Metro Weekly

Out on the Town: D.C. arts and entertainment highlights — Sept. 19-Oct. 2

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

Enter The Dragon



One of the largest festivals of its kind, the 16th annual DC Shorts International Film Festival and Screenplay Competition features more than 150 shorts running an average of 5 to 15 minutes in length apiece. The films are presented in 19 Official Selection Showcases and 11 Special Interest Showcases, all screening at the Landmark E Street Cinema. The festival concludes this Saturday, Sept. 28, with two Best of the Fest Showcase screenings at The Miracle Theatre. Individual Showcase tickets are $15. All Access Festival Passes are $140 and provide access to all showcases and the parties. Call 202-393-4266 or visit for more details.


The area’s two Angelika theaters launch another “Hitchcocktober” series of classics by the Master of Suspense, with screenings of this sophisticated thriller from 1954. Featuring unforgettable performances by Ray Milland and Grace Kelly, Dial M for Murder will be shown as it was originally filmed, in 3D. Hitchcock’s approach to 3D is decidedly non-sensational (apart from one of the most famous shots in his canon, during a brutal strangulation scene), and he deploys furniture and lamps to create a sense of depth. Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Also Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. Angelika Film Center – Mosaic, 2911 District Ave., Fairfax. Tickets are $10 athe Pop-Up, $14.50 at Mosaic. Call 800-680-9095 or visit


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


This weekend, the Smithsonian presents a quartet of Hitchcock classics, starting with one of the most blatantly entertaining films of his career, North by Northwest, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason, on 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. It’s still captivating, and Anthony Perkins gives a career-defining performance as Norman Bates, but it’s more of a curio, defined by its iconic shower scene, and even more iconic all-strings score by the great Bernard Herrmann. 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 bleak, harrowing cautionary tale in which nature takes its anger out on humankind. The special effects alone, especially for the time, are astounding (the bird’s eye view of the burning gas station as the flocks descend still boggles the mind). But pay close attention to that jungle gym scene — its construction is a master class in suspenseful 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


The AFI Silver Theatre presents one of North America’s largest and longest-running showcases of Latin American cinema, including films from Spain and Portugal. Now in its 30th year, the festival celebrates Ibero-American cultural connections during National Hispanic Heritage Month. The festival concludes on Wednesday, Oct. 2, with the world premiere of Days of Light, featuring the work of six promising young directors from across Central America, with stories seamlessly interwoven together for a moving, honest snapshot of life across the region. Tickets are $15 general admission and $13 for AFI Members, or $200 to $225 for an all-access “Pase Especial” allowing for priority access to every film in the festival, including opening and closing night and festival happy hours. 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Call 301-495-6700 or visit

Doubt — Photo: Teresa Wood



Each of the nine notorious killers and wanna-bes rounded up in Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical Assassins raises a pistol towards the audience in director Eric Schaeffer’s first-class production at Signature Theatre. The entire premise, the score, the costumes, and the performances of this Assassins teeter on a dagger’s edge between a morbid fascination with a killer’s mentality, and the cast’s mordant delivery. Schaeffer guides the company surely along the precarious edge, and, bolstered by music director Jon Kalbfleisch’s solid orchestra, the cast serves up Sondheim’s score with the right touch of showmanship to soften the show’s piercing blows. This winking production, Signature’s third mounting of Assassins, adroitly sidesteps partisan arguments by focusing on the impartial power of a gun to affect anybody (or any body). The joke and the truth of Sondheim and Weidman’s prescient ode to the power of one finger on the trigger is that the gun is the uncredited main character of Assassins. The show seems to suggest that the gun might be the principal character of American history, once all the ballads have been written. Closes Sunday, Sept. 29. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Avenue, Arlington. Tickets are $40 to $108. Call 703-820-9771, or visit (André Hereford)


