Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: DC arts & entertainment highlights — January 16-22

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

All the President’s Men



As timely now as ever, Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 film documents the work of the Washington Post‘s Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in uncovering the Watergate scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation. Robert Redford is Woodward and Dustin Hoffman is Bernstein in the acclaimed political thriller that Rotten Tomatoes sums up as “a taut, solidly acted paean to the benefits of a free press and the dangers of unchecked power.” The film, which explores the inner-workings of a daily newspaper and the quest to not only get the story, but to get it right, returns to the big screen for Landmark’s West End Cinema hump-day series Capital Classics. Wednesday, Jan. 22, 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. Call 202-534-1907 or visit


Ranked No. 9 on the AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals list, the Oscar-winning 1951 classic returns to theaters across the country for two days this month as part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series presented by Fathom Events. Directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner, and featuring extraordinary music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, An American in Paris stars Leslie Caron and Gene Kelly, who also choreographed the dance numbers — including a climactic 17-minute ballet, which cost almost $500,000 to shoot. Sunday, Jan. 19, at 1 and 4 p.m., and Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. Area theaters including Regal venues at Gallery Place (701 7th St. NW), Potomac Yards Stadium (3575 Jefferson Davis Highway), and Majestic Stadium (900 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring). Tickets are $15. Visit


Robert Downey Jr. plays an eccentric veterinarian who can speak to animals in this fantasy adventure film based on the famous character created by Hugh Lofting. Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen are part of the live action cast, while the voices for Dr. Dolittle’s menagerie of exotic animals include Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, and Marion Cotillard. Directed and co-written by Stephen Gaghan. Opens Friday, Jan. 17. Area theaters. Visit

Martin Luther King


The Arlington Cinema ‘N Drafthouse hosts a special screening of 10 student-created short films, all winners of the Teens Dream Video Contest, and each touching on one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Presented by Little Known Stories Productions, the program will also screen 16 other powerful short features and documentaries by adult filmmakers addressing hot-button topics, many of which were also key concerns for Martin Luther King, Jr. — from police brutality to teenage pregnancy to immigration. Set to take place on the eve of MLK Jr.’s birthday, the program also features a panel on bullying, plus a filmmaker Q&A. Sunday, Jan. 19. Doors at 6:30 p.m. 2903 Columbia Pike. Tickets are $20, with a percentage of proceeds going to Bernie House and the Maryland-based charity’s work helping victims of domestic violence and their families. Call 703-486-2345 or visit


The American Film Institute celebrates MLK Day by offering a free 50th anniversary screening of a documentary featuring footage of the civil rights legend. King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis includes his stirring “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, and features narration and commentary from Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Harry Belafonte, and Ruby Dee, among others. Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz co-directed and produced the 1970 film. Monday, Jan. 20, at 11 a.m. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are free, available day-of at the box office starting at 10:30 a.m. Call 301-495-6720 or visit


The Kennedy Center honors Martin Luther King, Jr. with a double feature of films drawn from the writings of James Baldwin. The program launches with I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck’s 2016 film, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, connecting the lives and assassinations of three of Baldwin’s close friends — King, Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X — to the racial tensions and portrayal of African-Americans today. It’s followed by If Beale Street Could Talk, the 2018 adaptation of Baldwin’s novel, evocatively set in 1970s Harlem, directed by Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and starring Regina King and Stephan James. Monday, Jan. 20, at 11 a.m. The Justice Forum in the REACH. Call 202-467-4600 or visit

We Are The Radical Monarchs



Over the next week, the Edlavitch DCJCC presents five films exploring themes of racial inequality and civil injustice as part of a dual city film festival with the Marlene Mayerson JCC Manhattan and co-presented with the Morris Cafritz Center for Social Responsibility. A standout of LGBTQ note is We are the Radical Monarchs, Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s portrait of a new mission-driven youth troop in Oakland, Calif., launched by two queer women of color in which members earn badges by completing tasks showing them to be an LGBTQ ally, a steward of the environment, or a disability justice advocate, among others. Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby will engage in a conversation following that documentary’s screening on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 5 p.m.

