MIDDLEBURG FILM FESTIVAL
Held in a picturesque town in Virginia’s horse and wine country, the Middleburg Film Festival, founded by BET co-founder Sheila C. Johnson, offers a mix of independent features, documentaries, and Oscar contenders, including several submissions for Best Foreign Language Film. The festival opens Thursday, Oct. 17, with Marriage, Noah Baumbach’s deeply personal film about the pain of divorce starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. The 7th annual festival will also honor Terence Blanchard, the six-time Grammy-winning trumpeter and Oscar-nominated film scorer with the Distinguished Composer Award, culminating in a concert featuring Blanchard’s quintet E-Collective, and a 35-piece orchestra. Oscar-nominated scribe Anthony McCarten will collect the Distinguished Screenwriter Award for his work on festival selection The Two Popes, starring Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins as Popes Francis and Benedict. Other highlights among the 34 films screening include Harriet, starring Cynthia Erivo as iconic American freedom fighter Harriet Tubman; The Capote Tapes, Ebs Burnough’s documentary with never-before-heard audio interviews capturing “the rise and fall of America’s most iconic gay writer”; A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers; and Honey Boy, the tale of a self-destructive child acting star directed by Alma Har’el and based on the experiences of Shia LaBeouf. The festival closes on Sunday, Oct. 20, with The Irishman, an epic saga about organized crime in post-war America from Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. The festival is held at The Salamander Resort & Spa. Tickets are $10 to $25 per screening. Call 540-751-3160 or visit www.middleburgfilm.org.
Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon make out in this horror flick about a love triangle that develops among Sarandon, a scientist, and Deneuve and David Bowie, a vampire couple. The 1983 “post-modernist vampire film” is known for its stylish recasting of “vampirism in bisexual terms, drawing on the tradition of the lesbian vampire” (in the words of critic Elaine Showalter) and is also the feature-length directorial debut of Tony Scott, the late brother of Ridley and who went on to make Top Gun and create a blockbuster star out of Tom Cruise. Part of Landmark’s West End Cinema’s Capital Classics series. Wednesday, Oct. 23, 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.
THE LADY VANISHES
The area’s two Angelika theaters offer another “Hitchcocktober,” with screenings of classics by the Master of Suspense, including this early mystery thriller. Margaret Lockwood stars as a young English tourist in continental Europe who sets off an international incident when she tries to track down an elderly woman who has disappeared from the train. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m. Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market, 550 Penn St. NE. Also Thursday, Oct. 24, 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 www.AngelikaFilmCenter.com.
Scary movie season kicks off with one of the most acclaimed horror films in recent memory. Robert Eggers’ black-and-white film about two lighthouse keepers who slowly lose their sanity and become threatened by their worst nightmares has been showered with praise by critics, including Eggers direction and story, as well as Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson’s performances. If you’re looking to get suitably spooked, book your tickets now. Opens Friday, Oct. 18. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (Rhuaridh Marr)
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP
Ten years after horror-comedy Zombieland opened to critical and commercial success, the gang reunites for a sequel. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Bill Murray all return, as do director Ruben Fleischer and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. A rift in the makeshift family causes Little Rock (Breslin) to leave with a strange man, forcing the others to head out and find her — and face new zombies and survivors along the way. Opens Friday, Oct. 18. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com. (RM)
Day of Absence — Photo: Manaf Azzam
The true stories of seven women from around the globe who bravely fought to create real and lasting change in their communities are shared through this theatrical work, a documentary play developed by seven noteworthy playwrights for L.A. Theatre Works. The playwrights — Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith, and Susan Yankovitz — collaborated to fashion a tapestry of poignant stories relaying the struggles, threats, and violence along the road to triumph for the play’s lead female characters, who come from Pakistan, Nigeria, Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, and Cambodia. Alexis Jacknow directs Seven on a season-long national tour to theaters primarily located on college campuses, including a one-night-only stop at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University. Friday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. The Concert Hall at 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $26 to $44. Call 888-945-2468 or visit www.cfa.gmu.edu.