Breaking Ground offers a musical theater production based on the real, complex, and unique life experiences shared by area LGBTQ-identified youth and young adults who participated in the organization’s summer theater program. Bigger Than Myself follows stories of young queer individuals of color navigating life and helping others with coming out, living with HIV, dealing with transphobia, sexual abuse, mental health challenges, addiction, and racism. Friday, Sept. 27, and Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, Lang Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $10 to $15. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Credit to a company that can pick up a show as familiar as Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret and produce a take as purposeful as director Alan Paul’s fresh staging at Olney Theatre. Well in tune with Joe Masteroff’s book for the show and Chris Youstra’s astute musical direction of an all-time great score, Paul locates potent, present-day context within the ’20s-set musical’s depiction of the looming, bitter reign of fascism. Practically combusting with chemistry, with fellow cast and the audience, Mason Alexander Park is an endless delight as the Kit Kat Klub’s provocative, gender-fluid Emcee. Leading the gender-fluid Kit Kat Girls and Boys, a winning ensemble, Park’s Emcee attacks Katie Spelman’s wonderful choreography with the gamine athleticism of a Johnny Weir, and a very similar fashion sense. To Oct. 6. 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Tickets are $42 to $99. Call 301-924-3400 or visit (AH)


The Washington Stage Guild launches its new season with an 1894 comedy by George Bernard Shaw. Candida questions Victorian notions of love and marriage, having the audacity to ask what a woman desires from her husband, and ultimately give a woman a choice between her husband, a preacher, and the poet who wants to woo her away. Laura Giannarelli directs Emelie Faith Thompson in the title role. Pay-what-you-can previews are Thursday, Sept. 26, through Saturday, Sept. 28. Opens Sunday, Sept. 29. Weekends to Oct. 20. Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 202-900-8788 or visit


Sarah Marshall anchors Studio Theatre’s new production of John Patrick Shanley’s 2004 Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece that tackles concepts of faith, ambiguity, and the price of moral conviction — and more specifically, the sexual abuse scandals that has rocked Catholics and the Catholic Church in recent decades. Set in 1964 at a Bronx Catholic school, Matt Torney directs a cast starring Marshall as Sister Aloysius and also featuring Christian Conn as Father Flynn, Amelia Pedlow as Sister James, and Tiffany M. Thompson as Mrs. Muller. To Oct. 6. Metheny Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit


In Caryl Churchill’s dark comedy, three old friends are joined by a neighbor to engage in amiable chitchat with a side of apocalyptic horror. Holly Twyford directs. In previews. Runs to Nov. 3. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit


Craig Wallace and Erika Rose star in one of August Wilson’s most famous and profound works, in a Ford’s Theatre production directed by Timothy Douglas, one of the foremost interpreters of Wilson’s work. Previews start Friday, Sept. 27. Runs through Oct. 27. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $52. Call 202-347-4833 or visit

GALA Hispanic Theatre: La Vida Es Sueño (Life Is a Dream) — Photo: Stan Weinstein


Hugo Medrano directs one of the essential works of Spanish Golden Age theater, Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s timeless play that explores free will, fate, and tyranny. Nando López adapted the work for a world-premiere production to kick off the 44th season of GALA Theatre. Daniel Alonso de Santos, Mel Rocher, and Soraya Padrao lead a cast of actors who will perform in Spanish with English surtitles. To Oct. 13. Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. Call 202-234-7174 or visit


ExPats Theatre presents a 60-minute work by Russian/Austrian writer Julya Rabinowich, in which three characters live in captivity, invisible to the world. There’s the female refugee, hiding underground for fear of deportation and traumatized by her cross-cultural journey, a kidnap victim locked in a basement at the mercy of her perpetrator, and a young man imprisoned in his own home due to the threat of blood-revenge against his family. Billed as a “thought-provoking production [that] opens our eyes to the plight of the marginalized, disposessed, and downtrodden.” Closes Sunday, Sept. 29. Lab Theatre 1, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


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

Folger Consort — Photo: Brittany Diliberto



A D.C. native and Howard University alum, the young jazz vocalist and composer blends traditional, modern, and African jazz styles while singing in the showy manner of many of today’s leading soul/pop divas. But she’s especially well-regarded for covering Nina Simone, and Allrich next performs renditions of beloved songs by that jazz iconoclast as well as South African powerhouse Miriam Makeba. The concert is her 11th Annual Nina Simone/Miriam Makeba Tribute, which comes as the culminating event in the Black Women, Arts, and Activism Festival, sponsored and hosted by the Atlas Performing Arts Center, also including an art exhibition, vendors, and a spirited panel discussion. Sunday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. Lang Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