The Cinematters lineup also includes: Thirst for Justice, Leana Hosea’s documentary about several extraordinary citizens who band together to fight for their right to clean water, from Flint to the Navajo Nation, on Saturday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m.; Always in Season, Jacqueline Olive’s documentary about lynching and the enduring legacy of racial violence in America, on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m.; True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality, an intimate portrait of the Alabama public interest attorney directed by Peter, George, and Teddy Kunhardt, on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m.; and All Rise, Antony Mandler’s feature, based on a novel by Walter Dean Myers, about a black teenager accused of participating in a robbery and co-starring Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, Jennifer Hudson, and Jeffrey Wright, on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. Cafritz Hall, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $13 per screening. Call 202-777-3210 or visit


Hollywood was quick on the heels of the global box office smash and Oscar-winning Australian comedy The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, churning out only one year later an essentially American take on the three-queens-on-the-road comedy, remade with a trio of male action stars improbably portraying drag queens en route to Tinseltown. Next weekend, both Virginia Alamo Drafthouse cinemas screen the 1995 film starring Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo as part of its “Hindsight Is 20/20” series revisiting a select number of underappreciated films from previous decades. Your appreciation will surely be enhanced by partaking in the accompanying brunch, offered with a themed mimosa. Whether you leave thinking it was “the most fabulous brunch you’ve ever had,” as organizers boast, no doubt you’ll feel a buzz from the bubbly and the film’s warm overall message of community and acceptance. Sunday, Jan. 19, at 11:40 a.m. Alamo Drafthouse – One Loudoun, 20575 Easthampton Plaza, Ashburn, Va. Call 571-293-6808. Also Alamo Drafthouse – Woodbridge, 15200 Potomac Town Place, Ste. 100, Woodbridge, Va. Call 571-260-4413. Tickets are $10 for the screening only. Visit


A year after Variety put Bert and Bertie on its list of “10 Directors to Watch,” the world finally gets a chance to see the first major release from the female directing duo, a hit at last year’s Sundance. Distributed by Amazon Studios, Troop Zero centers on a spunky young girl (McKenna Grace) who decides to form her own scout troop after getting rejected from the high-and-mighty Birdie Scouts. Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, and Mike Epps are part of the supporting cast in this outsider comedy full of girl power. Opens Friday, Jan. 17. Area theaters. Visit

Lerner & Lowe’s My Fair Lady: Lauren Ambrose, Harry Hadden-Paton — Photo: Joan Marcus



In only its third season, Montgomery County’s 4615 Theatre seems more determined than ever on becoming known as the most daring, adventurous and unconventional theater company around. Case in point: A Measure of Cruelty. For starters, the play is set in a real, fully operational bar: Flanagan’s Harp and Fiddle, one of the oldest pubs in Bethesda. Theatergoers take seats wherever they choose throughout the sprawling space, where they are immersed in the action as a bar-owning father and his son, a recently returned war veteran, become entangled in a local tragedy and are forced to confront their demons. Characterized as “nail-bitingly intense,” A Measure of Cruelty is a site-specific work written and directed by Joe Calarco and featuring Scott Ward Abernethy, Nick Torres, and Ethan Miller. The production runs for a limited engagement of four shows. Saturday, Jan. 18 and Jan. 25, and Sunday, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. 4844 Cordell Ave, Bethesda. Tickets are $16.50 to $20, plus a one-item minimum purchase of food or drink from the bar. Call 301-951-0115 or visit


The Kennedy Center presents a free, one-night-only presentation of a Helen Hayes Award-nominated work focused on the woman dubbed “the original queen of comedy.” Written and performed by Charisma Wooten, who is joined by Everett P. Williams as “Luther,” A Night with Jackie “Moms” Mabley shows how the character created by Loretta Mary Aiken helped pave the way for female comics during the 1950s and 1960s. Friday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. Millennium Stage. Free. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The lives of two Afghan women are inextricably bound together in a play adapted by Ursula Rani Sarma from the best-selling novel by Khaled Hosseini (Kite Runner). Carey Perloff directs Hend Ayoub and Mirian Katrib leading a 12-member cast at Arena Stage in a show billed as a “gripping and heart-rending fight for survival [that] will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.” Previews begin Friday, Jan. 17. Runs through March 1. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit


