Metro Weekly

Editor’s Picks: Gavin Creel, District Improv Festival, Four by Hitchcock, and more!

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

Enter The Dragon

ENTER THE DRAGON

Considered one of the greatest martial arts films of all time, Robert Clouse’s Enter The Dragon was the final completed work by its producer and star Bruce Lee, who died one month after its release in 1973. Co-starring John Saxon and Jim Kelly, the James Bond-styled action pic was entered into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2004. It returns to the big screen as part of the Capital Classics series at Landmark’s West End Cinema. Wednesday, Oct. 2, 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 each. Call 202-534-1907 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.

Trying — Photo: Teresa Castracane

TRYING

Virginia’s 1st Stage offers the regional premiere of a play by Joanna McClelland Glass, who drew on her real-life experience working for Francis Biddle at his home in D.C. in the 1960s. Biddle, the former U.S. Attorney General under President Franklin Roosevelt who also served as Chief Judge of the American Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, was notoriously hard on his staff as he worked to cement his legacy. Alex Levy directs stars Amanda Forstrom and Scott Sedar. To Oct. 20. 1st Stage is located at 1524 Spring Hill Rd. Tysons, Va. Tickets are $42. Call 703-854-1856 or visit www.1ststagetysons.org.

Gavin Creel — Photo: Matt Murphy

GAVIN CREEL

A few years ago, Creel starred in the touring version of The Book of Mormon that hit the Kennedy Center. Now a Tony-winning sensation for his work opposite Bette Midler in the recent Hello, Dolly! revival, Creel returns as the next artist getting a prestigious spotlight in the Renée Fleming VOICES series. Expect a cabaret with songs from Hair, La Cage Aux Folles, She Loves Me, and Thoroughly Modern Millie, and also including some of his originals, such as those found on his stunning 2012 pop album Get Out, whether the Adam Lambert-channeling title track, the Indigo Girls-esque tender rocker “Sooner or Later,” or especially the captivating electro-tipped gem “Enough.” Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $69 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

District Improv Festival

DISTRICT IMPROV FESTIVAL

Washington, D.C.’s only longform improv festival, produced in alliance with Washington Improv Theater and Dojo Comedy, returns for a 7th year with over 31 teams from across the country, 11 of which are D.C.-based. These range from the gay-focused ensemble Ugh — who will “turn your real-life stories into a big, gay mess” — to the iMusical troupe, to the all-Spanish Sábado Picante team, which attempts to top the over-the-topness of a telenovela, to the science-based “edutainment” group The Hypothesis. Kevin Mullaney, formerly of New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, is a featured guest who will perform as part of Mullaney Chain, a show in which each performer is invited by someone else in the cast. Thursday, Sept. 26, through Sunday, Sept. 29. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $5 to $25, plus some pay-what-you-can performances. Visit www.districtimprov.org for full schedule and more information.

Sir Babygirl

SIR BABYGIRL

Kelsie Hogue draws from a mix as sundry as Charli XCX, Hole, Robyn, and Ashlee Simpson, and uses a made-up genderfuck alias — “somewhere out there, in between a girl group and a boyband” — to churn out music that is “unabashedly bubblegum, unashamedly queer pop for a future free of genre boundary and the gender binary.” The result, as evidenced on Sir Babygirl’s EP Crush on Me, is a style of synth-pop as sunny and sugary as all get out, making her dance party starting forebears, most notably the great feminist DIY punk trio Le Tigre, seem like angst-riddled, buzz-killing posers in comparison. Nyssa and Shunkan open. Sunday, Sept. 28. Doors at 7 p.m. Songbyrd Music House, 2477 18th St. NW. Tickets are $12 to $14. Call 202-450-2917 or visit www.songbyrddc.com.

Merce Cunningham at 100: Beach Birds, Robert Swinston -Compagnie Centre National de Danse Contemporaine-Angers — Photo: Charlotte Audureau

MERCE CUNNINGHAM’S BEACH BIRDS, BIPED

Longtime Cunningham dancer and collaborator Robert Swinston will honor Cunningham’s legacy with two masterworks performed by the dance company Swinston currently leads, Compagnie Centre National de Danse Contemporaine-Angers. Cunningham’s Beach Birds, premiered in 1991, transforms the movements of a flock of birds into dance, while BIPED, circa 1999, unites technology and performance by incorporating projections of animated images superimposed on dancers. Performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s “Merce Cunningham at 100” series. Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $25 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

Alfred Hitchcock

FOUR BY HITCHCOCK

The Smithsonian presents a quartet of Hitchcock classics, starting with one of the most ambitious and entertaining films of his career, North by Northwest, Saturday, Sept. 28, at 1:15 p.m. It’s followed by Psycho, at 3:40 p.m., which redefined horror for generations to come and made a star out of Tony Perkins. The next day, Sunday, Sept. 29, brings Dial M for Murder, in 3D, at 1:35 p.m., followed at 3:30 p.m. by one of cinema’s greatest films of all time, 1963’s The Birds. If you’ve never seen it on the screen with an audience, you’ve simply never seen this harrowing cautionary tale in which nature takes its rage out on humankind. The special effects alone, especially for the time, are astounding (the bird’s eye view of the burning gas station as flocks descend still boggles the mind). But pay close attention to that jungle gym scene — its construction is a master class in editing. The Birds and Northwest will be shown in 35mm, a rarity these days. The Warner Bros. Theater in the American History Museum, 1300 Constitution Ave. NW. Tickets are $12 plus fees for individual screenings, or $20 plus fees for both films each day. $29 plus fees for all four films. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.si.edu/theaters. —Randy Shulman

Folger Consort — Photo: Brittany Diliberto

FOLGER CONSORT: MUSIC FOR MACHIAVELLI

A true Renaissance man, Niccolò Machiavelli was a philosopher, diplomat, playwright, and composer. Of course, his chief legacy is in the realm of politics via the cunning theoretical ways and means he espoused. Yet the Folger Shakespeare Library’s early music ensemble naturally turns instead to his work as a composer, with a focus on the amusing music he created. Kicking off the Consort’s “Bella Italia” season is the program “Music for Machiavelli: Florence Circa 1500,” which features carnival songs Machiavelli wrote for the Medici family as well as music for his comedic stage play The Mandrake, plus works by his contemporaries including Francesco Bendusi, Josquin des Prez, and Heinrich Isaac. In addition to the Consort’s founders, Robert Eisenstein and Christopher Kendall, the concert features instrumentalists Larry Lipnik, Dan Meyers, Mark Rimple, and Mary Springfels, and soprano Emily Noël. Friday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 29, at 2 p.m. St. Mark’s, Capitol Hill, 301 A St. SE. Tickets are $42. Call 202-543-0053 or visit www.folger.edu.

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

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