Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: D.C. arts and entertainment — April 18-24

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

Marlene Dietrich and Richard Todd in Stage Fright, directed by Alfred Hitchcock — Photo: Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images



Now in its 33rd year, the Washington, DC International Film Festival will present 80 films from 45 countries over a span of 11 days beginning next Thursday, April 25, with Ladies in Black, an Australian comedy-drama about a group of department store employees in Sydney at the dawn of Australia’s cultural awakening and women’s liberation in 1959, will screen at AMC Mazza Gallerie (5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW). The lineup this year features the usual assortment of thrillers, comedies, dramas, and shorts, plus documentaries grouped into themes including “Foodflix” — such as Michelin Stars: Tales from the Kitchen, about the mythical Michelin Guide, and The Best Sommelier in the World, about the prestigious World Sommelier Competition — Music — led by Andrew Slater’s documentary Echo in the Canyon, tracing L.A.’s 1960s folk rock explosion, with a post-screening concert featuring Jakob Dylan, Cat Power, and Jade Castrinos, at the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St. NW) — and Justice Matters — ranging from Rafiki, an LGBTQ drama set (and banned) in Kenya, to Dear Walmart, which showcases those workers at America’s largest private employer who are fighting back against unfair labor practices. Another highlight is the world premiere of DC Noir, a crime anthology series by George Pelecanos and adapted from his acclaimed short stories Call 202-234-FILM or visit for a full schedule and more information.


“Heeere’s Kubrick” is an annual celebration of the late, legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, with select films screening on Wednesdays at both area locations of the Angelika movie theater chain. The series concludes with Kubrick’s adaptation of Vladimmir Nabokov’s novel starring James Mason, Shelley Winters, Sue Lyon, and the inestimable Peter Sellers. Kubrick did not anticipate the level of controversy, criticism, and censorship he faced in bringing the drama to the big screen in 1962 — the Motion Picture Association of America ultimately forced him to tone down the more provocative aspects of the tale, about a middle-aged lecturer who becomes sexually obsessed with a young adolescent girl. Ultimately, it’s a wonder Lolita got made at all, something that seems especially implausible in today’s #MeToo and #TimesUp era. And yet, many critics today regard it as a masterpiece, with filmmaker David Lynch, for one, citing it as his favorite Kubrick film. See if you agree. Wednesday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Also Angelika at Mosaic, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax, Va. Tickets are $10.50 to $14.50. Call 571-512-3311 or visit


Ed Helms narrates a sweet, sentimental Earth Day documentary from Disneynature in the voice of a cute, klutzy Adélie penguin coming of age in the harsh conditions of Antarctica. Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, Variety calls Penguins “an engaging, highly accessible and hugely entertaining underdog hero’s journey.” Now playing. Area theaters. Visit


While not among the best-known Hitchcock’s, this 1950 British noir from the master of suspense is bolstered by fine performances from Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, and the great Alastair Sim. Capital Classics, the popular series at Landmark’s West End Cinema, revives the movie on Wednesday, April 24, 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


Elle Fanning stars as a shy teenager from a small town in the U.K. who has Idol-esque dreams of becoming a pop star via a singing competition. A spin on Cinderella that early reviews suggest is dated, shopworn, and formulaic, Teen Spirit also stars Rebecca Hall, Zlatko Buric, and Agnieszka Grochowska, and was written and directed by Max Minghella (aka Nick Blaine on The Handmaid’s Tale) Opens Friday, April 19. Area theaters. Visit


If you’re not well-versed in Latin American folklore, La Llorona — or “The Weeping Woman” — is the ghost of a woman who drowned her children and now spends her time crying for them and trying to steal other lost children. Anna Garcia (Linda Cardellini) is a social worker in the ’70s who discovers that La Llorona has attached itself to her family — which doesn’t sound great for Anna’s kids, given Michael Chaves’ film is a supernatural horror and not a comedy. Opens Friday, April 19. Area theaters. Visit (Rhuaridh Marr)


Sex advice columnist Dan Savage offers up a sex-positive, rough-around-the-edges assortment of homemade pornography — gay, straight, fetish, you name it. “Hump!” is less erotic than it is avant garde. While definitely not soft-core, it’s less about titillation than breaking down sexual barriers. Savage has curated the annual festival since 2005, with each year bringing a new batch of shorts, each clocking in at less than five minutes, featuring amateurs revelling in sexual expression. Thursday, April 25. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Also Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27. Doors at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Black Cat Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-667-4490 or visit