The classic musical about a young Cockney lass who becomes a “proper lady” for an older, well-to-do man comes to new life in a Lincoln Center Theater production helmed by Bartlett Sher. Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady features several gems that have become American Songbook standards, including “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “The Rain in Spain,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly.” To Jan. 19. Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $39 to $159. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Mosaic Theater Company presents a romantic comedy about Muslim and American identity full of unexpected twists from Yussef El Guindi, the Egyptian-American playwright and recipient of the Steinberg New American Play Award. Shirley Serotsky directs. Now to Feb. 16. Lang Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $65. Call 202-399-7993 or visit


Studio Theatre presents a searing drama written by Dominique Morisseau, focused on the struggles an African-American single mother faces in pursuit of a good education for her teenage son. Awoye Timpo directs. Runs through Feb. 7. 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit


Aaron Posner helms a Folger Theatre production of the delightful comedy of love, money, deception, and the power of women, as the ladies of Windsor serve Falstaff his comedic comeuppance. In previews. Runs through March 1. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $27 to $85. Call 202-544-7077 or visit



Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical play about a Depression-era family trying to laugh through tears next lights the stage of Baltimore’s community Vagabond Theatre. Brighton Beach Memoirs is a moving, entertaining comedy focused on a male teen obsessed with girls, baseball, and the idea of becoming a writer. To Feb. 9. 806 S. Broadway, Baltimore. Tickets are $10 to $20. Call 410-563-9135 or visit


Greenbelt Arts Center offers the East Coast premiere of Quadrille: A Romantic Play by San Francisco-based writer Melynda Kiring. Stephen Foreman directs a community cast bringing to life a “romantic fairy tale,” set in 1835, further described as “featuring romance, secret plots, good food, more secret plots, bad food, heroic duels, and plenty of perfectly prepared corn muffins.” Weekends to Jan. 19. Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway. Greenbelt, Md. Tickets are $22 to $24. Call 301-441-8770 or visit

Billy Winn



A homegrown D.C. R&B/dance artist and veteran performer at Capital Pride, Billy Winn will next perform at a concert kicking off a new monthly LGBTQ+ Music Residency at Red Bear Brewing Co. Winn will also host this third-Thursdays showcase featuring other queer musical acts from the area, plus prizes and giveaways for the audience. Thursday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m.

209 M St. NE. Call 202-849-6130 or visit


Four years after helping ring in 2016, the 10-time Grammy-winning artist dubbed the Queen of Funk returns to the Kennedy Center as this year’s headline performer at the free celebration honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. Also on the bill is the Let Freedom Ring Choir with music director Rev. Nolan Williams Jr. The program, a co-presentation with Georgetown University, will also see the 18th Annual John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award being bestowed on Sandra Jackson, executive director of House of Ruth, which provides safe and stable housing to women, children, and families in the area affected by homelessness and abuse. Monday, Jan. 20, at 6 p.m. Concert Hall. Free tickets will be given away two per person on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 4:30 p.m. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


The star on Broadway and in the long-running national tour of the Phantom of the Opera‘s 25th Anniversary production, Chris Mann first came to national fame as a finalist on NBC’s The Voice as mentored by Christina Aguilera. At the moment, he’s paying tribute to the long and diverse career of Tony Bennett in the cabaret show “From Gershwin to Gaga: Celebrating the Tony Bennett Songbook,” which includes hits ranging from “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” to “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” Saturday, Jan. 18. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda. Tickets are $35 to $55. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


These two veteran rock acts from California have been performing and touring together for decades, even sharing the same leader, singer/guitarist David Lowery. Lowery helped start the more punk-bent Camper in 1983, then followed with the more country-flavored Cracker in 1991 when Camper disbanded for a decade. Among the longstanding members of the two quintets, perhaps the most notable player after Lowery is Victor Krummenacher, the gay Camper co-founder and bassist who served a short stint last decade as a member of Cracker and also is the rare musician in the camp to have had a solo career. Saturday, Jan. 18. Doors at 6 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit


