17TH STREET HIGH HEEL RACE
What started just for fun and a little neighborhood bonding three decades ago by a couple of JR.’s employees has now become one of the city’s most popular annual events — and as of this year, has even been co-opted by the city as an official “Mayor Muriel Bowser presents” affair. Spectators start assembling in the blocks between Cobalt and JR.’s, or R Street to P Street, as early as the late afternoon, so get there early and stake out a spot if you want to see the high-heeled sprinters and the pre-race “parade.” The 32nd Annual event, set for Tuesday, Oct. 30, begins with the “Parade” at 7 p.m. The race starts promptly at 9 p.m. Visit facebook.com/17thStreetHighHeelRace.
FRANKENSTEIN, HALLOWEEN, NOSFERATU
The AFI Silver Theatre offers an annual week-long “Halloween on Screen” series. Highlights including Frankenstein (1931), free screenings with live musical accompaniment by the U.S. Navy Band, Friday, Oct. 26, at 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m.; John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), which ushered in a golden age of American slasher cinema and screens in a 40th anniversary presentation that includes Count Gore De Vol, Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 31, 6:30 p.m.; and Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922), German silent film master F. W. Murnau’s appropriation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that set the standard for all vampire flicks to come, presented with live accompaniment by the Silent Orchestra, Saturday, Oct. 27, at 5:30 and 10:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 28, at 6:30 p.m. AFI Silver, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $13 general admission, or $10 for matinee screenings. Call 301-495-6720 or visit afi.com/Silver.
ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE
Caitlin Stasey stars as a cheerleader fighting against the supernatural in a 2013 horror comedy written and directed by Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson for Modernciné. Five years after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, All Cheerleaders Die is screened in D.C. at the Halloween Edition of Queer Girls Movie Night, the free, inclusive event offered at the Black Cat. Tuesday, Oct. 30. Doors at 7 p.m. Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Free. Call 202-667-4490 or visit blackcatdc.com.
BACK TO THE ’90S: THE ULTIMATE ’90S HALLOWEEN
Jammin Java offers a Halloween costume party and contest all soundtracked with music from the 1990s as played by a DJ plus live performances by four cover bands tributing 311 (Evolution), Incubus (Enjoy Incubus), Red Hot Chili Peppers (The Good Time Boys), and Cake (Cupcake). Also featuring decade-centric trivia and raffle prizes. Friday, Oct. 26. Doors at 7 p.m. 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna. Tickets are $15. Call 703-255-3747 or visit jamminjava.com.
CONGRESSIONAL CEMETERY: SOUL STROLLS
Edgar Hoover, buried alongside his “deputy” Clyde Tolson, surely rests as the most sinister of all 67,000 permanent residents at this 35-acre historic graveyard. It’s an eerie proposition any time of year, taking a nighttime stroll past the graves of Hoover and Tolson, former Presidents John Quincy Adams and Zachary Taylor, composer John Philip Sousa, and the many Civil War-era Congressional leaders interred here. The nonprofit-run, Christ Church-owned landmark offers guided, hour-long tours with docents and costumed interpreters. Beer, wine, and cider are available for purchase in the Chapel. But note: if you want to go, you’ll need to arrive early in hopes of snagging “limited number” same-night, on-site tickets offered on a first-come, first-served basis; advanced tickets are sold out online. Tours depart every 15 minutes from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, and from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. 1801 E St. SE. Tickets are $30. Call 202-543-0539 or visit congressionalcemetery.org.
EIGHTIES MAYHEM: ’80S HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY
FYM Productions presents a full club event with two floors and three rooms of Halloween madness at the Black Cat, where costumes are encouraged. The themes are Redrum in the Red Room, Bowser’s Halloween Castle and Mario Bros. Madness in the Backstage, where DJ Killa K will be playing the darker side of the ’80s, and a Beetlejuice theme and full mayhem upstairs with DJs Steve EP and Missguided. Saturday, Oct. 27, starting at 9 p.m. 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $18 day-of show. Call 202-667-4490 or visit blackcatdc.com.
IMPROBABLE COMEDY: SPOOKY STAND-UP
Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes at this Halloween party where the chief focus is on performances by area comics, including Rose Vineshank, Haywood Turnipseed Jr., Monica Welham, and Anthony Oakes. Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. Cissel-Saxon American Legion Post 41, 8110 Fenton St., Silver Spring. Tickets are $16 in advance, or $20 at the door; $20 advance purchase VIP includes reserved seating and a Candy Corn Cocktail. Call 301-588-8937 or visit improbablecomedy.com.
MURDER MYSTERY COMEDY SHOW: HALLOWEEN WHODUNIT
Another comedy-focused Halloween event, this one from Die Laughing Productions in which the audience is asked to solve a murder. The setup: Shooting for the horror flick The Friday the 13th After Next turns deadly, and the set becomes a crime scene. The likely suspects are the featured performers, including Rob Maher, Sean Gabbert, and Tommy Sinbazo — and perhaps an audience member or two. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m. DC Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $19, plus a two-item minimum. Call 202-296-7008 or visit dcimprov.com.
Creative Cauldron celebrates its 10th season of producing theater by restaging Matt Conner’s haunted musical telling of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and short stories, seven years after the Virginia company first produced it. Featuring a book by Grace Barnes, Nevermore breathes new life into Poe’s work and explores a twisted true-life tale that is as bizarre as his classic stories of the macabre. To Oct. 28. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $20 to $32. Call 703-436-9948 or visit creativecauldron.org.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING ZOO
Friends of the National Zoo offers this annual, adults-only affair featuring performance artists, particularly those working in the odd and eerie realms, a costume contest, a DJ dance party, and craft beer and food truck fare. The VIP Experience also includes express check-in, one additional drink ticket, exclusive takeaway gift, exclusive animal experiences and viewings, private bar, lounge, and dance floor, and complimentary food tastings from local restaurants including Bier Baron Tavern, Blackfinn Ameripub, Dolci Gelati, El Centro, and Radiator. Friday, Oct. 26, from 7 to 10 p.m. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. General admission is $40, or $90 for VIP. Call 202-633-4800 or visit nationalzoo.si.edu.
OYAMEL: DAY OF THE DEAD COCKTAIL, BEER DINNERS
José Andrés’ temple to Mexican cuisine has concocted special menus and events to celebrate the country’s holiday Day of the Dead. The restaurant, under Head Chef Omar Rodriguez, features two dinners to toast the holiday — one, Tuesday, Oct. 30, a Cocktail Dinner with each of five courses paired with a specialty cocktail, the other, Thursday, Nov. 1, a Three Stars Beer Dinner with each of five courses paired with a new release from D.C.’s 3 Stars Brewing Company. Both dinners run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $75. 401 7th St. NW. Call 202-628-1005 or visit oyamel.com.
