures of the senses, the glory of the human voice, and the beauty of love are key themes of this year’s recital, “The Art of Pleasure.” Steven Blier of the New York Festival of Song leads the program and will be joined by pianist Joseph Li in accompanying soprano Laura Sanders, mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams, tenor Piotr Buszewski, and baritone Johnathan McCullough singing songs by Piazzolla, Léhar, Bernstein, Strauss, and Rachmaninoff. Thursday, May 31, at 2 p.m., and Friday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $48. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


Every Saturday night over the summer, National Harbor hosts free concerts by military bands in a “Salute the Sunset” series. The second Saturday in June comes the second of three performances this season by the premier jazz ensemble of the US Air Force. Saturday, June 9, at 7 p.m. Plaza Stage, 150 National Plaza, Oxon Hill, Md. Free. Call 877-628-5427 or visit



Forty years after its Kennedy Center debut and seven years since its last visit, this internationally renowned company offers an evening-length signature choreographed by Artistic Director Alicia Alonso and performed with the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra. Presented as the concluding program in the Artes de Cuba series, the company concludes a week of performances with a definitive staging of the romantic classic Giselle, featuring music by Adolphe Adam and choreography based on that of Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot. Thursday, May 31, through Saturday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. Also Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3, at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $129. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Dance Place hosts this annual celebration paying tribute to the vibrancy of African heritage through dance, music, visual arts, food, clothing and crafts. The core of the event is an African Marketplace, where vendors sell food and wares on the street in front of the venue and local dance groups offer performances inside and out. Participants include Urban Virtuosos, Soul in Motion Players, Coyaba Dance Theater, KanKouran West African Dance Company, Sankofa Dance Theater, Ezibu Muntu African Dance and Cultural Foundation, South Africa’s Usuthu Arts Production, Farafina Kan, African Heritage Dancers & Drummers, and New York’s Bambara Drum and Dance Ensemble. DanceAfrica also features a series of Master Classes launching with KanKouran on Tuesday, May 29, at 6:30 p.m. Performances are Friday, June 1, at 8 p.m., and all afternoon Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3. 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets for stage performances are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, and $16 for Master Classes. Call 202-269-1600 or visit


The American College Dance Association returns to the Kennedy Center for another annual showcase of some of the finest dance works created at and selected by 30 participating dance schools and universities. Presented in three distinct programs, each offered twice, one per night, the choreography represents a breadth of styles and content created by guest artists, faculty, and students. Thursday, June 7, through Saturday, June 9, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $30 each program. Call 202-467-4600 or visit



Born in London to Nigerian parents, this lesbian comedian followed in the footsteps of John Oliver to become the current British Correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. A Top 10 finalist on Last Comic Standing, the first Brit to appear on Def Comedy Jam, and a recurring guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (as “Madame Yashere: The Surly Psychic”), among her other credits, Yashere returns to her stand-up roots in a run of shows marking her headlining debut at the DC improv. Chicago-based comedian/storyteller Kellye Howard opens. Friday, June 8, at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m., Saturday, June 9, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, June 10, at 7 p.m. DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $17 to $22, plus a two-item minimum per ticket. Call 202-296-7008 or visit

David Sedaris: Calypso



The authors who inspired the films Call Me By Your Name and Love, Simon will be the focus next week at two discussions toasting LGBT Pride Month at the world’s largest library, and moderated by the Library’s Roswell Encina. Set in 1980s Italy, the coming-of-age love story Call Me By Your Name garnered critical and commercial success last year, including an Oscar for James Ivory’s adapted screenplay. And yet, the adaptation is not without some criticism — mostly for the decision by director Luca Guadagnino to forego depictions of the kind of explicit sex and nudity that was detailed throughout André Aciman’s original novel. The author will discuss all that as well as the possibility of a sequel, followed by a book signing, on Wednesday, June 6, at 7 p.m. Meanwhile, Becky Albertalli will discuss her experiences working with Hollywood in adapting her debut young adult novel from 2015, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Renamed Love, Simon and released earlier this year by 20th Century Fox, the gay comedy-drama focuses on the travails of a budding gay teen. Albertalli will sign books after the discussion. Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m. Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Tickets are free, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call 202-707-8000 or visit


Over 3,000 people attended last year’s inaugural, day-long book festival up in Columbia. Presented by the Downtown Columbia Partnership of Maryland, Books in Bloom offers readings, panel discussions, a children’s author tent, and a pop-up bookstore by Politics & Prose. This year’s lineup of celebrated authors includes: Jennifer Palmieri, the Director of Communications for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and author of Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run The World; Nathan Bomey, a USA Today reporter and author of After The Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump; Vikram Sunderam, the James Beard Award-winning chef and co-author of the Rasika: Taste of India cookbook; Amanda Lucidon, former official White House photographer for First Lady Michelle Obama and author of Chasing Light; Edwidge Danticat, the Haitian-American novelist whose works include the Oprah’s Book Club selection Breath, Eyes, Memory; Elliot Ackerman, National Book Award finalist for the novel Dark at the Crossing; and Bonnie Siegler, prominent New York graphic designer and author of Signs of Resistance: A Visual History of Protest in America. Sunday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown Columbia Lakefront, 10221 Wincopin Circle. Free. Call 410-964-4984 or visit