One of the founders of the Grammy Award-winning black bluegrass band the Carolina Chocolate Drops — along with Rhiannon Giddens — but now flying solo, Flemons comes to the Kennedy Center to illuminate the history and influence of the early “American Songsters,” or the African-American musicians who helped pioneer styles including ragtime, blues, country western, bluegrass, and old-time string band. Flemons will perform on the banjo, fife, guitar, harmonica, quills, and rhythm bones, in addition to vocals, at this concert, part of the day-long Music From Mount Vernon celebration exploring the roots of American music through a panel discussion and concerts. Sunday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m. Studio K in the REACH. Tickets are $15. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


This young R&B starlet charmed us practically right out of the gate, with her debut studio album Perfectly Imperfect, full of songs about getting drunk but still being responsible (“Refill,” “Oh What A Night”) and loving oneself (“So Fly”). But that was released all the way back in 2012, when Varner was only 22. She then spent the better part of the last decade fighting her label to release Four Letter Word, only to see that sophomore set eventually shelved by RCA Records before the label dropped her. Last summer, the singer-songwriter resurfaced with Ellevation, which ultimately registers as a natural progression of her style and sound, led by the singles “Pour Me” featuring Wale and the female empowerment anthem “Kinda Love.” The emerging R&B singer-songwriter J Brown, a native of Detroit with familial connections to Motown, opens as Varner’s special guest. Friday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. City Winery DC, 1350 Okie St. NE. Tickets are $32 to $44. Call 202-250-2531 or visit


A week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and federal holiday comes the annual choral tribute presented by Washington Performing Arts and featuring the men, women and children of the WPA Gospel Choirs. These choristers will be further bolstered by the Choral Arts Society of Washington — 300 voices strong — to perform in honor of King. Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 to $70. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Piotr Gajewski leads Strathmore’s resident orchestra in an all-Mozart program headlined by the Austrian composer’s towering and majestic Symphony No. 41. Orli Shaham will join to perform the Piano Concerto No. 20 along with a cadenza written by Beethoven that evokes the energy and intensity of the work. Written when he was only 19, Mozart’s charming Overture to Il re Pastore “The Shepherd King” kicks off the program with a quintessential blend of drama, elegance, and ease. Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m. Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md. Tickets are $29 to $79. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Two years after its centennial celebration, Gustav Holst’s transcendent trip through the solar system is commandeered by the National Symphony Orchestra, with Gemma New of the Dallas Symphony making her NSO debut at the helm. New will conduct the NSO bolstered by the Women’s Voices of the University of Maryland Concert Choir led by Edward MacIary in four different performances over the next week. The work is first offered as part of the standard three-performance subscription series at the Kennedy Center, via a program also featuring world-renowned soloist Yefim Bronfman performing Beethoven’s poetic Piano Concerto No. 4. Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m. New’s take on The Planets with the Women’s Voices choir gets an encore as the featured piece at the next “ditch your tux” casual concert by the NSO at the Anthem. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets to the Kennedy Center performances range from $15 to $114, while the Anthem performance costs $15 to $30. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Curated by Lynn Veronneau and Ken Avis of Wammie-winning jazz samba group Veronneau, the annual festival presented by Virginia’s Creative Cauldron celebrates the music and dance of cultures around the world, with performances by artists representing a broad spectrum of genres: folk to Latin, opera to bluegrass. The 2020 series continues with: the gypsy jazz quartet Hot Club of Baltimore along with American/French vocalist Alexis Tantau and special guest violinist Jason Annick, on Friday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m.; a multicultural performance by Cristian Perez and Project Locrea, featuring musicians and vocalists from three continents and seven countries, on Saturday, Jan 18., at 7:30 p.m.; “D.C.’s Greats of Jazz Guitar” featuring Jan Knutson, Steve Abshire, and Steve Herberman, on Sunday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m.; the Dave Kline Band’s “Tribute to Jimi Hendrix” along with special guests Veronneau and Avis, on Friday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m.; and Italian vocalist Irene Jalenti’s “Anima Latina,” with accompaniment from Grammy-nominated Cuban-Venezuelan pianist César Orozco and Venezuelan percussionist Francisco Vielma, on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m. The series continues to Feb. 1. ArtSpace Falls Church, 410 South Maple Ave. Tickets are $20 to $25, or $70 for tables of two with wine, $140 for tables of four with wine. Call 703-436-9948 or visit