PARADISE BY THE JACK O’LANTERN LIGHT
Paradise Found is a new monthly event from Honi Harlow and Lucrezia Blozia, who aren’t playing when they call this a variety show — with everything from drag and burlesque to musical comedy and sideshow, to “sexy women on poles, sexy men on poles and even some fisticuffs.” Eva Brontosaurus — the “dirty ditties”-singing drag trio of Shortstaxx with Harlow and Blozia — will help all “get down, spooky ooky ooky” at the Halloween edition, which also features performances from Val Oliphant, Fernando Maldonado, Sally Cinch — and “fisticuffs by Christian Sullivan & Co.” Friday, Oct. 26. Doors at 10:30 p.m., with show starting promptly at 11 p.m. Jordin’s Paradise Wellness Center, 1215 Connecticut Ave. NW. 4th Floor. Tickets are $10 at the door for this BYOB party. Call 202-997-8211 or search “Paradise Found” in facebook.com.
POE IN THE VAULT
Every year actors from Guillotine Theatre, formerly known as the Georgetown Theatre Company, gather to “communicate with the spirits and read a witches’ brew of poems and short stories,” all by “America’s 19th Century Master of Horror.” This year’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination selections, presented in a cemetery vault in Alexandria, are centered around a theme highlighting Edgar Allan Poe’s incredible bad luck with women, including Ligeia, Berenice, Eleonora, Annabel Lee, and The Raven. Saturday, Oct. 27, and Sunday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. The Receiving Vault, Ivy Hill Cemetery, 2823 King St. Alexandria. Requested donation of $10. Call 703-549-7413 x1112 or visit georgetowntheatre.org.
The area’s two Angelika theaters close out their month-long “Hitchcocktober” with one of the director’s most famous works. Made in 1960, Psycho remains among greatest horror films in the history of cinema, single-handedly reinventing the genre. Anthony Perkins gives the performance of his career as Norman Bates, the meek, neurotic owner of an eerily isolated motel where he lives with his domineering mother. His life is forever changed when Marion Crane (the lovely Janet Leigh) stays for a night. The film is celebrated for a shower to end all showers — a master class in editing — and for Bernard Herrmann’s magnificent, instantly recognizable all-strings score. Psycho also features Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam and, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss it cameo, Ted Knight, who a decade later would star as the dumbest anchorman alive on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Also Angelika Film Center – Mosaic, 2911 District Ave, Fairfax. Tickets are $10. Call 800-680-9095 or visit angelikafilmcenter.com. (Randy Shulman)
RAVEN’S NIGHT: MEMENTO MORI
Local married couple Belladonna and drag king extraordinaire Ken Vegas co-produce a wide-ranging show, rooted in Bella’s primary work as a “tribal fusion bellydance” performer and teacher, as well as her background as a medieval reenactor. In many ways, Raven’s Night, which doubles as a masquerade ball, is the sort of event you’re only going to experience around this time of year — not least for its name, an homage to Baltimore’s master of macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. Bella hosts the 7th Annual cabaret, concert, and carnival event with a Day of the Dead-esque theme about celebrating and affirming life — “as death is a reminder to seize the day.” Saturday, Nov. 3, starting at 5 p.m. with an alt-World’s Fair-style exposition and sideshow, including Tarot readings, magic, and belly dancing, followed by a dinner concert at 6:30 p.m., and the Cabaret Melancholia at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $25. Call 703-549-7500 or visit ravensnight.com.
SMITHSONIAN’S DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVITIES
The National Museum of the American Indian offers a three-day festival dedicated to the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. The festivities kick off Friday, Oct. 26, with a free, family-friendly After Hours evening featuring the band Mariachi Los Amigos and Mexican folk dance group Bailes de Mi Tierra, activities including the creation of an interactive mural with Joaquin Newman and making paper marigolds, and tacos, tamales, mezcal cocktails, desserts, and agua fresca available for purchase from the Mitsitam Café and Tico DC. The galleries will also be open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Free, but RSVP recommended, as entry is first-come, first-served. Call 202-633-1000 or visit nmai.si.edu.
SMITHSONIAN HALLOWEEN FILM FESTIVAL
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History plays host to screenings of an eclectic mix of Halloween classics and cult favorites the last weekend of October. The festival kicks off Thursday, Oct. 25, with Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus at 6:30 p.m., followed by Practical Magic at 8:15 p.m. The next evening, Friday, Oct. 26, brings 28 Days Later at 6 p.m. and Shaun of the Dead at 8:05 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, sees The Mummy (1932) at 2 p.m., Frankenstein (1931) at 3:30 p.m., and Dracula (1931) at 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, brings out the frighteningly funny flicks, with Young Frankenstein (1974) at 2 p.m., Beetlejuice at 4 p.m., and The Addams Family at 5:45 p.m. All screenings in the Warner Bros. Theater, 1300 Constitution Ave. NW. Tickets are $10 each or $50 for a festival pass. Call 202-633-1000 or visit si.edu.
TEN TIGERS: TALES OF HORROR AND DREAD, THE COVEN’S OTHERWORLD
Next Friday, Oct. 26, the hip Petworth venue hosts two free LGBTQ-driven, Halloween-themed events. First downstairs from 7 to 9 p.m. will be creepy readings from local queer authors Marianne Kirby, Sunny Moraine, Na’amen Tilahun, and Dave Ring — and for added measure, tarot readings and even a “zombie photo booth.” That’ll be followed upstairs starting at 10 p.m. with a special Halloween edition of Kate Ross’ usually second-Saturdays “witchy dance party.” DJ Tezrah will showcase her musical magic for dancing patrons who are encouraged to “wear your best costume to disguise yourself from the dark spirits.” However, “only good (well, mostly good) spirits welcome.” Ten Tigers Parlour, 3813 Georgia Ave. NW. Call 202-506-2080 or visit tentigersdc.com.
THE EXORCIST: EXTENDED DIRECTOR’S CUT
At the time, William Friedkin’s film blew the socks off all other horror films, providing a relentless, shocking account of a young girl who is possessed by demons and must be exorcised. It was the first of its kind and it still remains one of the most horrific and intense, thanks to Friedkin’s masterful direction and a stunning performances by Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, and Linda Blair. Part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 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.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, WITH LIVE MUSIC
Andrew Earle Simpson, the curator and resident musician for the Silent Film Series at the the Atlas Performing Arts Center, performs original music as director Jean Epstein’s 1928 film screens overhead. Originally released in France as La chute de la Maison d’Usher, Epstein worked with future pioneering director Luis Buñuel to co-write a creepy cinematic adaptation about the eccentric aristocrat Roderick Usher who obsesses over Madeline to the point of having her buried alive in the family crypt. Presented by permission of the Cinematheque Francaise. Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $14 to $20. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
THE LEGWARMERS: HALLOWEEN BASH
It’s been 17 years since Gordon Gartrell and Cru Jones started what has long been heralded as D.C.’s “premier ’80s tribute band,” performing the many guilty pleasure hits of the decade. The group has performed at concert halls throughout the region and beyond, Yet its primary base has been Virginia’s State Theatre. The band returns to the restored Art Deco building for two nights during the last weekend in October, when the usual audience participation of dressing the part — think shellacked big hair, lacy ankle socks, stirrup and parachute pants — will be amped up to 11, as both nights feature a Halloween Costume Contest with cash prizes, along with other spooky surprises. Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27. Doors at 7 p.m. The State Theatre, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. Tickets are $18. Call 703-237-0300 or visit thestatetheatre.com.
THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW
Every October, Landmark’s E Street Cinema presents not just one but two weekends with screenings 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 as interactive as can be — particularly the last weekend of the month with a special Halloween run. Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, at midnight, and Sunday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit landmarktheatres.com.
