Metro Weekly

Editor’s Picks: Rafiki, Steam Room Stories, Dance Exchange, DC Shorts, Hannah Gadsby, and more!

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



The colorful street style and music of Nairobi’s vibrant youth culture is the backdrop to a tender love story between two young women in a country where homosexuality is still a criminal act. Despite the political rivalry between their families, Kena and Ziki encourage each other to pursue their dreams in Kenya’s conservative society. Wanuri Kahiu directs Rafiki, which screens as one of two films in Reel Affirmations’ Xtra monthly film series this month. Thursday, June 27, at 9 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Tickets are $14. Call 202-452-7672 or visit

Steamroom Stories


A bawdy comedy from JC Calciano, the niche Hollyood director of Is It Just Me? and The 10 Year Plan. This movie adaptation stars what promotional materials simply refer to as “a bunch of handsome hunks” who are as seemingly allergic to shirts. Top billing goes to former porn star Traci Lords, the movie’s villainess Sally Fay. The failing cosmetics magnate becomes convinced that fame, fortune, and the fountain of youth are all within her grasp — with only a gym full of gay himbos standing in her way. Thursday, June 27, at 7 and 9 p.m. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Tickets are $14. Call 202-452-7672 or visit

Pointless Theatre: Forest Treas — Photo: C. Stanley


Pointless Theatre presents a newly commissioned work devised by company member Navid Azeez and inspired by the Beltway Sniper from 2002, in which a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city decides to put cameras everywhere and live-stream what transpires. What could possibly go wrong? Directed by Kelly Colburn, Forest Treás — pronounced as “Triage” — examines the unforeseen effects of the Information Age on a community in violent crisis. The setting has been described as “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood meets Dogville, with live video-streaming as a form of post-modern puppetry.” Now to June 30. Dance Loft on 14 Theater, 4618 14th St. NW 2nd Floor. Tickets are $15 to $32. Call 202-733-6321 or visit

Grease — Photo: Jeri Tidwell


Go for a drive up to Columbia if you’d like to go back in time — all the way back to the 1950s — for Toby’s Dinner Theatre’s production of Grease, the hit musical circa 1971 by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. The musical-writing duo set the show in a mid-20th century American high school — one where even cool kids can’t resist breaking out into the sing-along fun of such hit staples as “Summer Nights,” “You’re The One That I Want,” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Mark Minnick directs and choreographs a that stars Matt Hirsh as Danny and Nicki Elledge as Sandy. To July 28. 5900 Symphony Woods Rd. Columbia, Md. Tickets are $47.50 to $63, including buffet-style dinner and coffee and tea. Call 301-596-6161 or visit

Bebel Gilberto


She was born 53 years ago in New York City but to Brazilian music royalty, as the daughter of bossa nova legend João and bossa nova star singer Miúcha. Yet this Gilberto long ago proved deserving of recognition of her own musical talent — from the get-go, in fact, with 2000 debut Tanto Tempo — and her notably consistent style: A lushly orchestrated, gently swaying sound that perfectly complements her sensual, soothing voice. Saturday, June 22, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $45. Call 703-549-7500 or visit

Dance Exchange: A Sense of Wonder — Photo: Jaclyn Borowski


Science meets modern dance in an evening of mixed repertory by choreographers Elizabeth Johnson Levine, Liz Lerman, Cassie Meador, and Keith Thompson. A Sense of Wonder features excerpts from three works demonstrating the range and breadth of collaborations by the company that was founded 43 years ago by Lerman and has been under the direction of Meador since 2011. Saturday, June 22, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, June 23, at 7 p.m. Dance Place’s Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Theater, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-269-1600 or visit