Into the Woods at Ford’s Theatre — Photo: Carol Rosegg



All week long, the Kennedy Center has been hosting outstanding theater students from universities across the nation as part of the 50th anniversary of this annual national festival, which offers master classes and visits to leading D.C. theater companies. The festival concludes with a public performance of the finalists in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarships and National Award Presentations. One student, along with a scene partner, from each of eight regions of the U.S. auditions before a panel of theater experts, who will determine who will win a $5,000 scholarship along with $1,000 for their scene partner, with second place earning $2,500 scholarship and $1,000 for their partner. “You really get blown away by these kids,” marvels Gregg Henry, a former Irene Ryan finalist from 1979 who now runs the festival for the Kennedy Center. The evening also sees awards going to finalists among university stage directors and choreographers as well as designers in scenery, costumes, lighting, sound, and technology and properties, plus students of arts journalism/criticism. Friday, April 19, at 7 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $25. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Short plays by Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter — two theater giants and Nobel Laureates — are presented in repertory on alternate evenings by Scena Theatre and directed by the company’s Robert McNamara. Beckett Trio, Part 2 features the Irish architect of absurdism’s black comedy-rich Ohio ImpromptuCome and Go, and Catastrophe, with a six-person cast including Buck O’Leary, Kim Curtis, and Jen Bevarelli. Pinter Rep, meanwhile, finds a nine-person cast, including Christopher Henley, Irina Koval, Karin Rosnizeck, and Robert Sheire, bringing to life a political trio “portraying terror and its consequences” from the legendary British playwright: One for the RoadMountain Language, and The New World Order. To May 5. Lab II in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $14 to $45. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


The LGBTQ-focused Rainbow Theatre Project continues its sixth season with an evocative “ghost play” by Tennessee Williams focused on the tumultuous marriage and creative lives of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The couple revisits their youth in a haunting and poetic theatrical tale that blurs past and present and includes ghosts of characters who influenced the two, including Ernest Hemingway. Greg Stevens directs a production featuring Sara Barker as Zelda, Aidan Hughes as Scott, and Matty Griffiths as Ernest leading an eight-person cast. To April 28. District of Columbia Arts Center, 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $35. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


Eric Schaeffer directs one of his favorite musicals, a multiple Tony-winning work from 1989 with a book by Luther Davis and music and lyrics by Robert Wright, George Forrest, and Maury Yeston. Based on the 1929 novel by Vicki Baum that also spawned two World War II-era movies, Grand Hotel The Musical is set in a lavish hotel in Weimar Republic Berlin — and staged in such a way at Signature Theatre that audiences will feel like they are sitting in the hotel’s lobby. A fading ballerina, a destitute baron, a wannabe starlet, and an ailing bookkeeper are just a handful of the many characters who come and go in the show, with Signature stars Bobby Smith and Natascia Diaz leading a large cast also featuring other Signature veterans including Nicki Elledge, Kevin McAllister, Crystal Mosser, and Lawrence Redmond. Jon Kalbfleisch leads the orchestra while Kelly Crandall D’Amboise helms the choreography. In previews. To May 19. MAX Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit



Somebody’s hauled a fabulous eight-piece orchestra into the enchanted forest of Ford’s Theatre’s production of Into the Woods, and the brilliant, Tony-winning score, conducted by music director William Yanesh, sounds great. The mostly sharp delivery of director Peter Flynn’s talented cast can keep the listener hanging on every word of Stephen Sondheim’s winding lines. These are treacherous woods, less an idyll for peaceful strolls to grandma’s house than a fateful crossroads of change. Milagro Ponce de León’s forest set, rippling layers of flattish trees and vines, definitely carries through Sondheim and frequent book writer James Lapine’s image of the woods as a foreboding place and time, a field of dark unknowing. Flynn and company do a marvelous job delineating every major and minor character in this vast storybook population of kings, commoners, cows and chickens — as derived from fairy tales — even with some actors performing several roles. Flynn’s absorbing staging marches with gusto into the second act, which examines, or pokes holes in, the contentment that comes after Happily Ever After. But the show hits a few roadblocks. The pace slackens, and the fire wanes, until a hardy finish. As a whole, Ford’s production beautifully conveys the weight and lightness of Sondheim and Lapine’s journey into the woods, where characters forced to coerce, deceive, or steal from strangers can find whatever they believe might bring them happiness. To May 22. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $83. Call 888-616-0270 or visit (André Hereford)