WASHINGTON WALKS: THE MOST HAUNTED HOUSES, CAPITOL HAUNTINGS
Billed as “the original Washington, D.C. ghost tour,” Most Haunted Houses — set for Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. — is an all-outdoor walk through Lafayette Park, purportedly “the most haunted site in the city.” Bustling with White House staffers by day, the seven-acre park is eerily quiet by night, aside from the ghosts and spirits serving as reminders of the many violent quarrels, vicious attacks, murders, and suicides that have taken place there. The other annual haunted Washington Walks tour, Capitol Hauntings — Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. — explores one of D.C.’s oldest neighborhoods — also historically one of its gayest. Carolyn Crouch herself leads this all-outdoor spotlight on the ghosts who are said to haunt the U.S. Capitol as well as the Supreme Court. Tickets to either two-hour tour are $15 to $20. Call 202-484-1565 or visit washingtonwalks.com.
Sure to do nothing to help thaw current U.S.-Russia relations (outside the White House), this film markets itself as being from the producers of the Fast and the Furious franchise and Olympus Has Fallen. That alone should let you know if Hunter Killer — about a Gerard Butler-captained U.S. submarine sent into Russian waters to save the Russian president, who’s been kidnapped by his own Defense Minister — is worth your time. Spoilers: It probably isn’t. Area theaters. (Rhuaridh Marr)
Jonah Hill steps behind the camera as writer-director for a film inspired by his childhood growing up in ’90s-era LA skater culture. Sunny Suljic (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) stars as 13-year-old Stevie, who escapes his abusive home life after falling in with a crowd at the local skate shop. A coming-of-age tale, critics suggest it’s far from original, but they’re lauding it regardless — one even called it a “minor masterpiece.” (RM)
Philip Kennicott, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post art and architecture critic, presents a Sunday cinema series in which the built environment is the star — and in which each film is an architectural experience in and of itself, whether real or imagined. This three-film Reel Architecture series at the Hill Center continues with Playtime, the fanciful 1967 French film from comic genius Jacques Tati, whose persona, Mr. Hulot, never utters a word. In the ultimate example of architectural extravagance onscreen, Tati constructed his own “Tativille,” complete with a power plant, something that kept him in debt for years. The ability to see this remarkable comedy on the big screen is rare and should not be missed. Sunday, Oct. 28, Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Free, but registration required due to limited space. Call 202-549-4172 or visit HillCenterDC.org.
Illyria — Photo: C. Stanley Photography
Before a note has been sung in Michael J. Bobbitt’s bustling new production of Aida at Constellation Theatre, A.J. Guban’s glossy scenery has set a ripe tone for the pop-musical tour of ancient Egypt. It’s a great-looking set — a neon-lit, three-sided stage evoking a pyramid chamber built inside a ’70s Vegas casino. It seems just the right platform for an intimate rendering of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Tony-winning show. Amidst the glamour, and Guban’s ace lighting design, the production hits several stunning visual tableaux. That glamour can be pleasantly diverting, or just distracting. In one corner, Shayla S. Simmons — this production’s most compelling element — is acting her heart out as a woman in love and in captivity, surviving knowing she’s one look, gesture, or irresponsible word away from being found out — or worse, executed. In the other corner, a cast of Cher’s backup dancers are rolling around in lamé scarves. The two halves don’t fit, but a half-moving story seeps out just the same. To Nov. 18. Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $55. Call 202-204-7741, or visit ConstellationTheatre.org. (Andre Hereford)
From the Tony-winning creators of Ragtime comes a dazzling musical taking audiences on a journey from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Darko Tresnjak directs the touring production of this show from the composer/lyricist team of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens with a book by Terrence McNally. Performances start Tuesday, Oct. 30. Runs to Nov. 25. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $175. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Theatre Prometheus presents Naomi Iizuka’s adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, focused on the journey of a child refugee separated from his mother in contemporary America. Jon Jon Johnson directs the politically relevant story featuring multiple characters brought to life by a diverse cast. Closes Saturday, Oct. 27. Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $25. Call 301-588-8270 or visit silverspringblackbox.com.
BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY
GALA Theatre’s GALita Young Audiences series presents the world premiere of a bilingual play for children based on the life of Mexican-American botanist Ynés Mexia. Written by Cecilia Cackley and directed by Elena Velasco, Entre la tierra y el cielo follows a curious girl as she explores the magical world of plants and stars, and breaks with family and societal expectations. Closes Saturday, Oct. 27. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $12. Call 202-234-7174 or visit galatheatre.org.
BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL
Adventure Theatre presents a world-premiere adaptation of the classic book by Robert McCloskey, in recognition of its 70th anniversary of publication. A co-commission with New York City’s Children’s Theatre, the work was written by Sandra Eskin and Adventure’s Michael J. Bobbitt and features music and lyrics by William Yanesh. Directed by Jess Jung. Extended to Oct. 28. Adventure Theatre MTC, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. Tickets are $20. Call 301-634-2270 or visit adventuretheatre-mtc.org.
Focused on a young heroine who unlocks a door in her new house and reveals an alternate world with a dangerous secret, Neil Gaiman’s 2002 children’s book has inspired adaptations across a range of media, from a stop-motion animated feature to an opera. A decade ago, David Greenspan adapted the fantasy horror for the stage in collaboration with Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields. And that is the version the quirky and adventurous Landless Theatre is producing. Melissa Baughman directs. Closes Sunday, Oct. 28. Best Medicine Rep Theatre, Second Floor, Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Ave., in Gaithersburg, Md. Tickets are $10 to $20. Visit landlesstheatre.com.
A chance encounter at a London train stop changes the course of life for two people in this tender, funny, intimate comedy from Tony Award-winner Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time). Michael Russotto and Rachel Zampelli star. Joe Calarco directs. To Nov. 11. Ark Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit sigtheatre.org.
HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE
An astonishing chronicle of one woman’s journey to break the cycle of sexual abuse by Baltimore-native Paula Vogel. The great Helen Hayes Award-winning actress Alyssa Wilmoth Keegan (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) plays the adult survivor Li’l Bit, whose “education” at the hands of her Uncle Peck (Peter O’Connor) began when she was a mere eleven. The cast is rounded out by Daven Ralston, Emily Townley, and Craig Wallace. To Nov. 4. 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 240-644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.
ILLYRIA, OR WHAT YOU WILL
The freedom to be who you truly are and love whomever you want is the focus of this fresh adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night by Jonelle Walker and Mitchell Hébert. Essentially every element of the LGBTQ community is represented in the cast of characters, in addition to a drag queen and “two women performing masculinity,” according to Hébert, who is directing a production that opens WSC Avant Bard’s new season. Illyria is set in an anything goes Manhattan dive bar in the post-disco early ’80s, as imagined by set designer Jos. B. Musumeci Jr., plus original era-evoking music by Aaron Bliden. The large cast includes Frank Britton, Katie Gallagher, Jenna Rossman, Dani Stoller, Ezra Tozian, and the company’s former head Christopher Henley. Runs to Nov. 18. Gunston Theater Two, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $40. Call 703-418-4808 or visit avantbard.org.
