Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: D.C. arts and entertainment highlights — March 21-27

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




Director Jamie Babbit’s satirical take on the “ex-gay” movement was light-years ahead of its time. Not that Cheerleader lacks for silliness and camp. RuPaul stars out of drag as a counselor at “True Directions,” where cheerleader Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is sent to correct her budding lesbianism. Cathy Moriarty chews the scenery — colored in gender-reinforcing garish pinks and blues — as the camp director. Despite a few heavy-handed moments, Cheerleader‘s raucous romp proves that one of the best ways to tear apart a movement that aims to “change” us is one of the easiest — simply laughing at them. Screens on Monday, March 25, at 9 p.m. at the cozy Suns Cinema, 3107 Mount Pleasant St. NW. Tickets are $13.41 including service fee. Part of the Screen Queen series. Visit


Seattle-based filmmaker Will Braden (Le Chat Noir) has assembled an all-new, 70-minute program that’s a fancy feast for cat lovers, chock-full of cat videos both popular as well as new and undiscovered. CatVideoFest, a compilation of shorts culled from hours of unique submissions and sourced animations, music videos, and Internet classics, is styled as a communal experience where feline fanatics can bond over cute cat cinema and learn more about cats in need in D.C. and beyond. Friday, March 29, at 7:45 p.m., and Saturday, March 30, and Sunday, March 31, at 11 a.m. 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $13 general admission. Call 301-495-6720 or visit


On the very night the Supreme pop diva turns 75, Fathom Events offers screenings at theaters nationwide of Steve Binder’s live concert documentary Diana Ross: Live in Central Park, recorded in 1983 but not released until 2012. For this anniversary presentation, the director and the diva have added never-before-seen footage, plus messages from the Ross family, including sons Ross and Evan and daughters Rhonda and Chudney, with a passionate introduction by Golden Globe Award-winning Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross. The screenings are part of series of “Diamond Diana Celebration” events. Wednesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. at area Regal venues including Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Ballston Common (671 N. Glebe Road). Encore screenings come Friday, March 28, at 7 p.m. at area AMC venues, including Hoffman Center (206 Swamp Fox Rd., Alexandria) and Columbia Mall (10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Maryland). Tickets are $13.25. Visit


Alan Parker’s 1980 musical captured the rigors of making it in a high school for the performing arts. It’s a stunning film, not least for Irene Cara’s exuberant take on the movie’s title song in a joyous lunchroom dance scene. It returns to the big screen as part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, March 27, 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 $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit


This weekend, Smithsonian Theaters celebrates the brilliant, twisted mind of Tarantino by screening several of his most influential works at the National Museum of American History. Thursday, March 21, features a Pulp Fiction party starting at 6:30 p.m. followed by a screening of the 1994 classic starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, and Uma Thurman at 8:15 p.m. Jackie Brown screens Friday, March 22, at 6 p.m. Kill Bill Volume 1 and Volume 2 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, and Inglorious Basterds at 9:25 p.m., all screen on Saturday, March 23. Django Unchained at 5 p.m. and The Hateful Eight at 8 p.m. conclude the festival on Sunday, March 24. The Warner Bros. Theater, 1300 Constitution Ave. NW. A Grateful Eight Film Package is $64, or $99 with Pulp Fiction Party; single tickets are $15.50 with fees. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


Fathom Events presents one of the most beloved films of all time: Horton Foote’s evocative adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, directed by Robert Mulligan. Both screenwriter Foote and actor Gregory Peck won Oscars for the 1962 drama, focused on the iconic character of Atticus Finch, a Depression-era Southern lawyer who courageously defends a black man against a false charge of rape. Part of the yearlong TCM Big Screen Classic series, To Kill A Mockingbird is presented with pre- and post-screening insights by TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz. Sunday, March 24, at 1 p.m., and Wednesday, March 27, at 12 and 7 p.m. Area theaters including Regal venues at Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Ballston Common (671 N. Glebe Road). Tickets are $13.25. Visit


On Saturday, March 30, the Smithsonian American Art Museum presents a free, all-day film festival highlighting visionary works by female directors. The festival kicks off at noon with an introduction by Saisha Grayson, the museum’s curator of time-based media arts, and the film program Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers, which features a handful of short films from the Kino Lorber collection: Alice Guy Blaché’s Falling Leaves (1912), Lois Weber’s Suspense (1913), Lule Warrenton’s When Little Lindy Sang (1916), and Zora Neale Hurston’s Child’s Play (1929), plus Lita Lawrence’s recently rediscovered Motherhood: Life’s Greatest Miracle (1925), which stands as the earliest surviving feature directed by an African-American woman and also an exceptionally rare example of a silent film addressing the then-taboo topics of birth control and abortion. Cynthia Fuchs of George Mason University and Lynanne Schweighofer from the Library of Congress join Grayson for a post-screening discussion. The festival continues with an afternoon “Envisioning Diaspora” program, pairing Trinh T. Minh-ha’s documentary Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989) with Tiffany Chung’s short, split-screen video work The great simplicity thousands of years before and after (2012), followed by a discussion with Grayson and Yu-Min Claire Chen of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. comes the festival’s final program, centered around a screening of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991), a film about Gullah women from South Carolina’s Lowcountry that became the first feature directed by an African-American woman to gain general theatrical release in the U.S. A post-screening discussion with Grayson, Christina Sharpe of York University, and the Virginia mixed-media artist Martha Jackson Jarvis concludes the program and the festival. McEvoy Auditorium, Lower Level, 8th and F Streets NW. Free. Call 202-633-1000 or visit