Rare Essence, dubbed the “Wickedest Band Alive,” has been chugging away at go-go for more than four decades — ever since a group of elementary students at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Southeast D.C. got together to tinker around with a then-new percussive style of funk. Now one of the premier outfits of this thoroughly homegrown, locally popular sound, Rare Essence returns to the Hamilton for a concert with special guests Dupont Brass, a young, soulful brass ensemble originally formed by Howard University music majors who busked at local Metro stations. Sunday, Jan. 19. Doors at 7 p.m. 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $35. Call 202-787-1000 or visit


Formerly an Artist-in-Residence ensemble at Strathmore, the D.C.-based roots and folk act, which throws street jazz, early blues, and country swing into the mix, started out as a city-meets-country experiment between singing songstress and multi-instrumentalist Jess Eliot Myhre and banjoist Chris Ousley. They return for another show billed as “a party where everyone’s invited, and the dance floor never sleeps.” Friday, Jan. 17. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Amp by Strathmore, 11810 Grand Park Ave. North Bethesda. Tickets are $22 to $36. Call 301-581-5100 or visit


Bizet’s famed opera Carmen comes to life in a unique and intimate tango-cabaret experience led by the In Series’ young and innovative new director Timothy Nelson. Cara Gonzalez performs as the intoxicating and immortal titular chanteuse accompanied by the More Tango Quartet and with musical direction from Emily Baltzer. The cast, performing in French with English supertitles, also features Brian Arreola as Don Jose, Kelly Curtin as Micaela, Alex Albequerque as Escamillo, Kyle Dunn as Host, and Lydia Gladstone as Madame Pastia. The concert comes with a warning, “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content.” Runs to Jan. 19. Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $21 to $46, or $31 to $56 for Opening Night & Celebration. Call 202-204-7763 or visit


The nationally recognized local contemporary American opera company presents a brand-new staging of an opera based on the gripping true story of Col. Floyd “Jim” Thompson, an American POW during the Vietnam War. Glory Denied, with music and libretto by Tom Cipullo, was adapted from Tom Philpott’s book of the same name, which focused on the marriage and family back home that became the real victim of the Viet Cong’s capture and prolonged confinement of Thompson. Thursday, Jan. 16, through Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m. Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. Call 202-265-3767 or visit


“D.C.’s all ’90s party band,” cheekily named after O.J. Simpson’s notorious failed getaway car, is a five-member ensemble consisting of singer/guitarist Diego Valencia, singer Gretchen Gustafson, guitarists Ken Sigmund and McNasty, and drummer Max Shapiro. White Ford Bronco sings through that decade’s songbook in all styles of popular music. Friday, Jan. 24. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-787-1000 or visit

Swan Lake by Matthew Bourne — Photo: Johan Persson



South African star choreographer Gregory Maqoma brings his company to the Kennedy Center for the first time performing a piece inspired by Cion, the novel from his compatriot Zakes Mda and danced to Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. Set in a graveyard with the cries of people in mourning and the a cappella music of Isicathamiya singers in the background, Cion is billed as a “powerful requiem” and an “innovative, visually stunning full-length work that brings literature to life.” Friday, Jan. 24, and Saturday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. Eisenhower Theater. Tickets are $25 to $79. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


For over 35 years, KanKouran has offered an annual presentation celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, and showcasing the influences that African dance and culture has had on contemporary dance styles. Led by the company’s co-founder and artistic director Assane Konte, the concert features the senior and junior companies of KanKouran as well as the children’s company and the community class. Saturday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-269-1600 or visit