James Ross conducts a season-opening concert exploring a theme of war and peace and commemorating the 75th anniversary year of World War II’s D-Day invasion. The program launches with the grandly spunky overture from Wagner’s only comedic opera, Die Meistersinger, followed by Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello and Piano in C Major featuring soloists Nicholas Tavani, Alan Richardson, and Rita Sloan, respectively. The program takes its name from a four-part symphony that Maestro Ross assembled using movements from four different works, across centuries and continents, offering depictions of pastoral beauty and peace juxtaposed with war and strife. This “Imaginary Symphony” is comprised of the first movement of William Walton’s Symphony No. 1, a dark and agitated work that foreshadowed World War II, the rather tranquil second movement to Amy Beach’s Gaelic Symphony and the bucolic prelude to Act 2 (“On The Cliffs of Cornwall”) of Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers, and the third movement of Arthur Honegger’s Symphony No. 3, which evokes armies marching to war that culminates in a call for peace. The program also includes a performance of Lionel Semiatin’s Tidbit #1, which was written from the battlefield at Normandy. Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center at Northern Virginia Community College, 3001 North Beauregard St., Alexandria. Tickets are $5 to $85. Call 703-548-0885 or visit


Four years ago, the artist born Ciara Princess Harris, one of pop music’s more underrated starlets and a natural successor to Janet Jackson, gave a dazzling performance at the Fillmore Silver Spring via her first headlining tour in six years. The “1, 2 Step” hit singer returns for another Saturday night outing — Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. — in the intimate venue, this time in support of her seventh album, Beauty Marks, featuring the hyper-fast club hit “Level Up” and the sweet mid-tempo R&B hit “Thinkin Bout You.” The tour is billed as “Ciara & Special Guests” — though whomever the guests might be joining her isn’t clear — and presented by Femme It Forward, a LiveNation series of female-curated shows spotlighting female artists. 8656 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $34. Call 301-960-9999 or visit


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


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 HairLa Cage Aux FollesShe 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


Dubbed “the queer Adele” by L-Mag, D.C.’s power-piped singer-songwriter Mae writes and performs earnest and affirming folk/pop music sharing personal stories and struggles, all with the intent of making “the world a better place.” Mae’s latest self-released collection, Glimmer, pivots on the theme of “feel to heal” through 11 songs exploring different facets of her identity as a young, queer, plus-sized, bipolar woman — including her #MeToo-inspired anthem “Warrior,” recorded with a large, all-female choir, and “You Are My Favorite,” a love song to her wife inspired by their recent wedding. Mae’s next local stop is a headlining show in the date-perfect Wine Garden at City Winery DC. Friday, Oct. 4. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $17 to $20. Call 202-250-2531 or visit


She scored two Grammy nominations earlier this year for her 2017 set Every Where Is Some Where and single “Blood in the Cut.” Now, the LGBTQ-identifying, L.A.-based alt-pop/hip-hop artist born Kristine Meredith Flaherty is already out promoting her follow-up, Solutions, also released on an Interscope Records imprint founded by Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons. Sunday, Sept. 29. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit


Livingston Taylor is the fourth of five in a family where pretty much everyone has worked as a musician or singer at some point and in some fashion — although none of them as famously as the second-born James. As it happens, James and Livingston work and perform together every now and then, and the two-years-older Taylor has even had a few hits with songs written by Liv, including “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman.” Taylor returns to the area to headline a festival that otherwise focuses on featuring “the best local folk musicians.” Presented by Key West Productions, the lineup this year also includes Dry Town, The Hazards, Lea and Keith Koan. Saturday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Frederick, Md. Tickets are $31.75 to $41.75 plus fees. Call 301-600-2828 or visit