LABOUR OF LOVE
A clever mashup of the political gamesmanship of The West Wing with a war-of-the-sexes saga akin to Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, James Graham’s Olivier Award-winning comedy is set in a member of Parliament’s district office and pokes witty fun at the ups and downs of left-wing British politics. Leora Morris directs Olney’s production, which features M. Scott McLean and Julia Coffey. To Oct. 28. Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit olneytheatre.org.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
The quirky, enduring, cult-favorite musical by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken is the latest to get a semi-staged production as part of the Kennedy Center’s amazing Broadway Center Stage series. With Megan Hilty as Audrey, Josh Radnor as Seymour, James Monroe Iglehart as the man-eating plant Audrey II, and Amber Iman, Amma Osei, and Allison Semmes as the show’s indelible greek chorus. Directed by Mark Brokaw. To Oct. 28. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $89 to $215. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
LONG WAY DOWN
A stage adaptation of D.C.-area native Jason Reynolds’ best-selling book, told entirely in free-form poetry, about a teenage boy’s desire to avenge the shooting of his brother. A world premiere Kennedy Center commission, adapted by Martine Kei Green-Rogers, directed by Timothy Douglas, and starring Justin Weaks. Intended for audiences age 12 and up. Performances begin Saturday, Oct. 27. Weekends to Nov. 4. Kennedy Center Family Theater. Tickets are $25 to $35. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
ROOMS: A ROCK ROMANCE
MetroStage offers a 10th anniversary production of Paul Scott Goodman’s musical, with a book co-written by Miriam Gordon, focused on an ambitious singer-songwriter who meets a reclusive rocker. Together, they aim for stardom in the London and New York punk scenes of the ’70s. Directed by Tom Jones. To Nov. 11. 1201 North Royal St., Alexandria. Tickets are $55. Call 703-548-9044 or visit metrostage.org.
SING TO ME NOW
Iris Dauterman weaves sardonic humor, poetry, and a deeply contemporary voice to create a comedy about Calliope, the Greek Muse of Epic Poetry, and the value in fighting for beauty while the world is falling apart. Directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick, the Rorschach Theatre production features Ian Armstrong, Tori Boutin, Desiree Chappelle, Erik Harrison, Cam Magee, Chloe Mikala, and Jonathan Del Palmer. Runs to Nov. 18. Lab Theatre II in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $19.99 to $29.99. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
Sleepy Hollow — Photo: Brittany Diliberto
Erie, sophisticated, physically astounding, and quite beautiful, Synetic Theater’s Sleepy Hollow is dance-theater at its magical best. Director Paata Tsikurishvili may have based the production on Washington Irving’s iconic tale of supernatural goings-on in rural Westchester County, but in his hands, it is a flight of storytelling fancy. As with Synetic’s Wordless Shakespeare series, the story here is told through dance, mime, and the extraordinary live and recorded music of composer Konstantine Lortkipanidze. Here, the driver is music, the vision and the “voice” those of Paata Tsikurishvili and choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili. And in keeping with their roots, the ghosts of America’s Revolutionary War may haunt these shadows, but so do some stranger mysteries that feel far more European, where Irving was known to have travelled. The Synetic team seems able to do it all: classically inspired dance, extraordinarily expressive movement, death-defying acrobatics and, on this occasion, some positively transcendent puppetry. There is just nowhere else in this town for such otherworldly entertainment. So gather your friends, enjoy the Georgian wine, and let Synetic tell you a Halloween tale. To November 4. Theater at Crystal City, 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Tickets are $15 to $60. Call 866-811-4111 or visit synetictheater.org. (Kate Wingfield)
A look at the 45-year friendship and occasional rivalry between two great, rebellious, and flawed American icons: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. KenYatta Rogers directs Marni Penning as the pioneering women’s suffragist and Ro Boddie as the famed orator and abolitionist in Mat Smart’s play that shows how the two met as young activists in the 1840s and went on to help shape the course of American history. Produced by Mosaic Theatre. Previews begin Thursday, Oct. 25. Runs to Nov. 24. Lang Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $50 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
Shakespeare’s early comedy of mistaken identities involves two sets of twins and an ocean of confusion. Veanne Cox, Nancy Robinette, Tom Story, Ted van Griethuysen, Sarah Marshall, and Eleasha Gamble head a large, gifted cast. Directed by Alan Paul. Extended to Nov. 4. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit shakespearetheatre.org.
Studio Theatre presents seven student activists from the Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town in a devised work that grapples with the legacies of race, class, gender, history, and power still standing 24 years after the official end of Apartheid. Written as the statue of imperialist Cecil Rhodes was dismantled on campus. To Nov. 18. The Mead Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Tickets are $20 to $45. Call 202-332-3300 or visit studiotheatre.org.
An easy-to-love reggae/ska-steeped alt-rock band from Baltimore comes to D.C. to headline a Halloween-themed concert. To enhance the cool party vibe, Ballyhoo! has enlisted fellow reggae-inspired Maryland-based bands Higher Education and Edjacated Phools as special guests. Friday, Oct. 26. Doors at 7 p.m. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 877-987-6487 or visit unionstage.com.
BSO: THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
The Baltimore Symphony once again celebrates the fall holidays of Halloween and Christmas by performing Danny Elfman’s rambunctious, colorful score while Tim Burton’s 1993 stop-motion animated musical fantasy screens overhead. Scott Terrell conducts. Friday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, 1212 Cathedral St., Baltimore. Tickets are $12.50 to $75. Call 410-783-8000 or visit bsomusic.org.
As an 11-year-old, Elle King made her acting debut in father Rob Schneider’s movie Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. But King’s career as an adult has taken a much different track, as a hard-living blues-fired rockstar. Nearly four years after King’s debut album Love Stuff, featuring the unforgettable 2015 hit “Ex’s & Oh’s,” the 29-year-old bares her soul on new set Shake The Spirit, coming clean about the mental health and substance abuse issues she’s struggled with in the face of her musical fame in recent years. Friday, Nov. 2. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $30. Call 202-888-0050 or visit thelincolndc.com.
FLASH OF THE SPIRIT WORLDWIDE SOUND FESTIVAL
Jim Thompson, the D.C. concert promoter behind the globally focused, genre-bending Multiflora Productions, has renamed his Multiflora Music Festival for its second annual month-long run. The focus is every bit as globally eccentric and eclectic as before, intended to reflect the long-storied multicultural and international flavor of D.C., with groups from China, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Mali, Peru, and Puerto Rico, as well as the broad Washington region. Concerts in the festival’s final week include: Quatro na Bossa, a Richmond-based group that plays mid-20th century Brazilian party music, on Friday, Oct. 26, at Bossa Bistro; D.C.’s Los Gallos Negros with New York’s Radio Jarocho, billed as “a Mexican and Latin-American music showcase to remember,” on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Tropicalia; Turkish pop act Yeni Nostalji with D.C.’s globally inspired post-punk band Time Is Fire, and alt-Latin rock/hip-hop act Matizwave, on Sunday, Oct. 28, at Rhizome; and ending with the monthly District of Raga jam session among Indian classical music practitioners, on Wednesday, Oct. 31, at Bossa Bistro. Visit multifloraproductions.com for more information.