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. Weekends through 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 www.stageguild.org.
DAY OF ABSENCE
White citizens in a sleepy southern town are forced to recognize the value and vitality their African-American neighbors offer them one random day when they mysteriously disappear. Raymond O. Caldwell and Angelisa Gillyard direct a Theater Alliance retelling of a “reverse minstrel show” that Douglas Turner Ward originally created in 1965, one billed as a comedic and pointed commentary on systemic racism that is sadly still relevant today. Jared Shamberger leads a 10-member cast as the town’s mayor in the 90-minute, intermissionless play. To Nov. 3. Anacostia Playhouse, 2020 Shannon Place SE. Tickets are $25 to $40, except for at least 10 Name-Your-Own-Price seats up for grabs one hour before each show. Call 202-241-2539 or visit www.theateralliance.com.
The Native American heroine Pocahontas has “come back to life to set the record straight” in the subversive, feminist-minded musical written and composed by Dennis T. Giacino. Cinderella, Snow White, the Little Mermaid, and Tiana (Disney’s first black princess) also make an appearance in this satirical take on Disney princesses, all portrayed with human faults and foibles. Matt Conner directs the Creative Cauldron production. To Oct. 27. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. in Falls Church. Tickets are $20 to $35, or $100 for the Gala. Call 703-436-9948 or visit www.creativecauldron.org.
DOUBT: A PARABLE
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. Extended to Oct. 20. Metheny Theatre, 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.
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. To Nov. 3. Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
Everybody — Photo: Tony Powell
The Shakespeare Theatre Company offers a radical adaptation of the 15th-century morality play Everyman by Obie- and MacArthur “Genius” Award-winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon). In his revamped and rechristened Everybody, Death (Nancy Robinette) pays a visit to the overly optimistic and sanguine titular character to help knock some realistic sense into them. Everybody will be played by anybody and somebody among the other nine members of the cast, chosen at random, by lottery live on stage before every performance. Will Davis directs the resulting “irreverent, rollicking” comedy also touted as remixing “the archetypal medieval morality play into an explosive experiment of wit and emotion.” In previews. To Nov. 17. Lansburgh Theatre, 450 7th St. NW. Call 202-547-1122 or visit www.shakespearetheatre.org.
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. To Oct. 27. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $52. Call 202-347-4833 or visit www.fords.org.
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
The zany American sci-fi musical comedy, from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, concerns a nerdy floral shop employee and hi wisecracking carnivorous plant who chews more than the scenery. Puppet designer Matthew Aldwin McGee is tasked, with puppeteer Rj Pavel, with bringing full, menacing life the bloodthirsty Audrey II, with Marty Austin Lamar providing the plant’s soulful voice. Christian Montgomery leads the human cast as Seymour, the unlikely hero infatuated with his coworker Audrey (Teresa Quigley Danskey). Nick Martin directs. In previews. To Nov. 17. Source Theatre, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $19 to $55, plus fees. Call 202-204-7741 or visit www.constellationtheatre.org.
In 1905, Jay “The Sport” Jackson dreams of becoming the first African American boxer to fight for the heavyweight championship — yet even with his string of knockout victories, the odds are stacked against him outside the ring, with the even bigger fight against entrenched racial segregation and pronounced white preudice. Paige Hernandez directs a co-production from Olney Theatre Company and 1st Stage of Tyson’s Corner of Marco Ramirez’s play, a 90-minute, intermission-less work starring Jaysen Wright the character inspired by the real-life boxer Jack Johnson. To Oct. 27. Mulitz-Gudelsky Theatre Lab, 2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Olney, Md. Call 301-924-3400 or visit www.olneytheatre.org.