A junk bond trader prepares a hostile takeover of a family-owned manufacturing company in this bracing, 1980s-inspired new work from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar (Disgraced). Jackie Maxwell directs the Arena Stage production starring Thomas Keegan leading a 17-person cast featuring a number of local stage heavyweights, including Edward Gero, Michael Russotto, Lise Bruneau, and Michael Glenn. To May 5. Fichandler Stage in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit


Six parents get their children together to play — but “this play is not for children,” the Best Medicine Rep Theatre stresses in bold. It’s also not about the children but about the naughty adults in the other room in this farce “laced with tequila and regret” and written by John Morogiello from an idea he concocted with Lori Boyd. Melissa B. Robinson directs the production starring Kira Burri and Evan Crump. To May 5. Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg. Tickets are $20 to $25. Visit


Founded by Strother Gaines and nurtured at Capital Fringe, TBD Immersive — which stands for Tradition Be Damned — is hardly theater as usual. The company’s variation on devised, participatory theater centers the audience, with each attendee becoming an active participant, choosing their own way into and around the chief story, such that they ultimately become a co-creator of what results, building on the work of the mainstage performers and the company’s devising playwright Jenny Splitter, with additional assist from producing improvisation director Dana Malone Heiser. Next up from TBD is an intimate, hour-long guided experience through a series of interactive installations transforming the subterranean Dupont Underground into a passageway to the Underworld. A maximum of 10 patrons will explore at the same time, and they will journey from life to death or from death to life — depending on their assigned path, with no two journeys ever alike — exploring the wonder, pain, and beauty of the unknown along the way. Opens Friday, April 19. To May 12. Dupont Underground, 1500 19th St. NW. Tickets are $35. visit


Casey Cott, star of the CW’s Riverdale, takes on the title role in the Kennedy Center’s limited, semi-staged concert production of the musical tale penned by Pete Townshend in 1969 about his childhood and later struggles with fame as a founding member of the Who. Tony-winner Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher) and Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton) co-star as Tommy’s parents Captain Walker and Mrs. Walker in this Broadway Center Stage presentation directed and choreographed by Josh Rhodes (Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella). Offered as a 50th anniversary toast to the groundbreaking concept album and rock opera, the version on stage was adapted in 1992 through a collaboration between writer/director Des McAnuff and Townsend, with Townsend’s original music and lyrics embellished by additional music and lyrics by John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Manu Narayan, Kimberly Nichole, and Wesley Taylor are also featured in the Kennedy Center run. Opens Wednesday, April 24. To April 29. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $69 to $219. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Alan Cumming: Legal Immigrant — Photo: Christopher Boudewyns



The Scottish-born Cumming returns to the area for another round of his provocative new cabaret consisting of songs and stories from the award-winning actor, all focused on his life and loves in the decade since he became a U.S. citizen. The set list is as eclectic and idiosyncratic as Cumming himself, running the gamut from Sondheim to P!nk, Kander & Ebb to Edith Piaf, not to mention original mashups, such as one combining Schubert with Peggy Lee. Wednesday, April 24, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $35 to $85. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


A presentation at Strathmore that is part of a two-concert showcase of artists from the local jazz scene — one that is not to be confused with the unaffiliated but similarly named Capital Jazz Fest, presented by Capital Jazz Productions (which is held in June at Merriweather Post Pavilion). The diverse lineup of jazz, soul, and funk artists is touted as “indisputable proof that the depth and breadth of locally grown D.C. jazz rivals the best in the world.” Elijah Jamal Balbed, David Schulman’s Quiet Life Motel, Akua Allrich, Mark G. Meadows, and Rochelle Rice will all perform vibrant renditions and original compositions, transforming the Mansion into an intimate jazz club for the evening. The second concert in the series is presented May 2 and features a different roster of artists. 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Tickets are $30. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