GEORGE CLINTON & PARLIAMENT FUNKADELICS
Earlier this year, R&B revolutionary George Clinton announced plans to retire from the business in 2019. But not until the 77-year-old completes a tour with his funk/soul group as part of an ongoing effort to ensure the post-retirement continuation of his P-Funk collective, which includes friends as well as offspring of Clinton’s and other original members of Parliament and Funkadelic. Clinton and company tour in support of Parliament’s first new recording in 38 years, Medicaid Fraud Dogg. Although it almost assuredly won’t be the dazzling, extravagant live show that the ensemble once made its stock-in-trade, the upcoming stop in D.C. on Halloween night should be enough of a spectacle to make you momentarily forget about the spooky shenanigans outside. Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m. The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $55 to $95, plus $10 minimum per person for all tables. Call 202-588-5595 or visit thehowardtheatre.com.
IN DREAMS: ROY ORBISON IN CONCERT: THE HOLOGRAM TOUR
The Theater at MGM National Harbor presents this concert at which the star attraction is a virtual-reality facsimile of the singer-songwriter who died 30 years ago this year. When the world’s first major holographic tour touched down in London last spring, The Telegraph critic called the show “kind of creepy,” adding that it’s a “discombobulating hi-tech show [with] awe and amusement mixing nostalgic pleasure and incredulous unease.” In other words, consider it only for the die-hard fans who’ve been yearning for decades to see recorded versions of Orbison’s hits — “Only The Lonely,” “Crying,” “You Got It” — performed the the man from beyond the grave. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a thing. Monday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets are $45 to $58 plus fees. Call 844-346-4664 or visit mgmnationalharbor.com.
A Nashville-based jazz/soul artist with a smoky voice and expressive mastery on the piano tours in support of Indigo. Springs was guided in making her new album with a question connecting past to present: “What would Nina Simone do if she had the technology of today?” The result: songs mixing classical composition with quiet-storm R&B, lilting jazz with earthen grooves, and a kind of neo-soul that deserves wider attention and acclaim. Standout gems include “Don’t Need The Real Thing” and her radiant cover of Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which Springs’ first sang at the request of Prince at the 2014 concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of Purple Rain. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 202-787-1000 or visit thehamiltondc.com.
LAURA OSNES & SANTINO FONTANA
Nearly two years after the Tony-nominated leads of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella were featured in a National Symphony Pops concert, the duo returns to the Kennedy Center for another evening of musical “pairings,” breathing life into beloved Broadway standards. And this time out, Osnes (Grease: You’re The One That I Want) and Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) will perform classics by Sondheim as well as newer tunes by Pasek & Paul in a cabaret that reteams them with Cinderella‘s music director Andy Einhorn, who will accompany them on piano. Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. Terrace Gallery. Tickets are $75 to $149. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Touted by the Boston Globe as the “troubadour laureate of modern city folk,” the New York-based Kaplansky has collaborated with Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, and Dar Williams, among other contemporaries who, for one reason or another, have had a tad more mainstream success than she. You might call her a folkie’s folkie. Kaplansky drops by Jammin Java as part of a tour celebrating her first new album in five years, Everyday Street. Friday, Nov. 2. Doors at 6 p.m. 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $25. Call 703-255-3747 or visit jamminjava.com.
NSO POPS: ANDREW BIRD WITH GABRIEL KAHANE
The National Symphony’s Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads a concert with two indie-folk/rock stars in an intimate orchestral experience. More specifically, the program features the NSO performing Kahane’s Ambassador Suite as well as his orchestral reimagining of songs by Bird. The evening concludes with solo performances by Bird and Kahane. Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 to $119. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
OPERA LAFAYETTE: CERERE PLACATA
A local company chiefly focused on performing 18th-century opera using instruments from the period premieres a new edition of a mythology-inspired work from Neapolitan master Niccolò Jommelli. Dating to 1772, Ceres Placated (in English) draws on the story of the goddess of agriculture — Demeter in Greek, Ceres in Roman mythology — and her daughter Persephone/Proserpina, their separation and reconciliation. Charles Brink prepared the modern revision and also serves as guest conductor, in a performance featuring soprano Jennifer Casey-Cabot as Ceres and soprano Laetitia Grimaldi as Proserpina. Sunday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $25 to $120. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
THE FOUR BITCHIN’ BABES
Hormonal Imbalance v2.5: A Mood Swinging Musical Revue features highlights from more than 25 years of a comedic music ensemble. Sally Fingerett, comedic singer Deirdre Flint, and former The Hags singer Debi Smith form the touring core, with the fourth Babe rotating among Nancy Moran or founding Babes Megon McDonough and Christine Lavin. Friday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda. Tickets are $28 to $45. Call 301-581-5100 or visit ampbystrathmore.com.
A powerful, rallying figure in the struggle against apartheid, this “national treasure” from South Africa, where he is known as “The Voice,” continues to serve as a worldwide messenger for peace, dignity, and compassion. Washington Performing Arts presents Mahlasela bolstered by a fiery live band. Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
WASHINGTON CONCERT OPERA: OPERA OUTSIDE
A season that celebrates strong women and includes a debut co-production with Wolf Trap Opera launches this weekend with the company’s second annual free concert in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. In partnership with Washington Parks & People, the program includes works from the upcoming WCO season along with other favorites performed by tenor Joshua Blue, a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist with Washington National Opera, and soprano Maria Valdes, a recent Adler Fellow at San Francisco Opera, with accompaniment from pianist David Hanlon. Saturday, Oct. 27, at 11 a.m. Near the Joan of Arc statue on the top field near Kalorama Rd. between 15th and 16th Streets NW. Free, with kids and pets welcome; those who register in advance are eligible to win free WCO tickets. Visit concertopera.org/outside.
A giant of world music, this Senegalese singer, percussionist, and humanitarian performs a special night in the Kennedy Center’s grand hall presented as part of Renee Fleming’s Voices series. Known as the King of Mbalax, the popular music of his native land, N’Dour is known to American audiences from his featured work on the ’80s albums Graceland by Paul Simon and So by Peter Gabriel. Tuesday, Oct. 30, Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
Silhouettes performance: Dana Tai Soon Burgess — Photo: Sarah Halzack
DANA TAI SOON BURGESS COMPANY: SILHOUETTES
The Smithsonian’s first choreographer-in-residence at the National Portrait Gallery through 2022, Dana Tai Soon Burgess presents a new work inspired by the special exhibition Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now — the first major museum exhibition to explore the art form of cut-paper profiles in terms of their historical roots and contemporary presence. Silhouettes examines the light and dark aspects of the self through a suite of seven dances, each inspired by a silhouette from the exhibition. The emotionally poignant, 30-minute work features eight dancers from Burgess’ company plus video work by designer Kelly Colburn. Saturday, Oct. 27, and Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 6:30 p.m., with post-performance discussions between Burgess and exhibition curator Asma Naeem on Oct. 27 and museum director Kim Sajet on Oct. 30. McEvoy Auditorium, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.