A sweeping history of our understanding of heredity, from Charles Darwin to the birth of genetics in the early 1900s, written by a New York Times columnist and science writer. In addition to genes from our ancestors, Zimmer says we inherit other things that matter as much or more to our lives, from microbes to new technologies. She Has Her Mother’s Laugh weaves together historical and current scientific research as well as experiences and original reporting from the author, who will be in conversation with The Atlantic science writer Yong. Wednesday, June 6, at 6:30 p.m. Kramerbooks, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-387-1400 or visit


The prolific, gay, modern-day humorist returns with his first book in five years, a collection of 21 essays offering mordant observations about his family and various relations. Yet his focus with Calypso is more inward and personal, touching on the inescapable reality of middle age and advancing mortality, as well as recounting his bout with skin cancer and chronicling family gatherings at his Carolina beach house — all of it presented with Sedaris’ signature wit and keen sense of observation. Monday, June 4, at 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit


A deeply researched biography that chronicles the slain gay leader’s achievements as a progressive politician, from his work in the 1960s with the Society for Individual Rights to his historic election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Faderman, a leading LGBTQ scholar, shows that Milk’s political ideals owed as much to the Jewish liberalism of his Long Island upbringing as they did to his later experiences as a gay man. Thursday, June 7, at 7 p.m. Politics and Prose at the Wharf, 70 District Square SW. Call 202-488-3867 or visit


In the 20th century, thousands of American women and girls were locked up, usually without due process, often for the mere suspicion of being sexually active — as part of a government plan to eradicate sexually transmitted diseases through the regulation of women’s bodies and sexuality. Sex, Surveillance, and the Decades-Long Government Plan to Imprison “Promiscuous” Women is the subtitle for this book-length examination into what was dubbed the “American Plan,” a discriminatory program that lasted well into the 1950s across the nation. It also laid the foundation for the modern system of women’s prisons. Drawn from his award-winning thesis at Yale and named after one unfairly imprisoned woman, Stern’s book helps to shine a light on what he calls a “virtually lost chapter of our history.” Furthermore, the book’s publisher holds it up as “vital reading” in today’s #MeToo/#TimesUp era of renewed activism against gender discrimination and harassment. Saturday, June 2, at 1 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit

Thom Haller at Pixies pillows



The Phillips Collection and four other historical museums offer free admission as part of this 35th annual event. The participating museums are: Anderson House, 2118 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Woodrow Wilson House, 2340 S St. NW, Dumbarton House, 2715 Q St. NW, and the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, 1811 R St. NW (Sunday, June 3, only) in addition to the Phillips, 1600 21 St. NW (opening at noon on Sunday, June 3). Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit


The Washington Studio School presents a series of 11 large-scale abstract works that explore what painting does, and does not, manage to contain — formally, conceptually, aesthetico-historically — within the space of a canvas. Kaufman, a Washington-area painter and WSS faculty member, took inspiration from Agnes Martin, Paul Klee, and daily news for the paintings. Opening Reception is Friday, June 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. On display to July 15. Main Gallery of the Washington Studio School, 2129 S St. NW. Call 202-234-3030 or visit


Through large-scale paintings and installations, the Baltimore artist explores the tension between calm and chaos — specifically, the anxiety, excitement, panic, and even monotony that comes from just five more minutes of doing something. Through mid-July, Pumphrey’s works on the theme will be on display in both Georgetown and Alexandria as part of a two-part exhibition at two galleries. Part I opens with a reception on Saturday, June 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. On display to July 21, ending with a closing reception. Susan Calloway Fine Arts, 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-965-4601 or visit Part II opens Thursday, June 7. Opening Reception is Sunday, June 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. Closing Reception is July 22, from 2 to 4 p.m. The Athenaeum, 201 Prince St., Alexandria. Call 703-548-0035 or visit For additional events and details about the two-part exhibition, visit


For his first solo exhibition at Long View Gallery, the gay mixed-media artist has incorporated iconography from the Metro system into his signature graffiti-inspired, hand-pulled silkscreen prints, comprised of hundreds of layered portraits of D.C. landmarks and streetscapes. Some pieces take the shape of the now obsolete Metro fare card, with the familiar magnetic stripe running the length of the ride side of the artwork. Others, focused on prominent D.C. establishments including the Black Cat and Dacha Beer Garden, are backdropped by the iconic, coffered architecture of Metro stations. And then there are the images of Metro cars in motion running through the middle of many of his artworks, nodding to the speed at which the city is changing. Opening Reception is Thursday, May 31, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. On display through July 1. Long View Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW. Call 202-232-4788 or visit