The Bridge, Deer Tick, Steep Canyon Rangers, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, and the Jeff Austin Band headline this 7th annual festival taking place the last weekend in April in the same large urban park that hosts the Baltimore Pride Festival. Three stages will be set up throughout Druid Hill Park, where a total of 20 acts spanning the bluegrass, folk, and Americana genres will perform individually as well as in countless impromptu jam sessions. The lineup naturally includes additional acts from the bluegrass-rich Mid-Atlantic region beyond Baltimore’s own The Bridge, including the Seldom Scene, 19th Street Band, and Charm City Junction. But festival-goers can’t live on music alone, and the food and drink highlights include a limited-release branded beer from Union Craft Brewery, a limited-release, festival-inspired ice cream flavor from the Charmery, plus offerings from popular Baltimore spots Bark BBQ, Deddle’s Mini Donuts, Vent Coffee Roasters, and Asian Taste, among others. Children 10 and under are free, and will be drawn to the festival’s kids activity area as well as petting zoo with animals from Irvine Nature Center. Friday, April 26, starting at 4 p.m., and Saturday, April 27, starting at 10 a.m. 3100 Swann Drive, Baltimore. Tickets are $30 for Friday-Only, $52 Saturday-Only, and $72 for a Two-Day Package. Visit


The Washington Conservatory of Music offers a solo piano concert featuring one of Ireland’s most in-demand classical musicians. Collins will perform Mozart’s Sonata in A Major “Alla Turca”, Brahms’ Vier Klavierstücke, and Schubert’s Sonata in A Major. The concert will be followed by an informal Wine & Words Q&A with Collins and complimentary beverages. Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m. Westmoreland Congregational Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle. Bethesda. Tickets are free, with a suggested donation of $20. Call 301-320-2770 or visit


Founded in 1989 as the Georgetown Community Chorale affiliated with Georgetown University, this now independent, volunteer organization celebrates its pearl anniversary with a performance of Ernest Bloch’s Avodath Hakodesh (“Sacred Service”). Sung in Hebrew and English, Bloch’s work is considered among the most distinguished examples of Jewish choral music of the last century. In addition to the chorale’s 85 singers led by Richard Giarusso, the program features Cantor Asa Fradkin, baritone, of Congregation Beth El and the organization’s assistant director Andrew Jonathan Welch on piano. Proceeds from the concert go toward Yachad, a local charity working to preserve safe and affordable housing and to revitalize neighborhoods in the area by mobilizing financial resources and volunteers across faiths “to transform people and properties.” Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m. Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW. Tickets are $25, or $36 to $50 including donations to the Yachad fund. Call 202-832-3210 or visit


The she-identified singing bassist Harmony Tividad and the they-identified singing guitarist Cleo Tucker — who come out as transgender last year — comprise Girlpool. The folk-punk duo churns out captivating, hard-to-classify dreamy lo-fi indie-rock — distinguished by incisive lyrics, soft textures, hushed harmonies, and soaring hooks. They tour as part of a five-piece band, with Hatchie and Too Free opening acts. Sunday, April 28. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $18 in advance, or $20 at the door. Call 202-667-4490 or visit


A double-bill of new-school R&B from two Millennial starlets, the Northern Virginia-reared Uchis and the Jamaican-English Smith. Uchis, of Colombian descent, tours in support of Isolation, characterized by a savvy mix of R&B with reggaeton, funk, and bossa nova elements and praised by media outlets including NPR as “one of the most commanding and endlessly listenable pop statements to emerge” in 2018. Smith earned some acclaim of her own last year upon the release of her debut long player Lost & Found, which helped her land a nomination as Best New Artist at the Grammys. (The year before she was prominently featured on a couple of tracks from Drake’s mixtape More Life.) Surely, the two will come together on stage to perform “Tyrant,” their duet described as a “post-apocalyptic love song” from Uchis’s bilingual debut, when they kick off their co-headlining tour next weekend with what is essentially a hometown show for Uchis. Sunday, April 28. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $45 to $75. Call 202-888-0020 or visit


It takes some smooth crooning to come close to the vocal greatness that was Grammy-winning R&B legend Luther Vandross. But William “Smooth” Wardlaw comes close enough to live up to his billing as the featured voice of the concert experience he’s fronted for nearly a decade. “We try not to say tribute or impersonation,” Wardlaw tells Metro Weekly. “That’s why we’re called ‘Luther Re-Lives,’ because we want people to relive those moments when Luther was onstage.” The Alexandria native relives his own love for Luther’s music and vocal prowess by performing the artist’s songs, accompanied by two backup singers and a five-piece band. The show is a full, Vegas-style performance that Wardlaw says aims to recapture not just the sublime musical effect of Luther live, but also “the flamboyance, the lighting, the wardrobe.” Saturday, April 20. Doors at 6 p.m. Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, 7719 Wisconsin Ave. Tickets are $49.50, plus $20 minimum purchase per person. Call 240-330-4500 or visit (Andre Hereford)


