Metro Weekly

Editor’s Picks: Kamala Harris, Jay Pharoah, Alexander Paley, and more

Our picks of the best arts and entertainment in the D.C. area this week!

Razzia

RAZZIA

Morocco’s official entry for the 2018 Academy Awards, Nabil Ayouch’s mesmerizing drama was also the Opening Night Film at the New York Jewish Film Festival, and now becomes the first film presented by the Washington Jewish Film Festival for screening in 2019. Razzia follows five Moroccans from different social and religious strata, including Salima, who refuses the traditional stereotypes of wife, mother, and woman, the troubled bourgeois teen Inès, and the Freddie Mercury-idolizing singer Hakim. In French and Arabic with English subtitles. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Tickets are $12 in advance, or $14 at the door. Call 202-777-3250 or visit wjff.org.

Alexander Paley

ALEXANDER PALEY

An internationally acclaimed concert soloist, the American pianist, born and raised in Moldova, performs Chopin preludes and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. Presented by the Washington Conservatory of Music, the concert will be followed by a Wine & Words session with the musician along with complimentary beverages. Saturday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. Westmoreland Congregational Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda. Tickets are free, donations welcome. Call 301-320-2770 or visit washingtonconservatory.org.

Jay Pharoah

JAY PHAROAH

The six-season alum from Saturday Night Live, well known especially for his impressions of President Obama, Jay Z, and Kanye West, has more recently shown his dramatic abilities via Showtime’s White Famous and Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane. He’s currently working on his second stand-up special by trying out and perfecting his material performing at nightclubs and college auditoriums around the country. Friday, Jan. 11. Doors at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $30 for this seated show. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.

Kamala Harris

KAMALA HARRIS

Even before her gripping performance during last year’s Kavanaugh hearings, the Democratic U.S. Senator from California was a buzzed-about potential candidate for president. Harris is only working to further the buzz with the release of The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, a new book drawing on her life and career as well as highlighting those who have inspired her. Along the way she touts our common bonds as Americans and the challenges we face together. Harris will discuss the book’s core themes as well as lay out her vision for the future at an event co-presented by Politics and Prose. Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m. GW Lisner, The George Washington University, 730 21st St. NW. Tickets are $46.80 including fees and 1 book. Call 202-994-6851 or visit lisner.gwu.edu.

Washington National Opera Kennedy Center American Opera Initiative

WNO’s AMERICAN OPERA INITIATIVE FESTIVAL

“Catch a glimpse into the future of opera” goes the tagline for this festival, the Washington National Opera’s commissioning program for contemporary American opera now in its seventh season. This year’s festival includes two different programs featuring four world premiere operas, performed in concert with Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists accompanied by a small chamber orchestra and followed by a Q&A with the artists and creative teams. Program One focuses on Taking Up Serpents, a new hour-long opera from composer Kamala Sankaram and librettist Jerre Dye that spins an engrossing tale about the controversial world of religious snake-handling, and focused on the estranged daughter (performed by Alexandria Shiner) of a fire-and-brimstone preacher who is dangerously bitten by one of his snakes. Performances are Friday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m. Program Two centers around “Three New 20-Minute Operas,” including 75 Miles, with music by Matt Boehler and a libretto by Laura Barati focused on a family in rural Pennsylvania who grapple with faith, beliefs, and economic limitations in the face of an unexpected teen pregnancy; Relapse, with music by Molly Joyce and a libretto by James Kennedy about a woman struggling with her addiction after a serious drug overdose; and Pepito, with music by Nicolas Lell Benavides and libretto by Marella Martin Koch, a tale about a lonely shelter dog and the troubled young married couple eager, maybe a bit too eager, to adopt. Performances are Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7 and 9 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $19 to $45 per program. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org.

Elvis Birthday Fight CLub: Franken vs. Weinstein — Photo: StereoVision

ELVIS’ BIRTHDAY FIGHT CLUB

Elvis Presley hosts an underground fight club in what is billed as a comically lowbrow theater event from Astro Pop Events (Countdown to Yuri’s Night, America The Game Show). Now in its ninth year, the production features the King (Jared Davis), accompanied by his sardonic sidekick Kittie Glitter (Jei Spatola), plus “a little more conversation” in the form of hilarious color commentary during seven comical, choreographed matchups full of cartoon-like violence and below-the-belt comedy, as burlesque dancers keep the audience “all shook up” between fights. The cast includes Andrew Wodzianski, Lucrezia Blozia, Carlos Bustamente, DD Cupcakes, Patrick M. Doneghy, Matt Grant, Nona Narcisse, Callie Pigeon, Candy Del RIo, Christian Sullivan, Cherie Sweetbottom, and Stephon Walker. Friday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 5, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Also Saturday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 and 10 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 12, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. Baltimore. Tickets are $25 to $35. Visit astropopevents.com.

Randy Shulman is Metro Weekly's Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached at rshulman@metroweekly.com.

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