Burning Man at Renwick Gallery: — Photo: Ron Blunt


The Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery has turned over its entire building to present the first major national exhibition focused on Burning Man, in particular the annual Nevada desert event’s maker culture and creative spirit. In fact, the exhibition even extends “Beyond the Renwick,” with six sculptural works from Burning Man installed nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue west of the White House as well as on Connecticut Avenue and other major corridors. The full exhibition is on view through Sept. 16, while half of it will remain up until Jan. 21, 2019. In addition, next week offers a book talk in the temple of the exhibit with author and Burner Jennifer Raiser discussing her book, “Art on Fire,” which showcases the stunning art unique to the annual event. Thursday, June 7, at 6 p.m. Renwick Gallery, Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


The annual experimental music event takes place this Saturday, June 2 (see Music), and that’s followed the next day by the launch of a month-long related exhibition influenced and inspired by Man Ray’s photograph of Marcel Duchamp’s The Great Glass covered in dust motes, Élevage de Poussière. Works reinterpreting or subverting lyrics, sound, and musical ephemera from an assortment of LGBTQ artists and allies — including Metro Weekly‘s Todd Franson — will be on display, with a percentage of sales benefiting the host venue and a queer charity TBA. Opening Reception with pamphlet-binding workshop is Sunday, June 3, from 1 to 5 p.m. Exhibition runs to June 30. Rhizome DC, 6950 Maple St. NW. Tickets are $10. Visit


Miss Pixie’s offers an exhibition of pillows and prints featuring quirky, playful pop culture images, all digital art collages made by a D.C.-based artist who is in the process of launching the site In all, there are 47 artworks — 25 pillows and 22 prints — and all priced under $100. Opening Reception, with light refreshments, is Friday, June 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. On display through June 30. 1626 14th St. NW. Call 202-232-8171 or visit


Robert Miller, deputy director of photography at the Washington Post, has juried the second installment of an annual exhibition in Glen Echo Park’s Photoworks Gallery featuring works exploring the connections and divisions of the nation and in the nation’s capital. Represented photographers include William Edwards, Robb Hill, Sumaiya Haque, Carol Balassa, Diane Charnov, David Heagy, Mercedes Jelinek, Morton H. Friedman, Ray Alvareztorres, Michael Jourdan, Geoff Livingston, Sasha Hull, and Brian Dailey. Opening Reception is Sunday, June 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. On display through July 1. 1st Floor of the Arcade Building, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Md. Call 301-634-2274 or visit


The latest thematic group show from member artists of Virginia’s Del Ray Artisans Gallery focuses on adventure, travel, and new experiences, celebrating the diversity and beauty found in every corner of the world. Opening Reception is Friday, June 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. On display to June 24. 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria. Call 703-731-8802 or visit

Chef’s Best



Forty chefs and mixologists from restaurants in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia come together to prepare dishes and cocktails for attendees — in the process raising approximately $900,000 for Food & Friends. Ari Gejdenson of Mindful Restaurants Group (Acqua al 2, Ghibellina) serves as this year’s Chef Chair, and has recruited as key participants Kevin Tien of Himitsu, Harper McClure of Brothers and Sisters, Carlos Delgado of China Chilcano, Johanna Hellrigl of Doi Moi, and Malkhaz Maisashvili of Supra. The organization’s executive director Craig Shniderman is this year’s Chef’s Best honoree, toasting his 23-year tenure as it draws to a close. The night also offers the chance to bid on silent and live auction items from fantastic trips to one-of-a-kind experiences and private dining opportunities. Monday, June 4. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with live auction bidding around 8:30 p.m. Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $350. Visit


If you’re a foodie struggling to keep your palate on the pulse of D.C.’s burgeoning restaurant scene, you can’t do much better than Mess Hall. Throughout the year, the food incubator in Northeast’s Edgewood neighborhood features the hottest new and forthcoming restaurants in a festival environment. In addition to the winter Ramen World, there’s this popular event, now in its fourth iteration. Previews on offer at NKOTB 4.0: Call Your Mother, from the team behind Petworth’s Timber Pizza, The Imperial, an offshoot of Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Mama Chang from Peter Chang (Q by Peter Chang), Three Blacksmiths from John MacPherson (Foster Harris House), Shilling Canning Company from the Dabney veteran Reid Shilling, Chop Shop Taco from Ed McIntosh (Tortilladora), Bandoola Bowl from the team behind Mandalay, and Cielo Rojo from David Perez, among others. And all can be washed down by established local drinks purveyors Flying Dog Brewery and distilleries One Eight, New Columbia (makers of Green Hat Gin), and Catoctin Creek. Finally, local artist Veronica Melendez will be displaying and selling her food-focused artworks. Ticketed in two-hour sessions, at 12 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 3. Mess Hall, 703 Edgewood St. NE. Tickets are $65, or $115 for VIP priority access with swag bag. Visit


Ba’Naka and Bombalicious Eklaver will host round after round of 45-minute bingo sessions at the Taylor Gourmet shop near 14th and U Streets NW. It’s all part of a free Pride-themed special event with complimentary salads and cocktails — and benefiting Casa Ruby. Thursday, June 7, with sessions at 6, 7, and 8 p.m. 1908 14th St. NW.