Stan Engebretson conducts this chamber choir comprised of a select group of 25 singers associated with the orchestra in residence at Strathmore. The Spring concert features Bach’s motet Der Geist Hilft (“The Spirit Helps Us”), selections from Mozart’s Vespers, a selection of spirituals, plus the songs Eric Whitacre’s “Fly to Paradise,” Jake Runestad’s “We Can Mend the Sky,” and Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run.” Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m. Christ Episcopal Church, 107 South Washington St., Rockville. Free, but donations in support of the Community Ministries of Rockville requested. Call 301-762-2191 or visit


A local company chiefly focused on performing 18th-century opera using instruments from the period closes its 24th season with a well-timed co-production with Heartbeat Opera focused on the story of Susanna and the Elders from the Book of Daniel. Alessandro Stradella’s original adaptation, circa 1681, of the Bible’s iconic story of sexual harassment and the perversion of justice featured a male narrator and male savior, but here females are cast in the roles instead to make it a more powerful and complicated work for 2019. Directed by Heartbeat Opera’s co-artistic director Ethan Heard, Lucía Martín Cartón makes her debut as Susanna, with Sara Couden as Testo, Ariana Douglas as Daniel, and Patrick Kilbride and Paul Max Tipton as the Elders. Opera Lafayette’s Ryan Brown serves as music director with Jacob Ashworth. Sunday, April 21, and Monday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Tickets are $25 to $135. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


After making her solo cabaret debut a few years back at the Kennedy Center via Barbara Cook’s Spotlight series, Patina Miller returns for another show, this time at the behest of another towering vocal dame: Renée Fleming through her series VOICES. Though also familiar from her work in film (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and 2) and TV (CBS’s Madam Secretary), Miller has really made her mark on Broadway, including Sister Act and especially the 2013 revival of Pippin, which garnered her the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. Expect to hear songs from those shows, plus gospel and pop — perhaps even a nod to the movie, Beaches, which inspired Miller as a little girl. “The scene in the movie where C.C. wants to go to New York and be a Broadway star, that kind of got me curious as to what New York was and what Broadway was,” the South Carolina native told Metro Weekly in 2013. Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $49 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Pauline Anson-Dross’ popular lesbian all-covers party-rock band Wicked Jezabel has been rocking — as well as raising money for various good causes — all over the region for a decade now, originally under the name The Outskirts of Town. The next concert from the Jezabels is a charity event to ring in Earth Day: “Respect Your Mother…She is the Only One You Have.” Friday, April 19, at 9 p.m. JV’s Restaurant, 6666 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church. Cover is $10. Call 703-241-9504 or visit


Jane Franklin Dance: Complete Dogness — Photo: Jim Turner



This “color-conscious” performing arts organization opens its new season with another revival of a popular and timely original work co-created by local stage powerhouse Kevin McAllister, who is also the founding artistic director of ArtsCentric. First presented in 2016, this “dancical” tells a nominally fictional story, primarily through dance and movement, that largely tracks what really happened in Baltimore in 2015: the series of mass protests that erupted in the wake of the police-committed homicide of Freddie Gray. Here, the focus is on Damon, a kid obsessed with photography who, inadvertently, posthumously, sparks a revolution in his community after becoming another senseless casualty at the hands of law enforcement. The emotionally gripping piece, co-presented by Explicit Dance Works, features a 29-member cast, led by Heinz Adjakwah as Damon, performing a wide-ranging assortment of popular music and dance styles — from ballet, step, and tap, to jazz, hip-hop, and liturgical — enhanced by the words of various civil rights leaders. Thursday, April 18, at 8 p.m., Friday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, April 20, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $30. Call 410-752-8558 or visit


The executive artistic director of Dance Place next presents — as well as performs with — his namesake contemporary troupe in its second annual season performance as a resident company of the arts venue and Brookland neighborhood anchor. The mixed repertory program serves as a showcase of the Hawaiian native’s expressive, precise works in choreography, including the premiere of On Defen(c)e, which examines concepts of origins, migration, and the lingering impact of the past — intentional and otherwise — as we set about to move forward. This new work will also feature the debut of several company dancers, while Washington Ballet dancers Lucy Nevin, Ashley Murphy-Wilson, and Maki ONuki join for a special collaborative performance of Morgan’s 2014 work In the Cold Room, with live accompaniment by electric cellist Wytold performing his original score. Morgan himself will perform his acclaimed solo Rice to round out the program. Saturday, April 27, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 28, at 7 p.m. Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Theater, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $30. Call 202-269-1600 or visit