Because of its de-facto status as one of Hollywood’s go-to classical works, even non-classical aficionados likely know “O fortuna,” the extravagantly dramatic and thundering opening number in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Next weekend, the National Symphony Orchestra offers the special treat of hearing the lively, dramatic cantata performed in full when it corrals a troupe of nearly 200 singers, including the esteemed 160-person Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Children’s Chorus of Washington, and three featured soloists: soprano Amy Owens, soprano, Elliot Madore, baritone, and Santiago Ballerini, the latter performing what is said to be one of the most difficult pieces in the tenor repertoire. The singers will be accompanied by the NSO’s 96-member orchestra under the baton of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda. In addition to the Orff classic, billed as a “symphonic experience sacred and profane,” the program also includes J. Higdon’s blue cathedral and Poulenc’s Litanies à la Vierge Noire. Following the first concert, on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m., comes a free AfterWords discussion featuring some of the guest artists and musicians and moderated by the NSO’s Nigel Boon. Additional performances Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $99. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The next vocal artist to get the Renée Fleming VOICES spotlight at the Kennedy Center is a MacArthur “Genius” Grantee and Nashville star, who got her start by helping showcase the black bluegrass tradition by co-founding the great group Carolina Chocolate Drops. Giddens will perform music from her latest album there is no Other, said to be “at once a condemnation of ‘othering’ and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.” She’ll be supported by Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m. Terrace Theater. Tickets are $39 to $59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Sheila E.


Sheila Escovedo came to fame more than three decades ago as Prince’s drummer, songwriter, musical director, and paramour. In recent years, Sheila E. has toured through the area with her electrifying solo show featuring her Latin-flavored soul/pop hits (“The Glamorous Life,” “Love Bizarre”) as well as the hits-that-should-have-been — with a focus on songs from 2013’s Icon. Her first studio album in 13 years, Icon fully displays the artist’s skill at songcraft and prowess in percussion, even the vocal kind known as beatboxing, per the impressive, all-vocal track “Don’t Make Me (Bring My Timbales Out).” Her timbales will definitely be out and used to full effect in her return to the Howard Theatre next weekend. Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $49.50 to $79.50, plus $10 minimum per person for all tables. Call 202-588-5595 or visit


This nine-member, D.C.-based ensemble focuses on “keeping folk music alive and fresh” — yet also connected to its roots in political protest. The weekend of Trump’s Inauguration, for example, they put together “Songs of Protest, Songs of Triumph,” a program of folk standards that had galvanized activists in earlier times of struggle. Here’s to the group keeping up that fight by maintaining their level of quality musicianship and signature soaring harmonies, which have been known to inspire sing-alongs. Who could argue with that? Sunday, Sept. 29. Doors at 5 p.m. Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 day-of. Call 703-255-3747 or visit


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


The brassy, bisexual cabaret performer who moonlights as a featured vocalist with Pink Martini returns to Maryland’s Amp by Strathmore for another no-holds-barred evening of humor and music. “I have no mouth cap,” Large said to Metro Weekly a few years ago. “When I talk, sometimes it’s dirty; I’m not that kind of girl who’ll just put on a pretty dress and sing.” Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. 11810 Grand Park Ave. in North Bethesda. Remaining tickets are $35 to $45. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


It’s been 24 years since Donna Dresch, Jody Bleyle, Kaia Wilson, and Marcéo Martinez teamed up for Personal Best, the debut record from the Riot Grrrl-influenced queercore punk band out of Portland, Oregon. Team Dresch brings their harmonious musical chemistry and queercore spirit to D.C. to headline a concert also featuring a North Carolina band and a queer Chicago-born performance art duo. Sunday, Sept. 29. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-667-4490 or visit


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. Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Frederick, Md. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 301-600-2828 or visit


Formed 50 years ago in Bethesda, the progressive bluegrass band remains especially popular in its hometown region. The group returns to Alexandria’s seated show palace for one of three more shows in 2019 alone, including a concert to do the honors of ringing in the New Year. The September gig is another co-headlining show with a Virginia-reared veteran folk sessions musician who has also dabbled as an actor on Broadway (Pump Boys and Dinettes) and in film, most notably the 2008 romcom The Golden Boys. Friday, Sept. 27, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit


Led by married couple Lynn Veronneau and Ken Avis, the Wammie-winning international jazz fusion quartet — also featuring David Rosenblatt and Bruno Lucini — returns to Blues Alley to record a live album in the legendary Georgetown jazz club. Expect a multilingual, multi-genre cabaret featuring many originals and standards drawn from Veronneau’s third studio album Love & Surrender, released last year, which added the French accordion, the traditional Senegalese kora, fusion violin, and a touch of harmonica and electric guitar to the band’s traditional base of virtuoso jazz vocals, spry string guitars, and lilting drums. Monday, Sept. 30, at 8 and 10 p.m. 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $31, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit

