Metro Weekly

Editor’s Picks: Jennifer Hudson with the NSO, Todd Franson’s Photography, Maryland Renaissance Festival, and more!

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

Natalia LaFourcade


Blessed with a powerful, lyrical soprano-caliber voice, the 35-year-old’s appeal is the moody chanteuse vibe of much of her music, such as the captivating, all-original, Latin Grammy-winning Hasta la Raiz. Her nostalgia-evoking style is even more pronounced on Musas, the recently released two-volume collection propelled by stand-out tributes to the Mexican folk songs that inspire her, and recorded with acoustic guitar duo Los Macorinos. Thursday, Sept. 5, at 8 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets are $45 to $125 plus fees. Call 202-783-4000 or visit

Jennifer Hudson


Thomas Wilkins conducts the National Symphony Orchestra in a program that draws on the repertoire and showcases the powerhouse pipes of probably the most famous American Idol contestant — one who actually came seventh in her season. But Hudson showed them all, including Simon Cowell, by going on to great acclaim and awards, including an Oscar for her work in the movie version of Dreamgirls. She’ll be back in cinemas this fall in the movie adaptation of Cats. Thursday, Sept. 5, at 8 p.m. The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. Remaining tickets are $60, or $45 for lawn seats. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit

Home Brewed


Over 1,000 items from D.C.’s historic original brewery, the Chr. Heurich Brewing Company, are on rotating display at the Heurich House Museum, which has started a fundraising campaign to purchase the collection, owned by local collector Jack Blush. Ranging from bottles and kegs to branded everyday objects and signs to employee photos, Home/Brewed tells a part of D.C. history that until recently had been largely forgotten and lost in large part because of a fire in 1938 that destroyed the company’s founding documents and similar memorabilia. The exhibition is on view during public tours and special events. 1921 Sunderland Place NW. Call 202-429-1894 or visit

Maryland Renaissance Festival


As summer nears its end, thoughts turn to jousting, feasting, crafts, theater, music, and merriment. Yes, it’s time again for one of the world’s largest festivals recreating 16th century England. Now in its 43rd season and set in a park outside of Annapolis, Md., the festival encourages patrons to dress up in period costume. They’re available to rent if you don’t have your own doublet and hose. Just don’t bring weapons, real or toy, or pets, as they tend to eat the turkey legs. It all takes place in the 27-acre Village of Revel Grove, where more than 200 professionals perform as characters of the era, naturally led by His Most Royal Highness King Henry VIII, wandering the steeds and streets when not on the village’s 10 stages or in the 3,000-seat arena, where a headline attraction is the jousting troupe Debracey Productions with its field full of horses, men in armor, chariots, trick riding and thrills for all ages. Also on hand are over 140 artisans exhibiting their predominantly handmade crafts in renaissance shops, five taverns and watering holes helping adult patrons stay hydrated and in good spirits, and 42 food and beverage emporiums to quench the hunger and thirst of even the youngest and most discerning. Weekends through Oct. 20. 1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis, Md. Tickets are $18 to $20 for a single-day adult ticket until Sept. 8, or $23 to $27 after; passes range from $41 for a 2-Day Pass to $160 for a Season Pass good for all 19 days. Call 800-296-7304 or visit

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A few photographs that you may remember from covers of this magazine — Jim Graham as Cleopatra or the infamous Leather Kewpie — have factored into the latest exhibition at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, all by Todd Franson, Metro Weekly‘s chief portrait photographer for 24 years. Yet the focus of the exhibit is on artworks Franson has created for other projects and pursuits, going as far back as his days as a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. 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 his personal sensibility, none more so than “Dancing Bear,” a vibrant image of a bustling amusement park at dusk. Franson will add new pieces and versions as well as $25 loose prints for purchase during the closing reception, featuring light food and drinks, set for Saturday, Sept. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. The Center Arts Gallery is inside the Reeves Center at 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit

Ambar Capitol Hill’s Labor Day Brunch: Grilled Veggie Flatbread — Photo: Ambar


Provided you can snag a table, this weekend seems like an opportune time to try the much-acclaimed brunch offerings at what is purported to be the nation’s first Balkan restaurant. Although since expanded to Clarendon, the original Capitol Hill location of Ambar remains a draw on weekends for its fixed-price Unlimited Brunch ($30 to $39 per person, not including tax and gratuity) offering an all-you-can-eat array of mezze, soups, salads, sandwiches, egg dishes, and pastries and crepes, plus five distinctive brunch cocktails for those looking to booze it up. There’s “Popara” Balkan Bread Pudding, with aged cow’s cheese, milk and chili flakes, served with country-style bacon; an Almond & Walnut Crusted Fried Chicken Sandwich with a spring mix and apple-wasabi slaw; and Poached Pear Waffles with house-made caramel sauce and whipped cream. In addition to a traditional Bloody Mary and Mimosa, Ambar offers variations including a Peach Mimosa with Balkan sparkling wine and peach and lavender purée, and a Mixed Berry Mimosa with Balkan sparkling wine, mixed berry purée, and lime juice. Saturdays and Sundays — plus Monday, Sept. 2 — from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 523 8th St. SE. All diners at a table must order the Unlimited Brunch. Call 202-813-3039 or visit

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

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