Barky is a dog with bad habits who learns new tricks in this family-friendly work from choreographer Jane Franklin’s local dance troupe incorporating spoken word, imaging and animation by Hong Huo, and interactive participatory activities for young children, along with movement and music. A quartet of female dancers — Andie deVaulx, Kelsey Rohr, Brynna Shank, Rebecca Weiss — perform some gymnastic style moves as they work to bring to life the dog’s tale, complete with dog sounds of barking, whining, and growling. John Kamman and David Schulman provide proper musical accompaniment. Saturday, April 27, and May 4, at 4 p.m. Theatre on the Run, 3700 South Four Mile Run Dr. Arlington. Tickets are $10 to $15, or $45 for a family of four. Call 703-933-1111 or visit


Based in New York, this group seeks to breathe new life into traditional Chinese culture, with a particular focus on classical Chinese dance, one of the world’s oldest art forms. Blending beauty, energy, and grace, dancers in dazzling costumes move in seamless, flowing patterns, while a live orchestra and thunderous drums shake the stage against stunning, otherworldly backdrops. Shen Yun returns to the Kennedy Center with its epic production focused on “reviving 5,000 years of civilization,” presented by the Falun Dafa Association of Washington, D.C. To April 21. Opera House. Tickets are $80 to $250. Call 202-467-4600 or visit




Next week, the Library of Congress presents a lecture by a former fellow at the Houston Museum of African American Culture focused on two distinct cultural aspects of the Texas city’s black community. In his talk titled “Street Folk,” Langston Collins Wilkins will discuss the links between “Screw,” a variant of hip-hop music native to Houston, and “Slab,” or decorative automotive art pieces made out of outmoded American sedans. Taken together, “screw” and “slab” form a unique local tradition that has engaged and empowered working class black Houstonians across several generations. Wednesday, April 24, at noon. Whittall Pavilion in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Free with registration. Call 202-707-8000 or visit


An unsent love letter he had written as a teenager didn’t just send David Nadelberg on a wistful trip down memory lane. It sparked the idea for a project focused on the strange, extraordinary, or just plain embarrassing things people create as kids. Launched in 2002, Mortified is a spin on the popular genre of curated storytelling shows in which strangers from all walks of life take to the stage — as well as the airwaves a la podcast — to “share the shame” of their “teen angst artifacts,” created when they were all so young and impressionable. Revealing such memorabilia, organizers say, can be a revelatory experience: “You’d be surprised what you discover in the process.” Saturday, April 20. Doors at 8 p.m. Black Cat Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $17 in advance, or $20 at the door. Call 202-667-4490 or visit


Known for gardening and adventuring in the shadow of the presidents, Jonathan Pliska is the author of A Garden for the President: A History of the White House Grounds as well as The White House Easter Egg Roll: A History for All Ages. The White House Historical Association, a privately funded nonprofit, invites Pliska to come to its White House History Shop across Lafayette Square from the People’s House to sign copies of his books and meet fans. Monday, April 22, from 12 to 2 p.m. 1610 H St. NW. Free and open to the public. Call 800-555-2451 or visit

Todd Franson: Last Slice – 12×12



The Washington Project for the Arts presents another exhibition intended to be more than just a display of art. Instead, curator Joseph Orzal adds a reading room plus meeting space for a project, housed in an empty storefront in Shaw, billed as “a solution-oriented community space that provides sanctuary for people feeling the consumptive pressures of gentrification, the loss of cultural connection, and the inevitability of displacement.” The primary focus is on artworks exploring issues of class and race through the experiences of artists including Amna Asghar, Demian DinéYazhi, Eliseo Angel Casiano, Lordy, PLAKOOKEE, Sheida Soleimani, April Steele, Renée Stout, Aristotle Theresa, Uptown Art House, Asia Vianna, and Monsieur Zohore. Books will be on hand offering a deeper dive into the themes addressed by the art as a way for visitors to join together in common cause “to cultivate new methods of resistance.” Now to June 23. WPA Annex, 1921 8th St. NW. Call 202-234-7103 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