Hands on a Hardbody — Photo: Cameron Whitman



A black student disrupts the status quo at her high school merely by venturing into an area typically occupied by white students, unintentionally provoking an uptick in hate speech, violence, and chaos. Playwright Dominique Morisseau was inspired by the Jena Six, the black teenagers who were reflexively condemned and excessively charged after a 2006 altercation with a white student turned brutal in their Louisiana small-town. Directed by Raymond O. Caldwell, Theater Alliance’s production features choreography by Tiffany Quinn and an 11-person cast including Molly Shayna Cohen, Billie Krishawn, Emmanuel Kyei-Baffour, Deimoni Brewington, Paul Roeckell, and Stephanie Wilson. Blood at the Root is touted as a moving, lyrical, and bold examination of the complexities of race and individual freedoms, as well as the link between justice and identity. To March 24. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $40 to $50 and half-off during previews. Call 202-241-2539 or visit


A rollicking rumination on opulence, inequity, and teeny-tiny desserts, this 45-minute immersive experience from Third Rail Projects includes exclusive access to the magnificent Paster and Sedgwick-Bond Reading Rooms in the Folger Shakespeare Library. On top of that, as the performance winds its way through massive and ornate spaces, theatergoers are invited to savor bite-sized delights designed by local pâtissiers. Presented in conjunction with the Folger’s current exhibition First Chefs (see separate entry under Arts & Exhibits). To March 24. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $40 to $60. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


A Pulitzer Prize-winning modern dramedy from Donald Margulies challenging everyday presumptions about the people we think we know is brought to life at Baltimore’s Everyman Theatre in a 20th-anniversary production helmed by founding artistic director Vincent M. Lancisi. In the deliciously funny, sharply observed Dinner with Friends, two couples find themselves grappling with questions of loyalty, individuality, and commitment over dinner as one wife drops the bomb that her husband wants out of their 12-year marriage. The four-person cast features Megan Anderson, Danny Gavigan, Beth Hylton and M. Scott McLean. Now to April 7. Everyman Theatre, 315 West Fayette St. Baltimore. Tickets are $43 to $65. Call 410-752-2208 or visit


Keegan Theatre presents the regional premiere of a recent Broadway show featuring music written by Phish’s Trey Anastasio and lyricist Amanda Green (Bring It On: The Musical), with a book by Doug Wright. Based on a real-life competition, captured in a 1997 documentary of the same name, Hands on a Hardbody focuses on ten Texans struggling to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck in order to win it. Elena Velasco and Mark A. Rhea direct the Keegan production featuring a large, 19-member ensemble, with Jake Null directing an eight-piece pit orchestra. Now to April 6. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $52 to $62. Call 202-265-3767 or visit


A few months after its debut at Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage offers another chance to see the latest work by Paula Vogel, which tells the story of a group of artists who risked their careers to perform Sholem Asch’s God of Vengeance on Broadway in 1923. The work was deemed “indecent” for tackling taboo themes of censorship, immigration, and anti-Semitism — but especially for depicting romance blooming between two women. Eric Rosen directs a cast that includes Ben Cherry, Susan Lynskey, John Milosich, and Max Wolkowitz. To March 31. 700 North Calvert St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $74. Call 410-332-0033 or visit

MASTERPIECES OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY Holly Twyford, Felicia Curry, and Yesenia Iglesias star in Heather McDonald’s drama as three women trapped in a ravaged museum during a catastrophic hundred years war. Nadia Tass directs a world premiere at Signature Theatre that comes as part of the Heidi Thomas Writers’ Initiative, a multi-year commitment to presenting works by female playwrights with female directors. The play sees the three women, including an art restorer and her military captor, struggling for common shreds of humanity as they try to save a small symbol of beauty in their broken world. To April 7. The Ark Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit


A one-man show that promises to take theatergoers “as close as possible to North Korea without leaving their seats,” Next Stop: North Korea is based on playwright/performer John Feffer’s visits to and work in the Kim Jong Un-run communist country, exploring the challenges of doing good in a morally ambiguous environment. A foreign policy expert at the Institute for Policy Studies, Feffer has performed his previous one-man shows at Capital Fringe and other festivals, and also garnered a solo performance award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2016. He’s directed in Next Stop: North Korea by established local theater artist Angela Kay Pirko of Nu Sass Productions. Weekends to March 24. District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


Olney Theatre presents the American premiere of a work called “scorchingly ambitious” by The Guardian from one of the U.K.’s fastest-rising playwrights, Ella Hickson. A genre-busting work full of theatricality, big ideas, and deeply personal emotions, Oil follows mothers and daughters over two centuries, from the dawn of the age of oil in 1889 to the demise of the “peak-oil” era sometime in the not-too-distant future. Tracy Brigden directs a work featuring five separate but connected playlets, with a cast including Catherine Eaton, Megan Graves, Sarah Corey, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Chris Genebach, and Tuyet Thi Pham. To March 31. Olney Theatre Center, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Tickets are $40 to $84. Call 301-924-3400 or visit