Synetic Theater kicks off its 19th season by reprising its splashy, cinematic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s shipwrecked classic from 2013. In the physical theater troupe’s hands, The Tempest is a speech-free yet water-full production, since it comes as part of the company’s signature “wordless Shakespeare” series and features a 1,200-square-foot pool, filled with roughly 3,000 gallons of water, that takes center stage. In fact, the first three rows of seats are designated as a splash zone, with “ponchos provided.” The troupe’s co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili will splish-splash, dance, and jump around as the sea storm-stirring Prospera. To Oct. 20. 1800 South Bell St., Arlington. Call 800-494-8497 or visit www.synetictheater.org.
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.
WEST BY GOD
Two families grapple with issues of grief and love, memory and identity, in a new play set in a small Appalachian town and written by West Virginia native Brandon McCoy. Jeremy Skidmore directs a world-premiere production for Keegan Theatre of a show billed as “a funny, heartwarming, and gut-wrenchingly honest examination of the divide between urban and rural America, and the kinds of prejudice and intolerance too often left unchallenged in our society.” To Oct. 20. 1742 Church St. NW. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com.
Kathy Mattea — Photo: Reto Sterchi
The Canadian starlet and 2018 Best New Artist Grammy recipient returns to the area more than a year after taking the Capital Pride stage for a showcase of her confident, R&B-steeped pop music. The concert will no doubt focus on her accomplished sophomore album The Pains of Growing, as well as her strong, just-released EP, This Summer. A singer-songwriter who first drew attention with “Here,” an anthem for introverts and the non-partying, sober-minded kind everywhere, Cara has released single after single that share astute, self-aware, and self-affirming messages, from last year’s “Trust My Lonely” to 2016’s “Scars To Your Beautiful” and “Wild Things,” with the latter’s alternative-embracing lyrics making it a credible LGBTQ anthem. Saturday, Oct. 26. Doors at 6 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $40 to $175. Call 202-888-0020 or visit www.theanthemdc.com.
A multi-Grammy-winning singing pianist/composer from Brazil, Elias has the kind of elegant, unassuming singing voice, a little unpolished, that has come to characterize bossa nova ever since Astrud Gilberto’s days. Elias returns on a tour in support of her new Concord Jazz release Love Stories, a rich orchestral ode to romance and classic love songs that is primarily sung in English. Friday, Oct. 25. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $60. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.
It’s been almost a decade since this socially active, straight neo-soul singer headlined the Capital Pride Women’s Pride Concert, followed by a slot at the 2011 Capital Jazz Fest. The striking Oakland, Calif.-based artist, who Rolling Stone once said sounds like “the spiritual love child of Sade and D’Angelo,” returns to the area on a tour supporting her most recent release, 2017’s Dreamseeker EP. Carolyn Malachi opens. Thursday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $45. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com.
A charming indie-pop singer-songwriter, Michaelson has spent the better part of her career baring her heart and soul in song, with lyrics often tackling head-on issues of personal and familial sickness, death, and divorce. Yet that’s not at all the case with the New York native’s newest collection, Stranger Songs, an album featuring original tracks inspired by, yet independent from, the Netflix sci-fi/horror drama Stranger Things. Michaelson refers to the show as a form of escapism for her. By extension, that’s also true of her new album, since this one was written from the perspectives of characters and others, and not from her own. For added levity, she also included some “Easter eggs” inspired by the show, hidden from plain sight — or first listen — and intended to reward those fans paying closer attention. Maddie Poppe, last year’s winner of American Idol, opens. Wednesday, Oct. 23. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $55. Call 202-328-6000 or visit thelincolndc.com.
After signing his first record deal as a teenager with British record producer Clive Caulder’s Jive Records, Butler’s premier single became the first by a black artist to be played on white radio stations in South Africa. That early success was his ticket out of the apartheid country. The R&B/jazz guitarist and vocalist now lives in Southern California. Thursday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Oct. 27, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Blues Alley, 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Tickets are $50, plus $12 minimum purchase. Call 202-337-4141 or visit www.bluesalley.com.