In its largest interactive technology exhibition to date, the Hirshhorn Museum gives over its entire second level to a Mexican-Canadian artist known for straddling the line between art, technology, and design. In his D.C. debut, Lozano-Hemmer

fills the museum with immersive environments using fingerprints and heart-rate sensors to create kinetic and audiovisual experiences from visitors’ own biometric data. These intimate “snapshots” of electrical activity are then added to a live archive of prior recordings to create an environment of syncopated rhythms — all in a new way of looking at biometry that represents both anonymity and community. To April 28. Hirshhorn Museum, Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


A showing of contemporary work from nine of the 16 artists from the inaugural show at the District of Columbia Arts Center, which opened to great hype in the wake of controversy and outrage over the Corcoran’s cancelling of the Mapplethorpe exhibition the week before. Presented as part of a celebration of DCAC’s 30th anniversary, the exhibition, curated by Philip Barlow and Pat Goslee, includes work by David Emerick, Lida Husik, Jenny Jenkins, Sherwin Mark, Darrow Montgomery, Fredrick Nunley, Michael Platt, Beverly Ress, and Greg Staley. On display to April 28, when it closes with an Artist/Curator Talk & Reception. 2438 18th St. NW. Call 202-462-7833 or visit


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


The National Museum of Women in the Arts currently has on display monumental sculptures made from wood and other organic materials, including leather, silk, and hair, all created by this German artist with the intent of evoking the grandeur and power of nature. A wall installation and an additional nine works on paper are included in this, the most ambitious presentation of works to date by von Rydingsvard, one of the most influential sculptors working today. Mark Rosenthal formerly of the National Gallery of Art guest-curated the exhibition, which was organized by Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop and Museum. On exhibit to July 28. 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is $10. Call 202-783-5000 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. Closes Saturday, April 20. 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit



A celebration of geek-dom, from comic books to movies to video games, and its influence on today’s pop culture, D.C.’s annual comic-con offers three days of costume contests, gaming tournaments, trivia, kid-centric activities, an Awesome Con Short Film Fest, and talks with a whole galaxy of celebrities, comics, scientists, and science-fiction stars. Highlights among the many featured guests this year: Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Val Kilmer (Batman Forever), Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid), John Barrowman (Doctor Who), Kate Flannery (The Office), Tom Payne (The Walking Dead), Milo Ventimiglia (This is Us), Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica), Michael Biehn (Terminator), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club), Susan Egan (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway), Brent Spiner (Star Trek), KJ Apa and Cole Sprouse (Riverdale), and Grammy-winning pop parodist par excellence “Weird Al” Yankovic. The LeftField Media-produced event, which attracted over 71,000 participants to last year’s sixth annual outing, has unsurprisingly been a draw for the LGBTQ community since its inception. The popularity has only increased in the past few years with the launch of Pride Alley and programming specifically geared to gaymers curated by Geeks OUT, organizers of New York’s LGBTQ-focused Flame Con. Friday, April 26, from 12 to 8 p.m., Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW. Tickets are $40 to $55 for a single-day entry or $80 for a three-day pass; VIP passes ranging from $150 to $574.99 are also available. Call 202-249-3000 or visit


More than 35 boutique shops, antique stores, restaurants, salons, and galleries in Georgetown’s Book Hill area participate in the 16th annual open-air market and sidewalk sale, where merchants offer up to 75-percent off their wares and restaurants and cafes present special French fare, from sweet and savory crepes, grilled merguez sausages, pastries, and macarons. The Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) presents the affair, intended to evoke the outdoor markets of Paris. All throughout you’ll find whimsical street performers, face painters, a caricature artist, and live French music and gypsy jazz. Plus, the first 250 people who drop by the Georgetown BID tent in the TD Bank lot (16111 Wisconsin Ave. NW) both weekend days will receive a free beret and will be entered to win tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s Volta. Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, April 28, from 12 to 5 p.m. Wisconsin Avenue between O Street and Reservoir Road. Visit


You might have thought the city’s big spring to-do was a total wrap now that all the major events have come and gone — as have the pink-hued blooms that give the festival its name in the first place. But alas, there are still three more festival-related events to go, including the free 5th annual Anacostia River Festival, presented by the 11th Street Bridge Park and National Park Service, and including canoe trips, a bike parade, and lawn games, set for this Sunday, April 20, from 1 to 5 p.m., Anacostia Drive and Good Hope Road SE. Next week, the Kennedy Center hosts the official Festival Finale Concert featuring Ichiro Nodaira, the distinguished Japanese pianist performing a free program of songs celebrating spring as well as original compositions, on Thursday, April 25, at 6 p.m. in the Terrace Theater. And lastly, there’s the second annual Rooftop Rosé Party at District Winery (385 Water St. SE), which offers tastings of a variety of the venue’s wines, pink and otherwise, offerings from the food menu, and live entertainment, all from the venue’s wraparound second-floor terrace with sweeping views of the Anacostia River, and presented in two three-hour sessions, starting at noon and 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 28 ($59 to $69 including food and three drink tickets, plus an additional $15 for a bottle of rosé to take home). Visit for more information.