Solas Nua, the D.C.-based company focused on presenting and producing contemporary theater and performing arts from Ireland, imports this touching, challenging Olivier Award-winning one-man show from Dublin’s new play company Fishamble. Written and performed by Pat Kinevane, Silent focuses on a homeless man who dives into his splendid past through the romantic world of Rudolph Valentino. “Dare to laugh at despair and gasp at redemption,” goes one tagline to the work, which raises awareness of homelessness in a way that the New York Times critic Ben Brantley reviewed as “passionate [and] carefully wrought,” further praising the way “Kinevane interprets Valentino’s highly theatrical screen presence to stunning effect.” Remaining performances are Thursday, March 21, through Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 24, at 3 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


The eccentric Landless Theatre Company returns with two shows staged in repertory at the District of Columbia Arts Center. There’s Bruce Arnston’s parody The Doyle and Debbie Show, which simultaneously lampoons and idolizes country music’s tradition of iconic duos and their subsequent battle of the sexes, starring Andrew Lloyd Baughman and Karissa Swanigan-Upchurch and directed by John Sadowsky (Gutenberg! The Musical!). And then there’s Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic, Matt Cox’s tale of those who just happened to attend Wizard School at the same time as a certain boy wizard, dedicated to “anyone who has never been destined to save the world.” To March 30. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit

Jewish Queen Lear — Photo: C. Stanley


Mirele Efros is a wealthy widow and clever businesswoman whose children turn against her, causing a fall of Shakespearean proportions. Wildly successful at the turn of the 20th century and considered a masterpiece of Yiddish theater, Theater J presents Jacob Gordin’s play in a new English translation by Nahma Sandrow. Adam Immerwahr directs a large cast including Tonya Beckman, Valerie Leonard, Alana Dodds Sharp, Charlie Trepany, Christopher Warren, and Frank X. To April 7. The Gonda Theatre, Georgetown University’s Davis Performing Arts Center, 3700 O St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $70. Call 202-777-3210 or visit


Billed as “a modern-day Mr. Rogers with hipster appeal” and heralded as one of “20 Theatre Workers You Should Know” by American Theatre magazine, Joshua Holden is a theatrical triple-threat with serious physical comedy and puppetry expertise honed per the national tour of Avenue Q, among other stage ventures. Holden shows off his skills, which extend to tap dancing, in a one-man show featuring an eclectic cast of puppet characters — kept close at hand. Musician Jeb Colwell accompanies Holden on the touring show with appeal for the whole family that has touched down all over the country, including a run at New York’s Lincoln Center. Saturday, March 23, at 1 p.m. Alden Theatre at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., Mclean, Va. Tickets are $15. Call 703-790-0123 or visit


WSC Avant Bard presents the tragicomedy about two African-American brothers-in-struggle that earned playwright Suzan-Lori Parks a Pulitzer Prize 17 years ago. Jeremy Keith Hunter, a regular at Mosaic Theater, takes on the role of older brother Lincoln, a grifter-gone-straight, while Louis E. Davis, previously seen in Avant Bard’s King Lear, plays the younger brother Booth, seeking to become the greatest con man of all time. DeMone Seraphin directs. To April 14. Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $40. Call 703-418-4804 or visit

Meow Meow



This star sitar player has gone from being the protégée of her legendary father, Ravi Shankar, to the world music adventurer nearly as famous as her half-sister, Norah Jones. Shankar returns to D.C. and the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue for a pair of Washington Performing Arts concerts reprising her packed-house performances in spring of 2017 of a program devoted to North Indian classical music, as well as jazz, pop, flamenco, and more. Saturday, March 23, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $40. Call 202-408-3100 or visit


The local music organization presents its popular annual cabaret featuring 90 singers and dancers celebrating the best in 20th-century jazz, from ragtime to bebop. Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW. Tickets are $19 to $49. Call 202-347-2635 or visit


A master of both the upright and electric bass, Seppa has worked as a sideman for many of the top jazz and R&B acts, including the Impressions, Raul Midón, Warren Wolf, and Sharon Clark. Seppa gets a chance to showcase his own jazz fusion sound, which draws from R&B, hip-hop, gospel, Latin, and African music, in two performances at the Mansion at Strathmore as part of a series featuring the 2019 class of the organization’s esteemed program Artists in Residence. Grammy-nominated Christylez Bacon, The Voice contestant Owen Danoff, and Prince- and Stevie Wonder-collaborator Frédéric Yonnet are just three of the 80-plus young musicians who have been mentored through the program since 2005. Wednesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. The Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are $17. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


The singer-songwriter, who long ago made Massachusetts her home base, has produced an eclectic, experimental repertoire over the past two decades, but her music is always tuneful, with strong melodies and clever lyrics expressed through a sweet, beguiling voice. McKeown will no doubt touch on her work in musical theater, perhaps giving a sneak peek at the Great American Songbook-styled songs she’s developing for Terrarium Behaviour — a work-in-progress musical in which “power, gender, and ecology do battle in the humble little jar we know as a terrarium.” Certainly she’ll perform from Miss You Like Hell, her musical collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes (Water by the Spoonful), whose Off Broadway run last year starred Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent) and garnered five Drama Desk nominations, including best lyrics, music, and orchestration. Perhaps she’ll even perform a song or two from 2013’s Manifestra, her pointed yet playful, politically oriented album — which closed with “Baghdad to the Bayou,” a song co-written with her friend, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Whatever she chooses, expect a wide-ranging show and showcase of her prodigious talents. Sunday, March 31, at 2 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $17 day of show. Call 703-255-3747 or visit