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



Estela Velez de Paredez founded the Furia Flamenca Dance Company 16 years ago, with a focus on combining flamenco’s gypsy heritage with modern flamenco choreography to produce an elegant balance of motion and energy. Cafe Flamenco features performances by dancers with the company, a legacy resident entity of Joy of Motion Dance Center, accompanied by guitarist Torcuato Zamora. Saturday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 6, at 5 p.m. Lab Theatre II in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $25 to $40. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


The Kennedy Center opens its contemporary dance season with a program celebrating Merce Cunningham, a founder of modern dance who died a decade ago at age 90. 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 (see separate listing under Above & Beyond). Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4, at 8 p.m. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $25 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

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. The festival runs 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 for full schedule and more information.


A showcase of talent from right in our own backyard, the latest show from this Maryland-based company features Robert Mac, Sean Savoy, and Ali Cherry. Saturday, Sept. 28, at 8 and 10 p.m. Cissel-Saxon American Legion Post 41, 8110 Fenton St., Silver Spring. Tickets are $16 to $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. Call 301-588-8937 or visit


A graduate of Georgetown University and one of the most famous alumni from its Georgetown Players Improv Troupe, Birbiglia has increasingly been making his name in scripted film and TV work. In addition to writing and directing 2012’s Sleepwalk With Me and 2016’s Don’t Think Twice, Birbiglia has acted in supporting roles in everything from Trainwreck to Orange Is the New Black.

The comedian returns to D.C. to kick off a four-city tour and open a new season at the National Theatre with his latest stand-up show, which just wrapped a Broadway run. Remaining shows are Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 29, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $39 to $114, or $25 through a lottery of 20 seats starting two hours before each performance. Call 202-628-6161 or visit


Yet another renowned improv troupe out of Chicago, this one focused on creating a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style based on one audience suggestion: a title for a play that has yet to be written. The play then develops as if it were springing forth from Shakespeare’s pen whole cloth, taking the form of a tragedy, history or a comedy, depending on where the improvisers’ minds wander. But no matter how serious it might get, there’s guaranteed to be plenty of laughs and hysterical hijinks from this company that the New York Times says will make you “laugh your iams off,” as in iambic pentameter. Performances begin Tuesday, Oct. 1. Run to Oct. 6. Kennedy Center Family Theater. Tickets are $39 to $49. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

Oysterfest — Legal Sea Foods



Maryland’s lesbian-owned brewery hosts its 5th annual festival celebrating the unique style of wild and sour brews — from briny goses to barnyardy brett beers. Held in the upper taproom and outdoor beer garden in Denizens’ original Silver Spring location, the fest features a suitably funky mix of music spun by DJ Kenny M., plus a special food menu, in addition to the tastings of dozens of funky beers from more than 30 craft breweries, most of them local. Among this year’s participating breweries in addition to Denizens: 3 Stars, ANXO, Bluejacket, Red Bear, and Right Proper from D.C.; The Brewer’s Art, Flying Dog, Manor Hill, Union Craft, and Waredaca from Maryland; and Black Narrows from Virginia. Saturday, Sept. 28, from 1 to 5 p.m. 1115 East-West Highway, Silver Spring. Tickets are $62 online or $75 at the door (if available) and include fees, a souvenir tasting glass, unlimited sample pours, “and all the TUMS you could hope for.” Call 301-557-9818 or visit


Once again two area outposts of the Massachusetts-based seafood chain celebrates all things bivalves. Fried oysters are available in the following styles, priced at three for $12: Buffalo with blue cheese, celery hearts, and radish; BBQ with coleslaw and BBQ mayo; Sriracha Lime with roasted corn salsa and crispy shallots; or as an “Oyster BLT” with chipotle mayo. Baked Oysters (three for $14) are prepared as a Lobster Spinach Oyster bake with cheese and herbed crumbs; Oyster Scampi with shrimp, garlic butter, and white wine; Crab & Cheese Oyster with Jonah crab, horseradish, cheddar, and cream cheese; or Scallop Mushroom Oyster with Romano, truffle oil, and tarragon. A variety of oysters will also be available raw, served on the half shell, with selections and prices changing daily depending on what’s available. Wash it all down with this year’s official festival drink, the Deadrise, a $12 concoction of Tito’s Handmade vodka, muddled cucumber, lime, and grapefruit bitters. Available at lunch and dinner daily now through Oct. 9. Two area locations: 704 7th St. NW (202-347-0007) and 320 23rd St. S., Crystal City, Va. (703-415-1200). Visit