Touted as the most prestigious juried show and sale of American contemporary fine craft, the 37th annual event, presented by the Smithsonian Women’s Committee, features 120 of the field’s leading artists. All facets of contemporary design and jewelry are represented, including wearable art, basketry, furniture, glass, leather, and mixed media. Joyce J. Scott is this year’s recipient of the Smithsonian Visionary Artist Award in recognition of the Baltimore native’s work using off-loom hand-threaded beads and blown glass to create jewelry pieces as well as figurative sculptures and wall hangings. Scott will be the focus of a “Convo with the Visionary” session and Q&A led by Stephanie Stebich of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, on Thursday, April 25, at 6 p.m. Proceeds from sales go toward funding research at the Smithsonian’s 28 institutions, from its museums on the mall to the National Zoo. Thursday, April 25, from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., including a Friends Night Out after-hours event starting at 5 p.m. with snacks and a cash bar, Friday, April 26, through Saturday, April 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Daily admission is $20, or $17 purchased online in advance; the Convo with the Visionary session is $45 and includes all day Thursday admission and one complimentary drink. Call 202-272-2448 or visit


Local LGBTQ athletic-supporting and social sports-boosting outfit Team DC offers gambling-for-fun fundraising events several times a year that benefit a rotating roster of local sports teams and social organizations, whose members serve as croupiers at tables offering poker, blackjack, and craps. Proceeds from the chips used to play at the tables will be split among the teams, and not, to be clear, among the gambling patrons themselves. That said, a patron’s remaining chips at the end of the night do offer chances for winnings — specifically raffle prizes, including tickets to the theater or sporting events, and gift cards. And even if you don’t win a thing, you also won’t lose a penny beyond the $10 donation for the chips. “Casino Night gives you all of the pleasure and none of the harsh debt that comes with [actual] gambling,” laughs Team DC’s Brent Minor. The Spring 2019 affair is co-hosted by the Capital Tennis Association, the DC Strokes Rowing Club, DC Different Drummers, and Federal Triangles Soccer Club. There will also be food and drink specials. Saturday, April 27, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Buffalo Billiards, 1330 19th St. NW. Cover donation is $10. Visit


Held the third Friday of each month, the DC Weirdo Show bills itself as the longest-running variety show in the city — and also, as “Queen Weirdo and Producer” Dr. Torcher puts it, “increasingly the D.C. go-to show for local performers of color, queer performers, and womxn in the circus, sideshow, and variety performance arts.” For the month of April, organizers have gone a step further by making it an explicitly LGBTQ affair, showcasing a cast of “D.C.’s weirdest queerdos” performing “amazing physical feats of fabulousness” in everything from juggling to bellydance to daredevil acts — and of course drag, in both queen and king varieties. And because all recent shows have sold out in advance, they’ve added a second night at host venue the Dew Drop Inn in Brookland. “Queerlesque” artist Carlita Caliente, “fat burlesque” artist/bellydancer Ophelia Zayna Hart, “drag King of Glitter” Mich, mermaid Ché Monique, and juggler/musician Frankie Nonsense will perform at both shows — Friday, April 19, at 9 p.m., and Saturday, April 20, at 8 p.m. — while burlesque/spoken-word artist Uma Hurtman and fire manipulator Eva Mystique are scheduled for Friday only, and South Asian Telugu “gender-nonconforming bearded” drag queen Kamani Sutra is exclusive to Saturday. Sideshow Bro, a fire-eating/sword-swallowing drag king, will host both shows and shenanigans, all of which comes with the warning: “contains SHOCKING and RARE FEATS…plus NUDITY (horray!)” 2801 8th St. NE. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door, with reserved VIP seating $25 and a two-night pass available for $25. Call 202-791-0909 or visit

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

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