Matthew Bourne’s choreographed works are internationally celebrated for their unique, bold approaches to familiar material, elaborate, dazzling designs, and more often than not, profound LGBTQ content. Bourne, who has won every major theatrical award imaginable — from Tonys to Oliviers — sometimes multiple times over, returns with his dance company New Adventures for an updated spin on his classic all-male Swan Lake in its Kennedy Center debut. Performances begin Tuesday, Jan. 21. To Jan. 26. Opera House. Tickets are $29 to $109. Call 202-467-4600 or visit



Like the funniest extroverts at the party, the improv troupe Upright Citizens Brigade riffs on D.C. and audience-members alike. The brigade has many famous alumni, including Amy Poehler and Ed Helms. They return for a biannual performance at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. Saturday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 day-of show. Call 202-408-3100 or visit


D.C.’s leading troupe for longform improv offers its annual “wintry mix” of vignettes featuring different ensembles, with each plot developed on-the-fly, spurred by a single audience suggestion. Each show is different, but all offer a grab bag of spontaneous comedy and long-form improv, including the all-female-identifying group Hellcat, the slyly named all-African-American group Lena Dunham, the improvising playwrights of iMusical, and the improvised rockers in Heavy Rotation. To Feb. 2. District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), 2438 18th St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $18. Call 202-462-7833 or visit



Adrian Shanker, an activist and organizer for LGBTQ health equity who also serves as executive director of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, Penn., comes to D.C. for a free talk about a new anthology for which he served as editor. Bodies & Barriers: Queer Activists on Health features a collection of essays by 26 activists shining a light on the myriad and pervasive health issues that queer people confront throughout their lives. Sunday, Jan. 19, at 5 p.m. The Potter’s House, 1658 Columbia Road NW. Call 202-232-5483 or visit


Subtitled Gay Neighborhoods and the Rise of the Vicarious Citizen, this book from an associate professor of sociology at Bowdoin College draws on ethnographic, archival, and interview data collected from iconic gay neighborhoods in D.C. and Chicago. Greene will discuss his work at a free talk at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum presented in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition A Right to the City (see separate entry under Art & Exhibits). Saturday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. 1901 Fort Place, SE. Free with RSVP. Call 202-633-4820 or visit



More than five decades of neighborhood change in the nation’s capital, as well as the rich history of organizing and civic engagement that accompanied it, is explored in this temporary exhibition at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. A story of how ordinary Washingtonians have helped shape and reshape their neighborhoods in extraordinary ways, A Right to the City, developed in partnership with American University, Metropolitan Center, and the D.C. Public Library, specifically highlights developments in six city neighborhoods or regions: Adams Morgan, Anacostia, Brookland, Chinatown, Shaw, and Southwest. To April 20. 1901 Fort Place, SE. Call 202-633-4820 or visit


Over 60 rarely seen works by a leading group of European post-impressionist artists who worked together in the 1890s under the name the Nabi Collection, a transliteration of the Hebrew word for prophet. Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, Aristide Maillol, Paul Ranson, Ker-Xavier Roussel, and Félix Vallotton are all represented in this temporary exhibition at the Phillips Collection, which ranges from painting and prints to stained glass to ceramics, and showcases how the Nabis used flat colors, decorative patterning, and silhouetted forms to convey their responses to the world. To Jan. 26. The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. Tickets are $12. Call 202-387-2151 x247 or visit