Folger’s celebrated early music ensemble performs Renaissance music from 16th-century Spain and Italy, a concert mixing lyrical Spanish villançicos and Italian frottole with instrumental works such as lively dances and dimunitions from Italy as well as some of the great wind band repertoire from Spain. Soprano Jessica Beebe and wind ensemble Piffaro, The Renaissance Band are featured musicians joining the Consort’s co-founders Robert Eisenstein on viol and Christopher Kendall on lute. The program is presented in conjunction with the current culinary-focused Folger exhibition (see First Chefs entry under Art & Exhibits) and the institution-wide project Before ‘Farm to Table’: Early Modern Foodways and Cultures. Performances are Friday, March 29, at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 30, at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 31, at 2 and 5 p.m. Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $42. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


Joshua Vogelsong is well known around town via his drag alter-ego Donna Slash — and as the lead singer of LGBTQ band Homosuperior, both of which — the “punk rock Divine” and the punk rock band — he developed hand in hand. “The band is everywhere on the spectrum of queer,” says Vogelsong, who, depending on “how I feel and how much time we have,” occasionally performs as Joshua. “It’s always been about blurring the lines, and having fun with sexuality and gender…. Sometimes you feel more feminine. Sometimes you feel more butch and just wanna get up there without any makeup on.” The four-piece Homosuperior returns to Comet Ping Pong, where Vogelsong serves as bar and programming manager, to headline a show with two opening acts from Baltimore, HexGirlfriends and Wipeout. Friday, March 29, at 10 p.m. 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-364-0404 or visit


In a career spanning over two decades, the lesbian country/folk artist has had her songs covered by everyone from Jimmy Buffett (“Wheel Inside The Wheel”) and Blake Shelton (“I Drink”) to Bettye LaVette (“Worthy”) and Candi Staton (“Mercy Now”). A native of New Orleans now based in Nashville, Gauthier returns to the area for an intimate concert supporting her powerful Grammy-nominated concept album Rifles & Rosary Beads, a collection of 11 deeply personal songs that she co-wrote with U.S. veterans and their families. Jaimee Harris opens. Sunday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. City Winery DC, 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $22. Call 202-250-2531 or visit


Born Melissa Madden Gray in Australia, the post-post-modern diva with the catty moniker comes to town to perform a cabaret accompanied by Lauderdale, best known as the gay founder and leader of Pink Martini, the quirky, self-styled 12-member “little orchestra” from Portland, Oregon. You could consider this a campy cocktail cabaret of the first order. It also serves as a teaser for a forthcoming new Meow Meow recording. And if past is prologue, expect a surprise cameo if a certain NPR celebrity and frequent Pink Martini guest happens to be in the crowd. Monday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-888-0050 or visit


Founding Artistic Director Leonid Sushansky leads a program featuring works by Vienna-based giants of the Classical Era. The concert includes Haydn’s Piano Trio No. 39 in G Major “Gypsy,” Mozart’s Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 32 in B Flat Major, and Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 70 “Ghost”. Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. Theatre 1 in Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $36, including post-performance reception. Call 703-276-6701 or visit


Byron Stripling’s electrifying and heartfelt tribute to Armstrong, “Sounds of New Orleans,” is billed as one of today’s most popular orchestral pops program. The virtuosic jazz trumpeter next performs from the Satchmo songbook bolstered by Strathmore’s resident orchestra led by Piotr Gajewski. Saturday, March 30, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $39 to $79. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

Four Bitchin Babes


Sally Fingerett, comedic singer Deirdre Flint, and former The Hags singer Debi Smith are more than 25 years into their run as a comedic music ensemble, always performing as a quartet, with the fourth performer in regular rotation among Nancy Moran, founding Babe Megon McDonough, or Christine Lavin — who assumes the mantle for 2019. In an interview with Metro Weekly several years ago, Smith summed up the Babes’ songwriting and performing, “We look at life, as it’s happening, usually in a comedic way — [and] through a wacky viewfinder.” A taste of what’s on offer can be found in the title of their most recent show, Hormonal Imbalance v2.5: A Mood Swinging Musical Revue. Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $35. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


“La Verbena de la Paloma,” the most famous and beloved Spanish zarzuela, is given new life in a bold reimagining presented by the In Series and set on the Tijuana side of the border between Mexico and the U.S. Nick Olcott directs a work from writer Anna Deeny Morales and composer Ulises Eliseo (based on classic melodies of zarzuela composers, foremost among them Tomás Bretón y Hernández), with Mexican folk dance choreography by Alejandro Gongora, performed by Corazon Folklorico DC, an ensemble inspired by Mexican son jarocho music. Performances begin Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m. To March 31. GALA Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $45. Call 202-234-7174 or visit


Cheekily named after O.J. Simpson’s notorious failed getaway car, people just can’t seem to get enough of this local ’90s-era party band. Playing through that decade’s songbook in all styles of popular music is a five-member ensemble consisting of singer/guitarist Diego Valencia, singer Gretchen Gustafson, guitarists Ken Sigmund and McNasty, and drummer Max Shapiro. White Ford Bronco seems to turn up at a different local venue practically every other week, though it’s always a bit more exciting and noteworthy when booked at the city’s prestige halls, such as the Hamilton. Friday, March 22, at 8 p.m. 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-787-1000 or visit