DEMO BY DAMIAN WOETZEL: GATHERING
Former New York City Ballet principal dancer and incoming president of the Juilliard School, Woetzel curates and hosts an evening of cross-genre performances from some of today’s most creative voices. The fall installment, with the theme “a 21st-century gathering of musicians, dancers, and poets,” includes: Lincoln Square, NYCB Principal Tiler Peck’s choreographic debut, a piece she set to the music of Adam Wachter and dances with fellow NCYB dancers Roman Mejia and Christopher Grant; a new collaboration between dancer/choreographers Hope Boykin of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Lauren Lovette of NYCB; Jerome Robbins’s Suite of Dances set to Bach; choreographers Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener’s 3body featuring NYCB Principal Lovette with music set to Andrew Byrne; and a collaboration between the poet Sarah Kay and composer Caroline Shaw. The lineup also includes American Ballet Theater Principal Herman Cornejo, conductor and musician Kurt Crowley, and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Monday, Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $49 to $59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
OMINOUS BY DEREK BROWN
Derek Brown’s high-energy, hip-hop X-Faction Dance troupe was a staple at Velvet Nation and Town Danceboutique. More recently Brown has been making his mark as artistic director at Penn Quarter’s Sax Lounge and as an instructor at the Joy of Motion Dance Center. That organization presents a more formal showcase of Brown’s work in a one-night-only, immersive performance of Ominous, billed as “a spectacular dansical of terror, ideal for the Hallo-weekend.” Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit atlasarts.org.
RAGAMALA DANCE COMPANY: WRITTEN IN WATER
The Acclaimed Bharatanatyam ensemble, created and run by the mother/daughter team of Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, returns to the Kennedy Center with one of its newest productions. Written in Water is a large-scale multi-disciplinary work of dance and text set to a live, original score from South Indian composer Prema Ramamurthy with Iraqi American jazz artist Amir ElSaffar, and also featuring lush paintings by Chennai-based artist V. Keshav projected onto the stage to create a mythic, mystical dance landscape. An allegory of human’s constant search for transcendence, the 65-minute work draws inspiration from the Indian board game Paramapadam, the 2nd century precursor to Snakes and Ladders, and the 12th-century Sufi poem The Conference of the Birds. Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $39. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
SAN FRANCISCO BALLET: UNBOUND FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
The renowned San Francisco Ballet presents the East Coast premieres of works by some of today’s most in-demand choreographers, all originally performed at the company’s groundbreaking festival Unbound, which debuted this past spring. Presented in two distinct programs, the week-long run at the Kennedy Center, accompanied by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, features Program A consisting of Trey McIntyre’s Your Flesh Shall Be A Great Poem, an homage to the choreographer’s grandfather as set to music by singer-songwriter Chris Garneau; Christopher Wheeldon’s Bound To, a reflection of technology in contemporary society set to music by Keaton Henson; and David Dawson’s Anima Animus, which draws on German philosopher Carl Jung for an exploration into the spaces in between polarized opposites. Program B includes The Infinite Ocean, Edwaard Liang’s exploration of the space between life and death set to music by Oliver Davis, Snowblind, Cathy Marston’s narrative piece based on Edith Wharton’s 1911 novella Ethan Frome, and Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Justin Peck’s reverie on dreaming set to songs by instrumental electronic band M83. Performed in repertory to Oct. 28. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $29 to $129. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.
VINCENT E. THOMAS DANCE: WHAT’S GOING ON
Originally co-commissioned by Dance Place and the National Performance Network, the full-length production is a reflection of the world today as viewed through the lens of Marvin Gaye’s music — specifically the 1971 classic about life, love and social justice that gives the show its title. A work featuring modern, jazz, and West African dance from choreographers Vincent E. Thomas, Ralph Glenmore, and Sylvia Soumah, Thomas spearheaded and continues to tour it nationally and present it regionally. Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 4, at 4 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, Md. Tickets are $23 to $28. Call 301-699-1819 or visit joesmovement.org.
Maria Bamford — Photo: Natalie Brasington
McHale is a native of Washington state known from his 12 years as the snarky host of the reality-TV round-up The Soup on E! as well as for playing the vain, sardonic Jeff Winger in the NBC/Yahoo sitcom Community. These days, the comic actor can be seen on Netflix in the National Lampoon-focused biopic A Futile and Stupid Gesture — portraying his former Community co-star Chevy Chase, no less — as well as in the streaming network’s horror-comedy series Santa Clarita Diet. And don’t miss his turn on Comedy Central’s Drunk History in the new episode “Halloween.” McHale comes to the area for four nights of stand-up over Halloween weekend — a neat trick and a sweet treat. Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7 and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 28, 6:30 and 9 p.m. Arlington Cinema N’ Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington. Tickets are $35. Call 703-486-2345 or visit arlingtondrafthouse.com.
An incredibly funny lady whose specialty is self-deprecating humor about the serious personal issues of depression and anxiety, Bamford was the star of the Netflix series Lady Dynamite, which was loosely based on her life. Bamford headlines a special stand-up show at Frederick’s Weinberg Center for the Arts with comedians from the area performing for a good cause: the Safe Ride Foundation, working to fight drunk driving in Maryland’s Frederick County. Joe Gilpin, Wayne Dorsey and Dominic Rivera are the hometown humorists featured at the event. Saturday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m., with a pre-show party featuring refreshments, tastings, and giveaways, at 7 p.m. Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Frederick, Md. Tickets are $$39 to $59. Call 301-600-2828 or visit weinbergcenter.org.
THE BENTZEN BALL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Tig Notaro curates the 10th annual four-day affair from Brightest Young Things, kicking off Thursday, Oct. 25, with Phoebe Robinson, one of the 2 Dope Queens from HBO and author of Everything Is Trash, But It’s Okay, who will be on stage at Bentzen HQ the Lincoln Theatre with Notaro as “special guest.” Other highlights this year include Off Book: The Improvised Musical podcast featuring Jessica Mckenna and Zach Reino accompanied by Scott Passarella, on Friday, Oct. 26, at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage; Get Curious with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy‘s Jonathan Van Ness, who is so popular, he long-ago sold out all three shows on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Lincoln; a show featuring Hollywood lesbian comedy couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher “& Friends” also on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Lincoln; and Marcia Belsky and Melissa Stokoski’s Handmaid’s Tale: The Musical, a parody of the Margaret Atwood novel and Hulu series, set in the dystopian near-future of 2028 Brooklyn, on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Festival runs to Oct. 28. Visit brightestyoungthings.com/bentzen-ball.
THE WIT ROAD SHOW
No two performances are alike when performed by the Washington Improv Theater — D.C.’s answer to those comedy star-making groups such as Chicago’s Second City and L.A.’s Groundlings — especially since they’re spurred on by audience suggestions. Each show features a different mix of the improvised ensembles that comprise WIT, from on-the-spot musical creations a la iMusical, to the clever antics of the all-female-identifying group Hellcat, Love Onion to Nox! Also featured in this Fall 2018 WIT Road Show is You Are Afraid of the Dark, a debut long-form show directed by Katie Ozog of WIT ensemble Madeline presented in four performances this weekend and next. The Road Show opens Thursday, Oct. 25. To Nov. 18. District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $18. Call 202-462-7833 or visit witdc.org.