DJ Dominique Wells and the Rock Creek Social Club kick off a new monthly party held up as one aiming “to create a safe social space curated by and created for women.” (“Men are 100-percent welcome,” the flyer continues, as long as they’re “mindful of the women around you — don’t be an ass or grab one.”) The host venue is the year-old Diet Starts Monday, the tiny bar/restaurant/retail space at the intersection of 14th and U Streets NW that formerly housed the BBQ Joint. The party’s wide-ranging musical mix of R&B, hip-hop, EDM, go-go, and dance styles from the Caribbean will come from the DJ collective Mxdhouse as well as from DJs/hosts Ayes Cold, Manesqueeze, Domo, Shiva, Tashaze, Kleo, and the Mixstresses. And a portion of proceeds will be donated to helping women dealing with domestic violence. First Thursdays of the month beginning June 7, at 9 p.m. 2005 14th St. Tickets are $15 online, or $30 at the door (if available). Visit

Rayceen Pendarvis — Photo: Julian Vankim



Over the years this nerdy comedian has patented a brand of irreverent, succinct parodies of popular science fiction/fantasy franchises, everything from One Man Lord of the Rings to the more recent One Man Dark Knight. These CliffsNotes-esque theatrical shows include plenty of pop culture references and side-jokes to broaden the appeal beyond their core fan bases. Ross returns to the Birchmere with one of his originals, whittling down the first three movies in the Star Wars franchise, including The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Saturday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


Baltimore’s premiere queer cabaret collective offers a hodgepodge of delights in the weeks leading up to Pride. Performers include rebellious local burlesque troupe Bunns of Steele, D.C.-based “nerdcore rap band” Wreck The System, singer-songwriter Zoë Ravenwood, comedian and Laughfinder podcaster Violet Gray, and playwright Kate Bishop, presenting a new original one-act SLUR. All that plus “surprises from your favorite kitties too.” Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, starting with cocktails at 7 p.m. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 410-752-8558 or visit


Smithsonian at 8, a younger, hipper event series organized by Smithsonian Associates, offers a notable Pride-pegged after-hours event at the National Museum of African Art. The focus is on the museum’s recent acquisition of two deeply personal and mesmerizing videos by Kenyan artist and singer-songwriter Jim Chuchu. Through Invocation: The Severance of Ties and Invocation: Release, Chuchu commemorates his journey of coming out as a gay African man — and also envisions a more inclusive African future — through evocative imagery and pulsing house beats composed by the artist himself. The videos will be on display at the museum throughout the month of Pride, but only on the first Friday in June can you view them as part of the Pride-focused evening affair offering access to other exhibitions and installations as well as curators’ talks, cocktails by Tortoise and Hare, a photo booth by OM Digital, and music and dancing with DJ Alkimist — plus a playlist created for the party by Chuchu. Friday, June 1, from 8 to 11 p.m. 950 Independence Ave. SW. Tickets are $30 to $35, or $50 to $60 for VIP access with open bar and appetizers from 7 to 8 p.m. Call 202-633-3030 or visit


The Washington Improv Theater presents a mix of vignettes featuring different ensembles, with each plot developed on-the-fly, spurred by a single audience suggestion. With Interplay, WIT’s own improvisers create mash-up performances with special guests from the worlds of music, puppetry, poetry, dance, and more — a new artistic collaboration creating interdisciplinary hybrids every week. Each night offers a different mix of WIT ensembles, including Hellcat, Martinez, Nox!, and Bear Trap. Performances this weekend include collaborations with additional improvisers from the live art competition known as Super Art Fight. Artists with the kids-oriented PuppetCo. are featured in shows over Memorial Day. Weekends to June 17. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


Rayceen Pendarvis hosts the monthly LGBTQ variety show, with the June edition featuring a comedy showcase with Anthony Oakes, Curt Mariah, and the Improv Imps, with live music by singer Cecily, and burlesque act GiGi Holliday. DJ Suspence will kick off the evening spinning tunes while attendees enjoy drinks from a cash bar, eat free catered food, and interact with exhibitors and vendors. Wednesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Call 800-777-4723 or visit

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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