You Light Up My Life — By Kathy Turner



Tasked by Andy Warhol to make a “floating light bulb,” engineer Billy Klüver developed what the two dubbed “Silver Clouds,” made of helium and oxygen-filled metalized plastic film and presented as part of an interactive installation combining art and technology in which the viewer becomes part of the exhibit. The Kennedy Center currently has the “Silver Clouds” on display as part of its “Merce Cunningham at 100” series. The late, gay modern dance pioneer incorporated Warhol’s clouds into one of his iconic works, 1968’s RainForest. Visitors can view and play with the clouds and also watch a videotaped performance of the Cunningham choreography. On display Wednesday, Oct. 2. To Saturday, Oct. 5. Studio J. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


For its latest group exhibition, Alexandria’s quirky Del Ray Artisans Gallery invited its member artists to explore humanity’s hopes, despairs, and prejudices in metaphoric ways that go beyond what could be seen on conventional TV. In other words, to create works of art or photography influenced or inspired by or referencing the classic scifi TV show that first started exploring another dimension 60 years ago this year. Opening Reception is Friday, Oct. 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. On display to Oct. 27. 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria. Call 703-731-8802 or visit


A contemporary response to a tradition dating to the 17th century of creating scenic or architectural centerpieces crafted out of sugar and porcelain, this Dutch artist alters course by depicting an epic battle. The remarkable ceramic centerpiece features seven sculptural vignettes, using thousands of white porcelain fragments, plus sugar and even pieces of plastic toys, all set up on Hillwood’s grand dining table. Now to April 5. Hillwood Estate, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Suggested donation is $18. Call 202-686-5807 or visit


An artistic celebration of all bodies and resilience, Inspired Bodies is a show featuring works by local artists who self-identify with a disability, including curators Alice Gardner-Bates and Metro Weekly contributor Hannah Chertock. The artworks in the multimedia exhibit were either inspired or influenced by physical or mental disability, chronic illness, or pain. Opening Night reception with selected artists is Friday, Sept. 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. On display to Oct. 31. Maryland Meadworks, 4700 Rhode Island Ave. Ste. B, Hyattsville, Md. Call 301-955-9644 or visit


Through nearly 40 works of painted porcelain and glass, as well as two large sculptures, famed artist and feminist icon Judy Chicago reflects on her own mortality while appealing for compassion and justice for all earthly creatures affected by human greed. The National Museum of Women in the Arts is the first venue to feature this new series, executed in the bold graphic style that has become Chicago’s hallmark — stark images as a visceral antidote to a culture that prizes youth and beauty, and often ignores the suffering of other creatures. Grouped into three sections, The End features works that personify the five stages of grief, ruminates about the artist’s own demise, and offers a visual catalog of species endangered by the action, or inaction, of humans. Now to Jan. 20. 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is $10. Call 202-783-5000 or visit


An expansive, site-specific installation featuring 10 new sculptures from the celebrated Korean artist, who is primarily based in Japan, marks the first time the Hirshhorn’s large outdoor plaza features large-scale sculpture created by a single artist for the museum. The largest single outdoor sculpture project in the U.S. as well as the first exhibition of his work in the nation’s capital, Open Dimension — part of Ufan’s Relatum series — presents works that respond to the museum’s unique architecture while also juxtaposing contrasting materials — such as stainless steel plates and boulders — to heighten awareness of the world. A complementary installation of the artist’s abstract Dialogue paintings is also on view in the museum’s third-floor galleries until March 2020. Opens Friday, Sept. 27, with an Autumn Evenings reception from 5 to 8:30 p.m., including cash bar, plus small bites and gelato available from the onsite Dolcezza Pop-Up. On display to Sept. 13, 2020. Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit