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. Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 day-of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
Jose Andres: We Fed an Island
READINGS & LECTURES
BOB DRURY: VALLEY FORGE
At the end of 1777, the Continental Army was starving, the men half-naked and ill-equipped, and the Continental Congress was in exile, its treasury depleted, as the British took command of Philadelphia. A freelance journalist and writer, Drury’s latest book with frequent collaborator Tom Clavin is an inspiring account of the Continental Army winter camp where George Washington turned the tide of the American Revolution through a mission to transform his troops into a professional fighting force. Drury will appear for an Author Talk with book signing. Monday, October 29, at noon. McGowan Theater, National Archives Museum, Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets NW. NW. Free, with reservations recommended; first-come, first-seated. Call 202-357-5000 or visit archivesfoundation.org.
I WROTE A BOOK! NOW WHAT? PANEL DISCUSSION
A panel of local authors will join Holly Smith, editor-in-chief of the Washington Independent Review of Books to discuss the challenge writers face in finding a publisher and promoting their books. The ultimate goal of this discussion, presented by Kramerbooks in conjunction with the alumni organization Harvardwood, is to provide insights for indie and aspiring writers to introduce, expand, and redefine their literary horizons. In addition to Smith, the panel features literary agent Laura Strachan, poet/author Richard Peabody of Gargoyle Magazine, author and retired colonel J. Michael McNealy, and attorney/author John Adam Wasowicz. Friday, Nov. 2, at 6:30 p.m. Kramerbooks, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-387-1400 or visit kramers.com.
JOSÉ ANDRÉS: WE FED AN ISLAND BOOK SIGNING, DISCUSSION
In his latest book, the star D.C. chef/restaurateur documents how he, his team, and a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of starving, homeless people in Hurricane Maria-ravaged Puerto Rico. Andrés offers another local discussion and book signing, this time a full-store event at the new Busboys & Poets across the street from the original Mount Vernon Triangle area location. Books will be available for purchase as will a food and drink from the venue’s full menu. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 6 p.m. 450 K St. NW. Call 202-789-2227 or visit busboysandpoets.com.
PETER SAGAL: THE INCOMPLETE BOOK OF RUNNING
The host of the most popular show on public radio, NPR’s Peabody Award-winning news quiz Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, Sagal reflects on the experiences and insights he’s gained ever since he picked up the pursuit of running as he approached the age of 40. Sagal will discuss his running reflections with Linda Holmes, host of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. Book signing to follow. Monday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $20, or $35 with one book, $50 for two tickets and a book. Call 202-408-3100 or visit sixthandi.org.
TRANSFORMING TEACHING AND LEARNING ABOUT AMERICAN INDIANS
Most Americans only ever got a tiny glimpse into the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and contemporary lives of Native peoples in school — not to mention learning inaccurate histories and demeaning and false stereotypes. Next week, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian offers a symposium where expert speakers will explore ways to transform this narrative and inspire a more comprehensive vision of American history and a richer understanding of our shared experience as a nation. A central topic of discussion is the national education initiative Native Knowledge 360° among NMAI, the museum’s partners among Native natives and in the education community. Thursday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m. Rasmuson Theater, Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Free, with seats available on a first come, first served basis. Call 202-633-1000 or visit nmai.si.edu.
ART & EXHIBITS
BETWEEN ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
Susan Calloway Fine Arts presents a series of “Rock and Roll” oil paintings by Mark Giaimo that go behind the scenes to present intimate views of the raucous and rowdy lives of musicians, with a title alluding to the artist’s struggle to build a career in music and his eventual shift towards painting. Giaimo’s still lifes, genre scenes, and portraits are accompanied by a curated selection of photographic portraits of musicians courtesy of Chris Murray, director of Govinda Gallery. Now through Nov. 24. 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Call 202-965-4601 or visit callowayart.com.
BLACK OUT: SILHOUETTES THEN AND NOW
The National Portrait Gallery presents the first major museum exhibition to explore silhouettes. Curated by Asma Naeem, Black Out reveals the complexities of this relatively unstudied artform’s rich historical roots and the contemporary relevance of silhouettes today. Ranging in scale from three inches to nearly 40 feet, the exhibit features mixed-media installations in a presentation of approximately 50 unique objects, dating from 1796 to the present, in particular with the inclusion of large works by four contemporary women artists: Kara Walker, with her panoramic wall murals, Camille Utterback via an interactive digital installation that reacts to visitors’ movements and shadows, Kristi Malakoff’s life-size cutouts of children dancing around a Maypole, and Kumi Yamashita’s intricate, shadowy installations. Also notable is a section illuminating silhouettes previously “blacked out” in historical narratives — those featuring same-sex couples, cooks, activist women, enslaved individuals, and the disabled. On display to March 24. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit npg.si.edu.
ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
The last weekend in October, the Halcyon Arts Lab plays host to a festival showcasing the futuristic visions of seven virtual reality artists from North America and Germany in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, the Canadian Embassy, the Mexican Cultural Institute, and ArTecHouse. Tina Sauerländer and Erandy Vergara curated the exhibition, which features work by artists including A/A (Germany), Banz & Bowinkel (Germany), Scott Benesiinaabandan (Canada), Julián Bonequi (Mexico), Paloma Dawkins (Canada), Claudia Hart (USA), Jakob Kudsk Steensen (Denmark/USA). In addition, several Halcyon Incubator fellows will demonstrate their virtual reality or augmented reality projects. Afternoon hours or by private appointment to Oct. 28. 1801 35th St. NW. Free but registration required. Call 202-796-4240 or visit halcyonhouse.org.
MARK BRADFORD: PICKETT’S CHARGE
Referred to as the most significant living American painter by the Hirshhorn, this gay African-American artist certainly works on a scale commensurate with that kind of stature. Take, for example, his huge, 400-foot installation created for his debut at the Smithsonian’s modern art museum as well as in D.C. A timely, commissioned “cyclorama” of eight large, site-specific collages, Bradford was inspired by Paul Philippoteaux’s same-named masterpiece depicting the loss of the Confederate Army at the Battle of Gettysburg. Covering the curved walls of the Hirshhorn’s third level inner circle, the work presents 360-degrees of abstracted historical narrative using Bradford’s signature practice of collage, juxtaposed with reproductions of the 19th-century original in a way that intentionally disrupts, messes up, and confuses. The end result is a work that invites reconsideration of how narratives about American history have been shaped and contested. To Nov. 12. Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit hirshhorn.si.edu.
MARK BRADFORD: TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY
The Baltimore Museum of Art showcases the work of the gay African-American artist specifically through an installation of painting, sculpture, and video first presented at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The installations on display in Tomorrow Is Another Day weave a complex, multi-layered narrative incorporating themes and figures from Bradford’s personal life as well as from Greek mythology and the universe. One example is Spoiled Foot, a behemoth collage installation inspired by the story of Hephaestus, the god of artists and makers, that hangs from the ceiling and literally bears down on visitors, pushing them to the periphery of the room. The exhibition also conveys a belief in art’s ability to expose contradictory histories and inspire action in the present day, particularly among those in traditionally marginalized communities — by featuring silk-screened t-shirts and tote bags created by local youth from Baltimore’s Greenmount West Community Center with support and guidance from the Los Angeles-based artist, all available for purchase in a pop-up shop adjacent to the exhibition. Now to March 3. 10 Art Museum Dr. Baltimore. Call 443-573-1700 or visit artbma.org.