Raised by blind parents in Pittsburgh who valued playing music as a key way to engage and communicate, William Fitzsimmons’ folk music as a professional singer-songwriter is as expressive and richly orchestrated as you might expect from that sort-of upbringing, akin to Iron & Wine or Sufjan Stevens. But it’s also dramatically colored by years of training and work as a counselor and therapist, with lyrics often exploring complicated issues, such as the personal and psychological effects of divorce and mental health. Case in point, Fitzsimmons’ newest album, Mission Bell, tells the painful — yet healing — story of his decade-long marriage and recent separation from his wife. The set is further embellished by amped-up sounds from synthesizers, electric guitars, and drum loops. Wednesday, March 27. Doors at 6 p.m. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $20. Call 877-987-6487 or visit

Golden Dragon Acrobats



The former New York City Ballet principal dancer turned director/choreographer/producer as well as president of The Juilliard School curates and hosts a program featuring some of today’s most creative voices in dance and music. Part of the Kennedy Center’s Direct Current series, the one-night-only concert features a world premiere by John Heginbotham (choreographer of Broadway’s forthcoming new production of Oklahoma!) set on dancers of Dance Heginbotham accompanied by the Juilliard String Quartet. The program also brings together in new collaborations composer Caroline Shaw, dancers Patricia Delgado and Caleb Teicher, Hamilton musical director and pianist Kurt Crowley, poet Sarah Kay, and pianist Joel Wenhardt. Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $39 to $49. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Regarded as the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring company, the Golden Dragons, led by world-renowned impresario Danny Chang and choreographer Angela Chang, combine award-winning high-flying stunts as well as traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques. The result is a display of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty. Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Frederick, Md. Tickets are $22 to $27. Call 301-600-2828 or visit


Building on last year’s In The Company of Men, in which an all-male cast performed a wide-ranging program exploring themes of masculinity, life, love, social awareness, and humanness, VTDance next aims to surprise and entice audiences with new works and collaborations featuring guest performers Runqiao Du, Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Love the Poet, and Michael Sakamoto. Saturday, March 30, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 30, at 3 p.m. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 410-752-8558 or visit

Las Culturistas Podcast



Time Out New York has called this popular weekly podcast “addictively bitchy,” while Esquire and Vulture included it among their lists of Best Podcasts of 2019 and Best Comedy Podcasts of 2018, respectively. Gay Millennial hosts Matt Rogers, a regular with New York improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, and Bowen Yang, a writer for Saturday Night Live, bring Las Culturistas to life in a stop in D.C., presented by Union Stage at Capitol Hill’s historic Miracle Theatre, where a parade of comedians and performers will sound off in one-minute rants on any popular culture topics of their choosing. Saturday, March 23, at 8:30 p.m. 535 8th St. SE. Tickets are $20. Call 202-400-3210 or visit


Subtitled “The American Art of Laughing about Failed Attempts to be Marie Kondo,” the latest show from this literary-themed, bookstore-centric comedy organization — “just like your book club, but run by comedians” — features professional funny people from the area riffing on the celebrity self-help guru du jour. The goal is to present “a unique comedy show where we relive our favorite Marie Kondo moments, confess if we actually followed the KonMari method, and challenge audience members in clothing folding competitions.” Bonus: The bookstore and especially a bar serving boozy beverages will be open throughout. Saturday, March 23. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Solid State Books, 600 H St. NE. Tickets are $7.08 including fees. Call 897-4201 or visit


Netflix has nothing on the kind of off-the-cuff, in-your-face, interactive entertainment you can only experience at a live improv show. That’s particularly true when in the hands of this legendary sketch comedy group, which the New York Times has called “The Harvard of Comedy” and which counts among its famous alumni Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Gilda Radner. It’s Not You, It’s Me is the latest improvised show, featuring a cast of expert improvisers including Terrence Carey, Sarah Dell’Amico, Ben Larrison, Asia Martin, Olivia Nielsen, and Griffin Wenzler, with music director Stuart Mott. Remaining performances are Thursday, March 21, through Friday, March 22, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, March 23, at 7 and 10 p.m. The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit


WIT’s popular, month-long Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament is an elimination tourney in which audiences vote to decide the teams of improvers deserving to advance to the championship. The 13th Annual FIST features a grand total of 44 matches grouped into six rounds, with two matches every day — and four on Sundays. A sampling of the team names competing in the opening weekend: Glass Ceiling, Presidential Pals, Love Language, Roll Tide, Confess!, Sheathes, Roommate Love, Bombo Buntcakes, and Ramen Hood. Runs to final round on April 1. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets start at $15 to $30. Call 202-204-7760 or visit



The former president of Planned Parenthood and daughter of late Texas Governor Ann Richards shares her story of a lifetime fighting for social justice and women’s rights in a best-selling memoir. A year after its initial release, Richards returns for another discussion the day after her Make Trouble: Stand Up, Speak Out, and Find the Courage to Lead is issued in paperback with a new Afterword from the author proposing a Women’s Declaration of Independence, as well as a new movement to transform our politics. U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois), the youngest African-American woman to serve in the House, moderates the discussion. Note: There will not be a book signing, though pre-signed books will be for sale. Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $30 including one book, or $45 for two tickets and one book. Call 202-408-3100 or visit