The Grammy-winning Nashville hitmaker from the ’80s and ’90s has since gone in a more folk and roots-driven direction, with a more socially conscious bent, including covering classic songs about coal-mining and other land-related pursuits in Appalachia. The West Virginia native returns to the area where she has long been a popular draw. Saturday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m. Weinberg Center for the Arts, 20 W. Patrick St. Frederick, Md. Tickets are $20.50 to $37.50. Call 301-600-2828 or visit www.weinbergcenter.org.
Two decades after her first hit “I Try,” Gray continues to record and perform a distinctive blend of R&B, pop, funk, and jazz. And currently she’s focused on a tour to celebrate a 20-year repertoire that includes current single “Buddha,” drawn from Ruby, her tenth full-length album, released last fall. Wednesday, Oct. 23. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. Tickets are $40 to $45, plus $10 minimum per person for all tables. Call 202-588-5595 or visit www.thehowardtheatre.com.
The soul-singing Broadway veteran, winner of the Tony for her role in The Wiz, returns to the Birchmere for another year and another two-night weekend run performing hits from her repertoire that goes well beyond The Wiz‘s “Home.” Mills’ hits in the 1980s include “Never Knew Love Like This Before,” “I Feel Good All Over,” and “If I Were Your Woman.” Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $89.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com.
Tom Goss — Photo: Daren Cornell
The former D.C.-based troubadour, who now lives in L.A., returns for a concert focused on the tender folk/pop balladeer’s seventh full-length album. According to the official bio, Territories “tells the complex story of a changing marriage and emerging relationship through songs named after the places that inspired them” — and which were visited on separate trips over the past year with Goss’ husband and a new lover. The self-identified “polyamorous gay musician” tours with two fellow queer indie singer-songwriters — Nakia, an Austin-based bluesy rock artist and seminfinalist from the first season of NBC’s The Voice, and Goss’ longtime collaborator Liz DeRoche, another former local artist now based in California. Saturday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. MilkBoy ArtHouse, 7416 Baltimore Ave., College Park, Md. Tickets are $12 to $30. Call 240-623-1423 or visit www.milkboyarthouse.com.
WASHINGTON CONSERVATORY: RECITAL WITH NSO PRINCIPALS
The celebrated Brahms Horn Trio is the focus of a Conservatory Concerts series recital featuring Abel Pereira, the principal horn player with the National Symphony Orchestra, Nurit Bar-Josef, the violinist who has served as the NSO’s longtime Concertmaster, and Audrey Andrist, acclaimed pianist and piano teacher. Rounding out the program are additional works for horn and piano by Eugene Bozza, Paul Dukas, and Olivier Messiaen, plus Brahms’ Intermezzo in A Major for solo piano. The concert will be followed by an informal Wine & Words Q&A featuring the performers and complimentary beverages. Saturday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. Westmoreland Congregational Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle. Bethesda. Suggested donation of $20. Call 301-320-2770 or visit www.washingtonconservatory.org.
WNO’S DOMINGO-CAFRITZ YOUNG ARTIST PROGRAM
The young artists from the Washington National Opera will take to the Millennium Stage for a free preview of musical highlights from the first two works of the company’s new season. The focus is on the final masterpieces from two of the genre’s greatest composers — Othello by Verdi and The Magic Flute by Mozart — which range from monumental Shakespearean tragedy to mythical, magical comedy. Monday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
ANN SOFIE CLEMMENSEN: IN TO AND OUT OF
Through the Local Dance Commissioning Project, the Kennedy Center helps support the local dance scene and nurture the creation of new works from local choreographers, which are then performed for free as part of the Millennium Stage programming. The latest work in the series transports audiences to three different spaces of the REACH, the arts institution’s expansive new addition, using unique characteristics of each location to explore concepts in pattern and timing, light and dark, and limitation and transformation. In all, 20 dancers will perform Clemmensen’s In To And Out Of Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
An ensemble of 40 circus artists and acrobats from China’s northern Hebei Province come to town for a colorful and lively celebration of the world-famous Chinese circus arts. Blending ancient artistry with breathtaking energy for a show that thrills those of all ages and includes acrobatics, contortion tricks, juggling acts, and balancing feats. Saturday, Oct. 19, at 2 and 8 p.m. Concert Hall in the GMU Center for the Arts, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $35 to $55. Call 888-945-2468 or visit www.cfa.gmu.edu. Also Thursday, Oct. 24, at 8 p.m. Merchant Hall in the Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va. Tickets are $29 to $48. Call 703-993-7759 or visit www.hyltoncenter.org.