MICRO-MONUMENTS II: UNDERGROUND
An exhibition featuring 15 local and eight German artists, who were brought together to focus a contemporary lens on topics including the cosmos, nature, and deep time, with the intention of serving as a catalyst for exploration into enduring questions about our history and place in the world. A co-presentation of the Washington Sculptors Group and IA&A at Hillyer, featured artists include Ursula Achternkamp, Alan Binstock, Janet Brome, Mark Fromm, Caroline Hatfield, Linda Hesh, Jacqueline Maggi, Alim Pasht-Han, Judith Pratt, and Steve Wanna. Through Oct. 28. 9 Hillyer Court NW. Call 202-338-0325 or visit athillyer.org.
ROOPKOTHA PHOTO EXHIBIT
Vibrant images captured by various photographers, along with historical artifacts and personal memorabilia, tell the story of Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbbub Rabbi Tonoy, two Bangladeshi LGBTQ activists and artists who were savagely murdered in their home two years ago. The Center Arts Gallery in the DC Center for the LGBT Community has set up this powerful installation as part of an ongoing campaign to protest the inaction of the Bangladeshi government to investigate the murders. 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit thedccenter.org.
TREVOR PAGLEN: SITES UNSEEN W/PANEL DISCUSSION
Inspired by the American landscape tradition and updated with a 21st-century surveillance sensibility, this visual artist blurs the lines between art, science, and investigative journalism to construct unfamiliar and at times unsettling works showing the world around us. The Smithsonian American Art Museum offers the first exhibition presenting Paglen’s early photographic series alongside his recent sculptural objects and new work with artificial intelligence — more than 100 artworks in all. This mid-career survey occupies the entire north wing of the museum’s galleries, an unprecedented scale at this location. And on Friday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m., Paglen will take part in a free panel discussion on the role of surveillance in our lives and the role of artists and institutions in the age of A.I. also featuring Georgetown Law professor Alvaro Bedoya and A.I. experts Kate Crawford and Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. On display through Jan. 6. SAAM, 8th and F Streets NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanart.si.edu.
WORLD PRESS PHOTO EXHIBITION
While FotoDC takes off 2018 for “a rebuilding year,” one of its affiliated annual FotoWeekDC events continues. The Dupont Underground hosts a second annual exhibition featuring winners chosen by an independent jury from more than 73,000 entrees submitted by more than 4,000 photographers representing 125 countries. The World Press Photo and Lightscape foundations present the contest and exhibition, which includes a retrospective of the Photos of the Year winners since 1955, the work of four African Photojournalism Database photographers, the honorees of the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Anja Niedringhaus Award, and images honoring the work of Agence France-Presse photographer Shah Marai. The exhibition kicks off with an opening reception on Friday, Oct. 26, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and featuring three of the 2018 winners: Ronaldo Schemidt, honored with the Photograph of the Year, Ami Vitale, 1st Prize for Nature Stories, and David Becker, 1st Prize for Spot News Stories. On display to Nov. 25. 1500 19th St. NW. Tickets are $12 to $15, or $70 for opening reception. Visit dupontunderground.org.
ABOVE & BEYOND
FORD’S THEATRE’S HISTORY ON FOOT
A local actor offers the guided tour Investigation: Detective McDevitt, portraying Detective James McDevitt, a D.C. police officer patrolling a half-block from Ford’s Theatre the night President Lincoln was shot. Written by Richard Hellesen and directed by Mark Ramont, the 1.6-mile walking tour revisits and reexamines the sites and clues from the investigation into the assassination. Tours are offered every Saturday in October at 10:15 a.m. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $18. Call 202-397-7328 or visit fords.org.
LEDROIT PARK HOUSE AND GARDEN TOUR
Originally designed as one of the first suburbs of D.C., LeDroit Park retains a tranquil character compared to the more urban feel of its neighboring areas U Street and Shaw. Featuring majestic, fully detached Victorian houses alongside classic row-houses and more contemporary developments — and long known as home to African-American intelligentsia associated with the neighborhood’s Howard University — LeDroit Park gets showcased in this inaugural tour featuring partial interior access of eight homes, including two houses designed by noted 19th century architect James McGill. The tour serves as a fundraiser for the Civic Association, which dates to the 19th century and sponsors beautification projects, landscaping, cleanups, and other community needs. Sunday, Oct. 25, from 1 to 5 p.m. Visit ledroitparkhousetour.org.
SMITHSONIAN FOOD HISTORY WEEKEND
Food world celebrities expected at the fourth annual event at the National Museum of American History are chef/TV personalities Bobby Flay, Aarόn Sánchez, and Maneet Chauhan, James Beard Award-winning chefs Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Traci Des Jardins, and Edouardo Jordan, and authors Sandra A. Gutierrez (The New Southern-Latino Table), Corby Kummer (The Pleasures of Slow Food), and Michael W. Twitty (The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South). This year’s theme is “Regions Reimagined,” with a focus on exploring the evolving concept of region and local connections. The Food History Weekend kicks off with a Black Tie Gala at which the 4th Annual Julia Child Award will be given to Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of L.A.’s Border Grill, on Thursday, Nov. 1. On Friday, Nov. 2, comes free roundtables about the migration of people and food throughout American history with leading researchers, experts, and thinkers. The weekend comes to a head on Saturday, Nov. 3, with free activities around the museum during the day, from book signings to film screenings to demos — though no tastings — culminating with the Last Call evening toast to the history of American brewing, including craft beer tastings from Bow and Arrow Brewing out of New Mexico, Cajun Fire Brewing from New Orleans, New Glarus Brewing from Wisconsin, and Scratch Brewing from Illinois. 1400 Constitution Ave. NW. Tickets are $500 to the opening Black Tie Gala and $45 (plus fees) to the closing Last Call event. Call 202-633-1000 or visit americanhistory.si.edu for more information.
TASTE OF DC, ROCK THE CORE
This year, Events DC has moved what is billed as “the largest culinary festival in the Mid Atlantic” to Audi Field. And the city’s sparkling new soccer stadium in Buzzard Point is also the new home of Drink The District’s annual Rock the Core cider fest, which this year coincides with the second day of Taste of DC, Saturday, Oct. 27. Opening the evening of Friday, Oct. 26, Taste of DC features more than 50 restaurants and food trucks serving food, with a number of chefs expected to lead demonstrations at the Culinary Stage — although a list of the actual restaurants and chefs participating has not yet been announced. Also on tap is the area’s largest Beer Garden, an Artisan Market featuring local craftsmakers and businesses, plus live entertainment on multiple stages — with performances from Cantani Singing Ensemble, the Experience Band, 1 Identity, DC Rawhides, DJ Julien Rivera, the Evolution Orange Band, Twisted Flags, Chute, Polar Opposites, Kromanauts, and L.I.T. Friday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 27, from 1 to 10 p.m. Audi Field, 100 Potomac Ave. SW. Tickets are $14.99 to $49.99 plus fees for Taste of DC, or $59.99 to $75 for both Taste of DC and Rock The Core on Saturday. Call 202-587-5000 or visit thetasteofdc.org or drinkthedistrict.com for more information.