A celebration of D.C.-based artists Courtney Kolker, Susan Goldman, and Jordann Wine in their gallery debuts. Now to Oct. 27. Long View Gallery, 1234 9th St. NW. Call 202-232-4788 or visit


Named after a Bethesda, Md., community leader and arts advocate, the Trawick Prize, established in 2003, was one of the first regional competitions and largest prizes to honor visual artists. Works by the eight finalists for the 2019 competition factor into an exhibition presented by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District. Oletha DeVane of Ellicott City, Md., was named the 2019 Trawick Prize Best in Show Winner and given $10,000 for her painted container featuring a life-size silhouette of a crouching Henry “Box” Brown, an enslaved man who escaped Virginia in 1849 by having himself shipped to Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Mojdeh Rezaiepour of D.C. earned $2,000 and the honor of Second Place, Renée Rendine of Towson, Md., nabbed $1,000 and Third Place, and Monroe Isenberg of D.C. was named the Young Artist Winner. Also represented in the exhibition are Stephanie Benassi of Linden, Va., Hoesy Corona and Anne Clare Rogers, both of Baltimore, and Muriel Hasbun of Silver Spring. Closes Sept. 28. Gallery B, 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E, Bethesda. Call 301-215-7990 or visit


The American suffragist movement’s most influential leaders — Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton among them — are, of course, prominently featured in this special exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Yet Votes for Women takes pains to shine a spotlight on the many lesser-known, or at least less-heralded, women and organizations — many of them African-American — who helped advance the voting cause in tandem with efforts to abolish slavery, fight racism, or promote civil rights. Such a list includes Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lucy Stone of the American Woman Suffrage Association, and Mary Church Terrell, founder of the National Association of Colored Women. Now to Jan. 5. 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit

Rayceen Pendarvis — Photo: Julian Vankim



A local actor offers the guided tour Investigation: Detective McDevitt, portraying Detective James McDevitt, a D.C. police officer patrolling a half-block from Ford’s Theatre the night President Lincoln was shot. Written by Richard Hellesen and directed by Mark Ramont, the 1.6-mile walking tour revisits and reexamines the sites and clues from the investigation into the assassination. Tours are offered approximately three evenings a week at 6:45 p.m. Ford’s Theatre, 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $17. Call 202-397-7328 or visit


The first week of October the Kennedy Center hosts a multi-disciplinary series of events honoring the centennial of the late modern dance legend — in addition to a centerpiece dance program led by Cunningham’s protégé Robert Swinston (see separate listing under Dance). The schedule includes: “John Cage: Music for Merce,” a one-night-only performance by avant-garde pianist and renowned Cage interpreter Margaret Leng Tan, showcasing nine works that Cage wrote in the 1940s for Cunningham, his longtime partner, that Tan will play on toy and prepared pianos, on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m., in the REACH’s Skylight Pavilion; “Cunningham on Film,” a two-hour cinematic display of four short works either created for camera or captured on film, culminating in Daniel Madoff’s short doc Merce 100, on Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., on the REACH’s Video Wall; and “Let’s Talk Dance: The Artistic Process and Celebrations of Merce Cunningham,” a conversation led by Swinston on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m., in the REACH’s Justice Forum. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


As summer nears its end, thoughts naturally turn to jousting, feasting, crafts, theater, music, and merriment. Yes, it’s time once 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 $23 to $27; passes range from $41 for a 2-Day Pass to $160 for a Season Pass. Call 800-296-7304 or visit

THE ASK RAYCEEN SHOW: RAYCEEN’S GAME NIGHT: CELEBRITY CHARADES For the latest edition of the monthly show, Rayceen Pendarvis hosts a night of games with special guests, plus live music in the Listening Lounge by Deborah Bond, guest DJ MIM, and announcer Anthony Oakes. The evening also includes interviews with guests, a cash bar, free catered food for early arrivals, vendors, and a “free table” featuring new and gently used items, donated by attendees and ranging from books and CDs/DVDs, to office supplies and home decor, to apparel and accessories. Wednesday, Oct. 2. Doors at 6 p.m. HRC Equality Center, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Free. 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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