A professor of psychology at Stanford University regarded as one of the foremost experts on unconscious racial bias shows in her new book, Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, which draws on research as well as experience, that you don’t have to be racist to be biased. In fact, no matter how fervently we believe in equality, we’re pretty much all biased to one degree or another. Eberhardt illustrates how bias affects representations and interactions in the media, education, and business. And knowledge and awareness is at least half the battle: Eberhardt argues that the biases holding us back may be hard-wired but they’re not immutable, and can be eradicated by working together. Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit


Jen Deerinwater moderates a reading and discussion at the DC Center for the LGBTQ Community featuring queer memoirists Victoria Stubbs, Tyler Mendelsohn, Anthony Moll, and Joe Braxton. Cheese and wine will even be provided at this free, public event presented by Outwrite, the Center organization that oversees the annual LGBTQ literary festival. Saturday, March 23, at 7 p.m. 2000 14th St. NW. Free, but RSVP requested. Call 202-682-2245 or visit


Next weekend, the East City Bookshop presents a discussion with three of the 10 female Millennials who contributed first-person essays to the newly published book Yes We Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House. The discussion features Nita Contreras, who was Assistant Staff Secretary during Obama’s last year in office, Kalisha Dessources Figures, a policy advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls, and Taylor Lustig, an advisor to the Domestic Policy Council. Saturday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Call 202-290-1636 or visit

REDdress Project — By Katherine Fogden



Despite its title, this is not an exhibition celebrating the everyday selfie but rather notable, high-quality self-portraits from American artists drawn primarily from the National Portrait Gallery’s vast collection — and the concluding exhibition in the Smithsonian museum’s series celebrating its 50th anniversary. Elaine de Kooning, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Diego Rivera, Roger Shimomura, and Martin Wong are among the artists represented in this display of more than 75 works examining the range of ways artists have chosen to portray themselves. Through Aug. 18. 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit


The named and unnamed heroes of British and American farms, plantations, kitchens, and markets over the past several centuries are given the spotlight in the latest exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library, focused on eating and drinking in the early modern British world. First Chefs identifies five such pioneers by name: chorister-cum-farmer Thomas Tusser, author of a how-to agriculture guide that circulated for over two centuries; Robert May, who adapted French recipes for English palates as author of the first cookbook for professional cooks; Hannah Woolley, the first woman to earn a living as a food writer but whose name and cooking advice would go on to be appropriated by male publishers; the plants-obsessed pirate William Hughes, who chronicled the fruits and vegetables of the Caribbean and became the first English writer to describe cacao and chocolate to British audiences; and chef Hercules, one of President George Washington’s slaves, famed for his expertise in early American cooking until he stole his way to freedom. By combining the Folger’s unparalleled collection of food-related manuscripts and books with objects and archaeological finds from Mount Vernon and Jamestown, as well as from other museums and the Library of Congress, the exhibition is able to help shine renewed or recovered light on a vast many others who shaped early modern culinary life and culture, both directly and indirectly. To March 31. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


Right now, the Smithsonian Gardens offers an attractive alternative to Washington’s cherry blossom madness with the 24th annual orchid show. And unlike those fickle, fleeting cherry trees, you don’t have to wait for, or make last-minute arrangements to see, the hundreds of orchids in brilliant bloom as part this joint collaboration with the U.S. Botanic Garden. From now through the end of April you can see the stunning variety of orchids filling eight large marble planters in the Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, nestled between the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in the former Old Patent Office Building complex. For optimal viewing, officials recommend you visit either as soon as the courtyard opens at 11:30 a.m., in hopes of catching the whiff that orchids give off to attract pollinators in the morning, or in the hour or two before it closes at 7 p.m., when there should be fewer people and more chances of catching an orchid bloom popping open. To April 28. 8th and G Streets NW. Free. Call 202-633-2220 or visit


A new exhibition at the National Geographic Museum puts a rare spotlight on the queens of ancient Egypt, including Hatshepsut, Nefertari, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra VII. The life and leadership of these legendary figures, whose rule ranged from the New Kingdom (1539-1514 B.C.) to the Ptolemaic dynasty (51-30 B.C.), is told with the help of more than 300 ancient Egyptian artifacts, including monumental statues, sparkling jewelry, and impressive sarcophagi — plus the use of advanced virtual reality technology providing a 3D flythrough tour of one of the most well-preserved tombs in the Valley of the Queens, that of Queen Nefertari. Many of the objects on display come courtesy of the Museo Egizio of Turin, Italy, one of the international cultural partners in the exhibition. And much of the research is based on the work of renowned Egyptologist and National Geographic Explorer Kara Cooney, author of the companion book When Women Ruled The World: Six Queens of Egypt, published by National Geographic Books last fall. To Sept. 2. The museum is located at 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 202-857-7588 or visit


Landscape architect Ron Henderson kept detailed notes of his pilgrimages to visit famous old cherry trees in Japan, including horticultural practices — pruning techniques and root grafting, for example — that are extending the lives of the trees. And he captured it all in folding sketchbooks, or orihon, that celebrate cherry blossom culture in Japan and are now on display at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, part of the U.S. National Arboretum. Now to April 7. The Special Exhibits Wing 3501 New York Ave. NE. Call 202- 245-4523 or visit