MANASSAS BALLET THEATRE: JAZZ IN MOTION
The largest professional dance company in Northern Virginia with its roster of 25 full-time dancers, the Manassas Ballet opens a new season with works in movement set to contemporary and classic jazz tunes per a collaboration with the Kim Reynolds Band and vocalist Mark Luna. Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 20, at 3 p.m. Merchant Hall in the Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va. Tickets are $30 to $70. Call 703-993-7759 or visit www.hyltoncenter.org.
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE LIVE! 2019
The hit Fox TV reality competition series offers its traditional postseason tour with the Top 10 finalists from Season 16, led by winner Bailey Muñoz and runner-up Mariah Russell. Directed by Raj Kapoor with Rita Maye Bland, the live show will feature the season’s most-popular routines plus original pieces created specifically for the tour, overseen by Mandy Moore, the show’s star choreographer. In addition to the Top 10, the lineup will also feature two of the show’s All-Stars: Lauren Froderman, winner of Season 7, and Cyrus “Glitch” Spencer, finalist from Season 9. Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Merchant Hall, Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va. Tickets are $45 to $100. Call 703-993-7759 or visit www.hyltoncenter.org. Also Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. The Theater, 7100 Harborview Ave., Oxon Hill, Md. Tickets are $48 to $158. Call 844-346-4664 or visit www.mgmnationalharbor.com.
Bianca Del Rio — Photo: Ren Koala
BIANCA DEL RIO: IT’S JESTER JOKE
With his Joan Rivers-influenced drag comedy persona, Roy Haylock became the season six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race five years ago. That influential TV show further propelled the self-proclaimed “clown in a gown” to the drag top tier, as signified by Del Rio’s placement at the very top of New York magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Drag Queens in America” list this past June. The onetime Capital Pride headliner returns to D.C. as part of a tour this fall touted as “the biggest-ever solo drag stand-up comedy tour in North America.” Expect a night of irreverent, side-splitting comedy from the quick-witted and perceptive cultural observer. Friday, Oct. 18. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $39.50 to $199. Call 202-888-0050 or visit www.thelincolndc.com.
Vulture, MSN, and Time Out are just three media outlets to have heralded Arguello as one of the top, young female comics working today — one already known in Los Angeles as host and booker of the weekly Women Crush Wednesdays comedy show. Avid TV viewers anywhere, meanwhile, may be familiar with her from her recurring appearances on Comedy Central’s @midnight, or from her guest stand-up set during a recent episode of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens. Born in California to parents who emigrated from El Salvador, Arguello styles herself as “sexually and ethnically ambiguous,” and her comedy routine tackles issues related to race, gender, politics, pop culture, and music — including impersonations of Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, among others. Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at 7 and 9 p.m. Drafthouse Comedy, 1100 13th St. NW. Tickets are $20. Call 202-750-6411 or visit www.drafthousecomedy.com.