For Strathmore’s 29th annual juried exhibition, jurors Terence Nicholson of the Hirshhorn Museum as well as the American University Museum and Erwin Timmers of the Washington Glass Studio and School called on artists to submit works offering interpretations of the structural, communal, and emotional aspects of the spaces we inhabit. In paint, collage, graphite, and ink, artists examine the pleasures, disparity, symbolism, and meaning in the perception or place we call a home. Represented among the nearly 90 artists in the display are Cathy Abramson, MK Bailey, Jennifer Barlow, Michaela Borghese, Kimberley Bursic, Lulu Delacre, Songmi Heart, Saralee Howard, Wayson Jones, Chau Nguyen, Robert Sullivan, and Andrew Wodzianski. Also represented are Leslie Felbain and Daniel Pinha, performance artists who will present the piece In The Attic on Saturday, Jan. 18, and Sunday, Jan. 19, at 12:30 and 2 p.m. Opening Reception is Thursday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. On display through Feb. 23. First Floor Galleries in the Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Call 301-581-5100 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. To Jan. 20. 1250 New York Ave NW. Admission is $10. Call 202-783-5000 or visit


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


The small, private LGBTQ-run Long View Gallery welcomes three new artists to D.C. for its first show of 2020. Works by Jeremy Brown, Bryan Coleman, and Ken Schiano will be featured at the Shaw gallery. Opening Reception is Friday, Jan. 17, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. On display to Feb. 16. 1234 9th St. NW. Call 202-232-4788 or visit


The 17th Annual D.C. Artist Solo Exhibition at Logan Circle’s boutique gallery Transformer features powerful photography by Farrah Skeiky that documents and celebrates D.C.’s hardcore punk music scene — as it exists today, that is. The exhibition, based on Skeiky’s forthcoming photo book of the same title, is fortunately not another nostalgic look back at the counterculture genre’s 1980s heyday. Present Tense reflects Skeiky’s experience as a witness, in her role as an established concert and event photographer, and also as an active participant, via time spent in the hardcore trenches as a punk guitarist, most recently with the queercore group Homosuperior. Opening Reception is Saturday, Jan. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. An Artist Talk is planned for Saturday, Feb. 1, between Skeiky and Cynthia Connolly, a photographer, curator, and author who helped inspire Skeiky and her work by virtue of Connolly’s seminal title Banned in DC: Photos and Anecdotes from the DC Punk Underground (79-86). Exhibition runs to Feb. 29. 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit


The first in a series of exhibitions addressing climate change at Dupont Circle’s Studio Gallery highlights artists who have been getting creative in their use of materials — finding ways to reuse byproducts and waste from the manufacturing industry. As curated by Molly Ruppert, the exhibition features Jessica Beels, Robin Bell, Julia Bloom, Gloria Chapa, Pat Goslee, Liz Lescault, and Erwin Timmers. To Jan. 25. 2108 R St. NW. Call 202-232-8734 or visit


The Library of Congress tells the story of the largest reform movement in American history, the 72-year campaign for women’s suffrage that culminated in the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution exactly one century ago. To Sept. Southwest Gallery in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Call 202-707-8000 or visit


Known for its brilliant colors and its delicate, velvety texture, pastel is one of the most colorful and versatile materials in the history of art. The medium’s history, from the Renaissance to today, is on display via 64 exquisite examples drawn entirely from the National Gallery of Art’s permanent collection, yet they are rarely exhibited due to the fragility of pastel as a medium. Featured in the exhibition are works by Rosalba Carriera, Edgar Degas, James McNeill Whistler, Henri Matisse, and Roy Lichtenstein. To Jan. 26. Ground Floor, East Outer Tier in the West Building, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. Call or visit


The National Geographic Museum currently has on display a timely, temporary collection of powerful images from famed National Geographic photographers. Taken together, the photographs offer 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 also includes stories and commentary from female luminaries, among them Melinda Gates, Gloria Allred, Jane Goodall, and Christiane Amanpour. Through Spring. 1145 17th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-857-7700 or visit

Pretty Boi Drag — Photo: Diyanna Monet



Elvis Presley hosts an underground fight club in what is billed as a comically lowbrow theater event from Astro Pop Events (Countdown to Yuri’s Night). Now in its 10th year, the production features the King accompanied by sardonic sidekick Kittie Glitter, plus “a little more conversation” in the form of hilarious color commentary during seven comical, choreographed matchups full of cartoon-like violence and below-the-belt comedy, as burlesque dancers keep the audience “all shook up” between fights. Friday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 and 10 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 18, at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. Baltimore. Tickets are $28. Call 410-276-1651 or visit