Karen Joan Topping, a founding member of the Sparkplug Collective, curates an exhibition of 10 artists who literally and symbolically employ light and darkness, as well as explore themes of communication and empathy, in painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. On display at the District of Columbia Arts Center will be works by Tom Greaves, Sarah J. Hull, Shana Kohnstamm, Alanna Reeves, Azadeh Sahraeian, Elizabeth H. Sampson, Alexandra Silverthorne, Sarah Stefana Smith, Madeline A. Stratton, and Steve Wanna. Closes Sunday, March 24. 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


In commemoration of Women’s History Month, the National Museum of the American Indian presents an outdoor art installation by Canadian/Métis multidisciplinary artist Jaime Black on view in the U.S. for the first time. In The REDress Project, several empty red dresses hang along the Riverwalk, located in the museum’s Native landscape, symbolizing missing or murdered indigenous women, in an effort to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Native women. Collected through community donation, the dresses have been installed at several Canadian galleries and colleges since 2011. To March 31. Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


The Korean Cultural Center displays works by 45 Korean-American artists to commemorate Women’s History Month. To Be A Woman, presented in collaboration with the Han-Mee Artist Association of Greater Washington, D.C., is a diverse exhibition of both traditional and contemporary art and craft that collectively expresses the artists’ experiences as women. Each artist explores personal issues and challenges, particularly as immigrant women in the U.S., through everything from painting to calligraphy to metal craft. On display through March 25. 2370 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Call 202-939-5688 or visit for more information or to RSVP for the reception.


A few memorable photos that you may remember from covers of this very magazine — Jim Graham as Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, say, or the infamous Leather Kewpie for MAL — will be on display as part of the latest exhibition at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, all from Franson, Metro Weekly‘s central portrait photographer for most of the past 23 years as well as the magazine’s longest-serving Art Director. Yet the focus is on artworks the professional photographer and graphic designer has created for other projects and pursuits, all of which are available for sale. The exhibition goes as far back as Franson’s days as a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, with four stylized gloves from the series Wear & Tear: Inspired by Irving Penn, newly reborn and printed on aluminum. A more recent passion of Franson’s has been capturing artistic shots of foliage, blooms, and landscapes at the National Arboretum. And then there are the dazzling and quirky photographs that come closest to conveying Franson’s personal sensibility — perhaps none more so than Dancing Bear, a vividly colored image of a bustling amusement park at dusk foregrounded by a giant-sized teddy bear wearing a propeller beanie. Ongoing. The Center Arts Gallery, 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit


Works challenging the traditional binaries and patriarchal notions of gender in the Western world, created by artists who are also blurring the boundaries of genres, mediums, and visualities, are currently on display at the small contemporary gallery, in a Dupont Circle alleyway, formerly known as Hillyer Art Space and run by the nonprofit International Arts & Artists. Antonius-Tín Bui, who juried Transcendence, hopes the show will not only inspire visitors to reevaluate and change their thinking and behavior around gender but also how they actively and routinely support the LGBTQ community. “The cathartic, utopian visions of gender imagined by the artists are not accessible unless we collectively work towards justice,” Bui writes in the official Juror’s Statement. A total of 18 artists from around the country are represented, with the local contingent including Marion Colomer, Hillary Rochon, and Sarah Stefana Smith from D.C., Ash Cheshire and John Thomas Paradiso from Maryland, and Your Rouge Photography from Virginia. To March 31. IA&A at Hillyer, 9 Hillyer Court NW. Call 202-338-0325 or visit


The precarious status of immigrants in the U.S. is explored in the latest exhibition at Logan Circle’s small but influential gallery Transformer featuring works by Chicano painter and Oklahoma native Eliseo Casiano, New York-based Indian visual artist Dhanashree Gadiyar, California-based experimental media and filmmaker Gelare Khoshgozaran, Brooklyn visual artist Keisha Scarville, and Pennsylvania-based multidisciplinary artist Karina Aguilera Skvirsky. Kimi Kitada curated the show, which looks at immigration through the mining of family histories and personal narratives, with works that investigate the topics of displacement, isolation, cultural assimilation, and government surveillance, among other pressing issues. The underlying, unifying message of the show is that all individuals are part of collective humanity. Now to April 20. 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit



“Circus in general has a really long tradition of powerful women being in positions of creative responsibility,” says Stephanie Monseu, the fourth female ringmaster in the Big Apple Circus’s 41-year history. Indeed, the company’s current show, directed by several New York theater veterans, features an impressive number of female-led acts. “It really is Broadway under the big top,” Monseu says. “The production value is really high, the lighting is beautiful, the set is pristine, the band is phenomenal. And we have the full spectrum of thrilling skills,” from the “very unique horizontal juggling” ace Victor Moiseev, to comedic character clowns Mark Gindick and Adam Kuchler, to animal handler Jenny Vidbel rescue dogs and retired horses. “Vidbel is an incredibly humane and loving trainer who works with the animals to find out what they love to do naturally,” says Monseu, who goes on to note the natural, pivotal role horses have played in the development of this whole genre of entertainment — right down to the name. “The word ‘circus’ [itself] refers to the circle that was measured out based on the smallest circumference that a galloping horse could run…. For the Big Apple Circus, it’s thrilling to be able to keep that tradition alive.” Performances to March 24. National Harbor, 238 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets start at $15, or $25 for VIP access to the Mirror Room with special amenities, a specialty cocktail, popcorn, cotton candy, and welcome gift. Call 212-257-2330 or visit www.big apple