THE BENTZEN BALL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Lesbian comedian Tig Notaro returns to curate the 10th annual “comedy and friendship” event presented by Brightest Young Things with support from Events DC, with José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen as this year’s nonprofit partner. Things kick-off on Wednesday, Oct. 23, with a free, pre-festival event in the POV Lounge in the W Hotel DC: “Comedy In The District: A Conversation,” a discussion with panelists including Matthew Winer of the Kennedy Center, Sean Joyce of Underground Comedy, Allyson Jaffe of the DC Improv, pop culture writer Rudi Greenberg, and Svetlana Legetic of BYT/Bentzen Ball, with Brandon Wetherbee of BYT as moderator. The ball officially launches Thursday, Oct. 24, with two back-to-back programs at Bentzen HQ the Lincoln Theatre (1215 U St. NW): An Evening with Maria Bamford, and Los Espookys Live, featuring the creators and stars of that HBO show, Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, along with Lorelei Ramirez and Greta Titelman, billed as “A Bentzen Ball Pre-Halloween Show” where costumes are encouraged. Tickets are $25 to $40 per show. Visit www.brightestyoungthings.com/bentzen-ball for a full schedule.
Neil Degrass Tyson — Photo: Thor Nielsen / NTNU via Wikipedia
MAULIK PANCHOLY: THE BEST AT IT
Pancholy is an actor known for his supporting work on hit TV shows 30 Rock and Weeds, not to mention occasional roles in stage productions at Shakespeare Theatre Company and Studio Theatre. At the moment, however, Pancholy’s focus is in promoting his publishing debut, a tender and humorous book intended for young readers aged 10 to 14. The Best At It tells a story, with shades of autobiography, of an anxious, awkward gay Indian-American teen who feels rather hemmed in by societal and cultural traditions, expectations, and limitations. Perhaps he would be best served, the boy reasons, by heeding his grandfather’s advice to channel his energies into becoming “the best” at something, anything. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 10:30 a.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit www.politics-prose.com.
NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON: LETTERS FROM AN ASTROPHYSICIST
Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist for his fascinating, accessible, and passionate explanations and insights into his particular field essentially sticks to his patented script with his latest book. A follow-up to 2017’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Letters From An Astrophysicist goes deeper and gets more candid and heartfelt with its focus on a handpicked assortment of correspondence with people soliciting Tyson’s answers to questions about science, faith, philosophy, the meaning of life — and, of course, Pluto. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. Tickets, which include a copy of Letters From An Astrophysicist, are $67.50 to $148. Call 202-783-4000 or visit www.warnertheatredc.com.
POE IN THE VAULT
Every year actors from Guillotine Theatre, once known as the Georgetown Theatre Company, gather to “communicate with the spirits and read a witches’ brew of poems and short stories,” and all by “America’s 19th Century Master of Horror.” For added oomph, these “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” from Edgar Allan Poe are presented in the Receiving Vault of Old Town’s Ivy Hill Cemetery — after a short guided ghost tour of the property. Saturday, Oct. 26, Sunday, Oct. 27, and Monday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. 2823 King St, Alexandria. Requested donation of $20. Call 703-549-7413 x1112 or visit www.georgetowntheatre.org.
Virginia Wine Festival
FOOD & DINING
VIRGINIA WINE FESTIVAL
Alternately billed as “Virginia’s Oldest Wine Festival” and “the East Coast’s Longest-Running Wine Festival,” this 44th annual event organized by TasteUSA features more than 200 wines from many of the commonwealth’s most revered wineries. The festival also features Virginia craft beers poured in the Virginia Oyster Pavilion, with bivalves served on the half shell, grilled, or baked in special dishes. It will all be complemented by live entertainment, craft vendors, and of course food trucks and vendors. Saturday, Oct. 19, and Sunday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. One Loudoun, 44600 Freetown Blvd., Ashburn. Tickets, including tasting glass, unlimited wine (and cider) tastings, and access to the Oyster Pavilion, are $39 plus fees in advance, while a VIP pass, granting one-hour early admission, plus access to a private tent and bathrooms with additional reserve wine tastings, is $69 plus fees. Visit www.virginiawinefest.com.
National Geographic’s Women: A Century of Change — Photo: David Bowman
ART & EXHIBITS
ART INSPIRED BY THE TWILIGHT ZONE
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 sci-fi TV show that first started exploring another dimension 60 years ago this year. To Oct. 27. 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria. Call 703-731-8802 or visit www.thedelrayartisans.org.