The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is celebrated with a free day of readings at the Folger, combining poetry with historical speeches from Dr. King, Gandhi, Frederick Douglass, Mary McLeod Bethune, and others. Per the theme “Injustice is here,” this year’s event focuses on incarceration and features poet and scholar DaMaris Hill reading from her collection A Bound Woman is a Dangerous Thing. Co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. Monday, Jan. 20, at 10 a.m. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are free, with registration strongly suggested; donations of dry and boxed food items also requested for the Food Pantry of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation. Call 202-544-7077 or visit


For the traditional Chinese calendar, the new year begins on the new moon — which in 2020 appears on Saturday, Jan. 25, when the Kennedy Center presents its popular Family Day to celebrate the Year of the Rat with free activities for children of all ages, capped off by a free performance at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage of the Beijing Bamboo Orchestra, featuring more than 30 types of instruments made entirely out of bamboo. The traditional celebration lasts two weeks, and the Kennedy Center mostly follows suit with its 5th annual Lunar New Year slate of (mostly free) activities, with showcases of both Chinese and Korean culture. This year’s celebration is centered in the complex’s new outdoor campus the REACH, festooned with 100 stunning Winter Lanterns consisting of 10,000 LED lights depicting the Chinese Four Symbols and 12 Zodiac Signs, Panda Grove, and Mushroom Garden. The display of lanterns will be enhanced Thursday, Jan. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 26, with performances celebrating China — ranging from a Magician from Shenzhen, a sugar painting, shadow puppet demonstration, and calligraphy; and then Thursday, Jan. 30, through Sunday, Feb. 2, with performances celebrating Korea, from a drum and spinning-dishes show from Freelak Company, to a group Mural Painting led by Julia Chon, to kite-flying led by a South Korean master. The festivities kick off with a special concert by the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra, led by Muhai Tang and featuring specialized instruments including erhu or Chinese violin, dizi or bamboo flute, sheng or multi-reed wind instrument, ruan or moon guitar, and zheng or zither. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 8 p.m. Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $59. Call 202-467-4600 or visit


Former DC King Pretty Rik E and co-producer Lexie Starre have helped keep alive the art of drag kings in D.C. with this regular series of shows, taking place over brunch or during nighttime parties, and featuring nearly two dozen local performers. The 4th anniversary party promises to be the biggest show yet. Sunday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $25 to $35. Call 877-987-6487 or visit


Kevin O’Connor, host of PBS’s pioneering home improvement show This Old House and the offshoot Ask This Old House, returns as headliner of next weekend’s home show at the Dulles Expo Center. One of several annual home-focused showcases produced by Marketplace Events, the Home + Remodeling Show presents more than 250 corporate vendors with the latest products and services in remodeling, renovation, décor, and redesign. O’Connor will lead three hour-long “Insights and Behind the Scenes of This Old House” discussions from the event’s Main Stage, on Friday, Jan. 17, at 2 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 18, at noon and 2 p.m. The Main Stage will also play host to local experts offering advice on specific topics including: “The Secret to Designing a Home Remodel on a Budget” with Ted Daniels of Daniels Design & Remodeling, “Remodeling for All Budgets” with Dawn Parker, Nan Kinsely, and Ford Hal of NVS Kitchen & Bath, “Ideas to Maximizing Your Outdoor Living Space” with Joseph Colao & JR Peter of Colao & Peter, and “Landscape Lighting: How to Paint the Night with Light” with Patrick Harders of Enlightened Lights. Additionally, at the main entrance will be a display by the Beekeeper’s Cottage promising “a glorious variety of modern urban farmhouse home decor accessories and furnishings,” ranging from handcrafted soy candles, to goat milk soaps and lotions, to hip bracelets and earrings from their Crown Jewels Collection. Show hours are Friday, Jan. 17, and Saturday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Virginia. Tickets are $9 to $12 per day, or free on Friday, Jan. 17, for those who travel by Metro using SmarTrip or Transit Link cards. Call 703-378-0910 or visit

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