The Kennedy Center presents its second annual, two-week, citywide celebration of contemporary art and culture — with a focus on new works, interdisciplinary creations in which artistic worlds collide, and on innovative responses to topical concerns. The result is a lineup with some of the most provocative, original, and pioneering voices in the arts today. Although a concert by Hugar, a genre-defying musical ensemble from Iceland, is first up, on Sunday, March 24, the second Direct Current officially kicks off on Monday, March 25, in the Concert Hall with an evening-length performance featuring new music from Justin Vernon of indie-folk band Bon Iver and new choreography from TU Dance, known for combining modern and classical dance with African- and urban-based movement. Other highlights to come in the first week include: Tashera, a young Baltimore-bred, D.C.-based soul/R&B singer-songwriter, on Tuesday, March 26; two concerts featuring avant-garde guitarist Mary Halvorson, one with saxophonist Maria Grand Wednesday, March 27, at the Phillips Collection, the other with her quintet on Thursday, March 28; singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, performing an evocative new song cycle based on his national road trip in the wake of the 2016 election, Wednesday, March 27; two concerts by the National Symphony Orchestra with music inspired by the natural world, including Philip Glass’s Itaipú Thursday, March 28, and Lera Auerbach’s ARCTICA on Saturday, March 30; and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company performing three separate evening-length works delving into the voice of the marginalized in our society, Thursday, March 28, through Saturday, March 30. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Regie Cabico and Don Mike Mendoza’s La-Ti-Do variety show features higher-quality singing than most karaoke, often from local musical theater actors performing on their night off, and also includes spoken-word poetry and comedy. Last December, Mendoza and “honorary co-founder” Russwin Francisco hosted an alternative spin on the usual format by featuring performances from other local talented Americans of Asian descent. It was such a hit, it’s now a monthly feature. Monday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Le Mirch, 1736 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-629-3577 or visit


We’re still two weeks out from the peak of pink-hued blossoms along the Tidal Basin, per the National Park Service’s prediction for the cherry trees (April 3-6). But the annual four-week festival waits for no bloom, kicking off this weekend with the Opening Ceremony concert featuring the cast of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Super Live, a new, unconventional musical derived from a girl-centric comic series written by Naoko Takeuchi; Yusaku Mochizuki, a World Juggling Champion who incorporates tap dance, video art, LED diabolos, and digital poi sticks into his act; Ikuko Kawai, a classical-crossover and film-score composer and violinist; and the 6821 Quintet, a classical ensemble named after the distance in miles separating Tokyo from D.C. Saturday, March 23, starting at 5 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are sold out.

Other activities over the next week: Pink Tie Party, the festival’s “see and be seen fundraiser” featuring a silent auction, bites from local restaurants and cocktails via an open bar, plus music, dancing, and over-the-top decor, on Friday, March 22, starting at 7 p.m., Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center (tickets are $225); Japanese Culture Day in the Young Readers Center of the Library of Congress, a chance for children, their families, and teachers to learn Japanese culture through reading, writing, and craft-making with Japanese cultural and linguistic professionals, on Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Cherry Blossom Celebration in the Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, featuring taiko drummers and other Japanese musicians and dancers, plus face painting, cherry blossom-themed crafts, a scavenger hunt, and the chance to make individual tatebanko, or Japanese paper dioramas, on Saturday, March 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Through The Lens: Tokyo Transect, a discussion and showcase of work by National Geographic photographer David Guttenfelder, offering a journey across the world’s most populous city to reveal its culture, traditions, quirks, and last but not least cherry blossoms, Thursday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m., at the National Geographic Museum (tickets are $25); Indigo Threads: Weaving Japanese Craftmanship and American Heritage, an exhibition exploring the rich history of indigo-dyed fabric and garments, including denim, in Japan, all day Friday, March 29, at JICC: Japan Information & Culture Center; Cherry Blast, a party featuring “an unforgettable secret garden,” Japanese cultural performances, dueling DJs, art, as well as a headline performance plus DJ set from pop/R&B hitmaker and former The Voice judge/coach CeeLo “Crazy/Fuck You” Green, on Saturday, March 30, starting at 7 p.m., The Theater at MGM National Harbor (tickets are $25, or $100 for VIP with open-bar, exclusive suite and dedicated seating, and Japanese buffet); the Tastes of Spring Cherry Blossom Food Crawl, a self-guided crawl sampling diverse cuisine at popular restaurants, on Saturday, March 30, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (tickets are $84); and the 9th Annual Blossom Kite Festival on Saturday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Visit for more information and additional events.


The Kurlander Program for GLBTQ Outreach & Engagement at the Edlavitch DCJCC once again presents D.C.’s only queer party for Purim, the Mardi Gras-like Jewish holiday celebrating Queen Esther and general confusion, mayhem, and mischief. The holiday calls for dressing up and drinking a lot — here, via discounted drinks at a private bar at the Dupont locale of Mexican restaurant Mission, which is this year’s host venue. Drag attire and costumes encouraged, Purim treats provided. Saturday, March 23, starting at 7 p.m. 1606 20th St. NW. Tickets are $10. Call 202-525-2010 or visit

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