GISELLE SHEPATIN: DRESS FOR THE SEASON OF JOY
The Zenith Gallery presents an exhibition of recent creations by a wearable art designer whose work focuses on “the beauty we share, the love we desire to give and to receive, the nurturing of what we find important, and the desire to dress for and to delight ourselves with the whimsy.” Now to Oct. 26. Zenith Gallery, 1429 Iris St. NW. Call 202-783-2963 or visit www.zenithgallery.com.
ILLEGAL TO BE YOU: GAY HISTORY BEYOND STONEWALL
The National Museum of American History celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots with a yearlong display of artifacts from the Smithsonian’s LGBTQ collections, intended to examine the complexity of LGBTQ history both before and after Stonewall. Among the 20 objects and 30 buttons and graphics in this special exhibition, which is set up in a display clase on the museum’s second floor: items of clothing belonging to Matthew Shepard, protest signs from gay rights activist Frank Kameny, the first transgender pride flag, and lesbian tennis pro Billy Jean King’s dress. Ongoing. 1300 Constitution Ave. NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.americanhistory.si.edu.
MARK BRADFORD: PICKETT’S CHARGE
Referred to by the Hirshhorn as the most significant living American painter, gay African-American artist Mark Bradford certainly works on a scale commensurate with that kind of stature. Take, for example, his huge, 400-foot installation created for his debut at the Smithsonian’s modern art museum as well as in D.C. A timely, commissioned “cyclorama” of eight large, site-specific collages, Bradford was inspired by Paul Philippoteaux’s same-named masterpiece depicting the loss of the Confederate Army at the Battle of Gettysburg. Covering the curved walls of the Hirshhorn’s third level inner circle, the work presents 360-degrees of abstracted historical narrative using Bradford’s signature practice of collage, juxtaposed with reproductions of the 19th-century original in a way that intentionally disrupts, messes up, and confuses. The end result is a work that invites reconsideration of how narratives about American history have been shaped and contested. The installation, which opened two years ago, has also proven to be so popular and provocative, the museum has repeatedly extended the run, with the display now set to last through 2021. Independence Avenue and Seventh Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.hirshhorn.si.edu.
PERFECTING TIMELESSNESS WITH JACK BOUL
Referred to as the “dean of Washington printmakers,” Jack Boul will exhibit his latest series of oil paintings, monotypes, and works of sculpture at the historic Arts Club of Washington throughout most of October. The works on display, according to curator Erik Denker of the National Gallery of Art, highlight the “intimacy” and “timeless quality” to Boul’s work. A former teacher at American University and founding member of the Washington Studio School, the 92-year-old Boul works mostly out of his Bethesda gallery. On display to Oct. 27. MacFeely Gallery in the Cleveland Abbe House, 2017 I St. NW. Call 202-331-7282 or visit https://artsclubofwashington.org.
RIGHTFULLY HERS: AMERICAN WOMEN AND THE VOTE
The National Archives Museum highlights the hard-won victories that stemmed from the Women’s Suffrage movement, chief among these the passage 100 years ago of the 19th Amendment. The temporary exhibition also explores the story of the diversity of American women’s experiences and their impact on history. Now to Jan. 3. The Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, Constitution Avenue and 9th Streets NW. Call 202-357-5000 or visit www.archivesfoundation.org.
VOTES FOR WOMEN: A PORTRAIT OF PERSISTENCE
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 www.npg.si.edu.