DC Shorts: Laughs


Three local stand-ups introduce a slate of comedic shorts in this popular annual program from the DC Film Alliance and the DC Shorts International Film Festival. The evening will feature Natalie McGill, a correspondent and writer for the political satire show Redacted Tonight on RT America, Baltimore’s Chris Lawrence, and original Funniest Fed competition winner Freddi Vernell. Six shorts will be screened: Cat Ventura’s Holly Goes to Therapy, following a troubled woman participating in an unconventional therapy session; Bastien Alexandre’s How Tommy Lemenchick Became a Grade 7 Legend, about an 11-year-old girl’s scheme to score her first kiss; Margaret Bialis’ Opening Night, which finds a man reflecting on his past with a humorous, musical twist; Alejandro Saevich’s Marmartuile, about an international conflict that erupts in the final days of the president of Mexico’s term in office; Robert Bruce Carter’s WHAM, showing the ripple effect that results after two people fall violently in love on the sidewalk; and David Malouf’s The Pharaohs, a fictional dark comedy about the “mean girls” in a senior living facility and based on the screenplay that won the 2017 DC Shorts Screenwriting competition. Beverages, including beer and wine, and snacks will be available. Friday, June 21, at 7 and 9 p.m. The Miracle Theatre, 535 8th St. SE. Tickets are $20. Call 202-400-3210 or visit

En Vogue


From the start, the Bay Area-formed girl group’s sound was fresh. Often playful and sassy, it drew from its early hip-hop era — think 1992’s “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” — and was always confident and empowering, courtesy of the group’s signature sound of tight vocal harmonies initially inspired by doo-wop (1992’s “Giving Him Something He Can Feel”). And unlike most other girl groups, En Vogue has always been about collaboration and teamwork. There has never been one member known as lead singer, and every member alternates between lead and backing vocal duties. (Just try to imagine Diana Ross or Beyonce agreeing to that.) Originally a quartet, En Vogue has been a trio the last few years, with Cindy Braggs, fellow founder Terry Ellis, and Rhona Bennett, who first joined the group in 2003. The trio returns to the area at the end of the month, or exactly four years after a Capital Pride performance that may have taken place during a steady downpour, yet no one’s spirits were dampened. The ladies definitely gave their all to make sure of that — and fans certainly felt it. Friday, June 28, and Saturday, June 29, at 8 p.m. Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, 7719 Wisconsin Ave. Tickets are $79.50 to $94.50, plus $20 minimum purchase per person. Call 240-330-4500 or visit

Hannah Gadsby


Art criticism is generally about as far from stand-up comedy as it gets, and any comic with the notion that the two endeavors could be forged together seamlessly, to say nothing of successfully, would have been laughed off the stage — if they weren’t booed off first. That is, until the Australian lesbian Gadsby came around with Nanette, her popular and provocative Netflix special from last year that rattled both the art and comedy worlds and had everyone on the edge of their seats. As it happens, Gadsby spent a decade honing her variant of comedy — which could be called critical standup — via comedy art lectures focused on collections at major galleries, art documentaries expounding on her artistic insights, and of course her art history degree at root. The wry comedian makes her Kennedy Center debut with a new show that reportedly delves more into her personal and cultural experiences. Meanwhile, everyone who goes to see Douglas — a show named after her dog — will have a completely “phone-free experience,” as all smartphones and smartwatches will be locked in special cases during the performance, and no other cameras or recording devices will be permitted. Performances are Tuesday, June 25, and Wednesday, June 26, at 7:30 p.m., and also Thursday, June 27, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $39 to $75. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Strathmore: L’ Homme Cirque


With his latest feat, this veteran of Cirque du Soleil and the Big Apple Circus and an acrobat and high-wire dancer that the New York Times has called the “Lord of the Wire,” isn’t just a circus act — he’s the whole darn show. Performed in an intimate, one-of-a-kind tent, L’homme Cirque is a one-man show featuring what Dimitri refers to as “unique magic” as he balances dramatic feats, such as high-wire flips or a human cannon launch, with humor, poetry, and accordion serenades. Strathmore welcomes Dimitri to help christen the Bernard Family Foundation Pavilion, the new addition to the Music Center. Performances begin Thursday, June 27. To July 7. 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $20 to $33, or $75 for Opening Night VIP Reception and Meet & Greet. Call 301-581-5100 or visit

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