WOMEN: A CENTURY OF CHANGE
Opening next week at the National Geographic Museum is a timely, temporary collection of powerful images from famed National Geographic photographers. Taken together, the photographic display offers a glimpse of both what it means to be a woman in the world today and how that’s changed in the 100 years since American women gained the right to vote. The exhibition will also include stories and commentary from female luminaries, among them Melinda Gates, Gloria Allred, Jane Goodall, and Christiane Amanpour. Opens Tuesday, Oct. 22. 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-857-7700 or visit www.ngmuseum.org.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
ABOVE AND BEYOND
CONGRESSIONAL CEMETERY: SOUL STROLLS
Edgar Hoover, buried alongside his “deputy” Clyde Tolson, surely rests as the most sinister of all 67,000 permanent residents at this 35-acre historic graveyard. It’s an eerie proposition any time of year, taking a nighttime stroll past the graves of Hoover and Tolson, former Presidents John Quincy Adams and Zachary Taylor, composer John Philip Sousa, and the many Civil War-era Congressional leaders interred here. But every year, the nonprofit-run, Christ Church-owned landmark offers guided, hour-long tours with docents and costumed interpreters in the weekends leading up to Halloween. Beer, wine, and cider are available for purchase in the Chapel. Meanwhile, the graveyard’s Public Vault will be transformed into a Victorian-era funeral parlor hosting a cocktail party every night reserved for those who purchase VIP tickets with vouchers for three drinks. Tours depart every 15 minutes from 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, and Friday, Oct. 25, and from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 26. 1801 E St. SE. Tickets are $26.50 with fees online, or $62.20 for VIP. Call 202-543-0539 or visit www.congressionalcemetery.org.
FORD’S THEATRE’S HISTORY ON FOOT
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 www.fords.org.
MARYLAND RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
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 www.rennfest.com.
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE GREAT CHEESY MOVIE CIRCUS TOUR
Joel Hodgson, the original host of one of TV’s most enduring shows, straps in for one last ride with his wisecracking robots on what is billed as an “exhilarating rollercoaster ride through some of the cheesiest films ever made.” Specific targets for attack include Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 1986 martial arts “classic” No Retreat, No Surrender and the 1960 British horror bomb, Circus of Horrors. Friday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 19, at 3 and 8 p.m. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $59 to $99. Call 202-628-6161 or visit www.thenationaldc.org.
SUGARLOAF CRAFT FESTIVAL: AMERICA’S HANDMADE MARKET
The annual Sugarloaf Crafts Festival, featuring 11 different events taking place throughout the country throughout the year, is considered one of the top craft experiences in the country. The festival returns to Virginia’s Dulles Expo Center for a fall show styled as a kickoff to holiday shopping with more than 300 artisans from around the country offering one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts in various media — including functional and decorative pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, leather, wood, metal, furniture, home accessories, and photography. Gourmet food samples, live music and interactive children’s entertainment will also be on tap. Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center Drive, Virginia. Admission is $8 to $10 per day. Call 703-378-0910 or visit www.sugarloafcrafts.com.
THE GHOST STORY TOUR OF WASHINGTON
A costumed tour guide will discuss the spirits said to haunt Lafayette Square and surrounding buildings, including the Hay Adams Hotel and Decatur House, some for over 200 years. Touted as D.C.’s “oldest costumed ghost tour,” the all-outdoor affair lasts approximately 90 minutes, and advertises that “someone on the tour will win a prize.” All tours start at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through October. St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1525 H St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $20. Call 301-873-3986 or visit www.historicstrolls.com.
WASHINGTON WALKS: THE MOST HAUNTED HOUSES, CAPITOL HAUNTINGS
Washington Walks offers two popular annual outdoor tours shining a light on the many ghosts and buildings said to be haunted in the nation’s capital. “The Most Haunted Houses: The Original Washington, D.C. Ghost Tour” is another guided excursion by night through Lafayette Park, purportedly “the most haunted site in the city.” Bustling with White House staffers by day, the seven-acre park turns eerily quiet by night, aside from the ghosts and spirits serving as reminders of the many violent quarrels, vicious attacks, murders, and suicides that have taken place there. Meanwhile, “Capitol Hauntings: Ghosts of the U.S. Capitol” explores one of D.C.’s oldest neighborhoods — also historically one of its gayest — with, naturally, a focus on the apparitions said to haunt the U.S. Capitol as well as the Supreme Court. Each two-hour tour starts at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through October. Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 202-484-1565 or visit www.washingtonwalks.com.