AMERICAN CONSERVATION FILM FESTIVAL: BEST OF THE FEST
Every year, documentaries concerned about nature and environmental issues from a diverse group of filmmakers are shown and discussed at a festival held in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. In advance of the 2020 festival, set for late March, organizers have selected a few fan favorites from last year’s event for additional screenings at various venues in the Mid-Atlantic region, including the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Next Saturday, Feb. 8, starting at 6:15 p.m., the center presents a four-hour program (including intermission) featuring the shorts Misunderstood: A Brief History of Hemp in the US by Campbell Brewer, Treeline by Jordan Manley, and Nature Rx: The Living Plant by Justin Bogardus. The program concludes with a screening of the 2019 festival’s Audience Choice Winner Fantastic Fungi, Louie Schwartzberg’s “journey into the mysterious and beautiful subterranean world of mycelium and mushrooms,” featuring author Michael Pollan and medicinal fungi advocate Paul Stramets. Weinberg Center, 20 W. Patrick St., Frederick, Md. Tickets are $14.75 to $16.75 including service charge. Call 301-600-2828 or visit www.weinbergcenter.org.
BEST PICTURE 2020: SPOTLIGHT SERIES
Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema will offer multiple screenings of all the nominees up for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards leading up to the ceremony, which airs on Sunday, Feb. 9. Several films will screen every day starting Friday, Jan. 31, including 1917, Ford v Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, and Parasite. All nine films will be shown on Sunday, Feb. 9. 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 301-652-7273 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com for the full schedule.
The American Film Institute returns the London-set drama starring Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland to its screens this weekend as part of the two-month series “2019: A Second Look.” Zellweger won a 2020 Golden Globe for her dazzling performance that combines, in uncanny fashion, a well-styled physical resemblance and evocative vocal quiver and mannerisms, capturing the woman, mother, addict, and wayward superstar. Saturday, Feb. 1, at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, at 7:30 p.m., and Monday, Feb. 3, at 6:45 p.m. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Tickets are $11 to $13. Call 301-495-6720 or visit www.afi.com/Silver.
In the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, Fathom Events and the TCM Big Screen Classics series return to the big screen one of the most romantic films ever made, according to the American Film Institute. The screenings mark the 50th anniversary of Arthur Hiller’s 1970 blockbuster starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw. The screenings are framed by insights from TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz. Sunday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m., and Wednesday, Feb. 12, 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 www.fathomevents.com.
OSCAR-NOMINATED SHORT FILMS 2020: DOCUMENTARY
Landmark Theatres presents this year’s nominees in the Documentary Shorts category, a 160-minute program that includes Carol Dysinger’s Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if You’re a Girl), the story of young Afghan girls learning to read, write, and skateboard in Kabul; Life Overtakes Me, a Swedish/American film from John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson about traumatized children of the refugee diaspora who are in such profound despair, they withdraw into a coma-like state; Yi Seung-Jun’s In The Absence, about the families and survivors still seeking justice after a passenger ferry sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014, taking the lives of hundreds of schoolchildren; Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan’s St. Louis Superman, a profile of Bruce Franks Jr., an activist and battle rapper who was elected to the overwhelmingly white and Republican Missouri House of Representatives, and his struggle to pass a bill critical for his community; and Laura Nix’s Walk Run Cha-Cha, about a couple who fell in love as teenagers in Vietnam before the war, but only reunited years later as adults in California. Opens Friday, Jan. 31. Landmark’s West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. Call 202-534-1907 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
OSCAR-NOMINATED SHORT FILMS 2020: LIVE ACTION
There are five live action shorts nominated at the 92nd Academy Awards, all of which screen locally courtesy of Landmark Theatres in a 104-minute program. The nominees are Meryam Joobeur’s Brotherhood, about a hardened shepherd living in rural Tunisia who is deeply shaken when his oldest son returns home with a mysterious new wife; Yves Piat’s Nefta Football Club, a tale of two young brothers who come across a donkey in the desert wearing headphones over its ears; Marshall Curry’s The Neighbors’ Window, the story of a frustrated American wife and mother whose life is shaken up when she realizes she can see into the apartment of the free-spirited twenty-somethings who have moved in across the street; Bryan Buckley’s Saria, the tale of two inseparable orphaned sisters as they fight against daily abuse and unimaginable hardship in Guatemala; and Delphine Girard’s A Sister, about a Belgian woman in trouble who must make the most important call of her life. Now playing. E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Also Bethesda Row Cinema, 7235 Woodmont Ave. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.
Both Virginia Alamo Drafthouse cinemas kick off the month of February with a tribute to Prince and particularly the superb soundtrack he created for this 1984 semi-autobiographical film, which introduced several of the late musical legend’s biggest hits, among them “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry,” and the title track. Prince’s music is ultimately what sells Purple Rain, which tells a story of a tortured musician known simply as “The Kid,” played by Prince. Appolonia and Morris Day co-star. Tickets to the Alamo Drafthouse screenings include glow sticks and inflatable guitars. Monday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse at 20575 Easthampton Plaza, Ashburn, Va. Call 571-293-6808. Also Monday, Feb. 3, at 7:20 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse at 15200 Potomac Town Place, Ste. 100, Woodbridge, Va. Call 571-260-4413. Tickets are $14.30. Visit www.drafthouse.com/northern-virginia.
ROGER & ME
In his 1989 debut Roger & Me, the influential, rabble-rousing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore obsessively dogged General Motors CEO Roger Smith, in an effort to get him to discuss the closing of GM plants in Moore’s hometown of Flint, Michigan. Moore’s extraordinary debut returns to the big screen in Landmark Theatre’s Capital Classics series. Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m. West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. Happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.50. Call 202-534-1907 or visit landmarktheatres.com.
THE FIRST WIVES CLUB
Joshua Vogelsong presents a special February series at the cozy Suns Cinema in Mount Pleasant focused on campy classics and hosted by the drag persona Summer Camp. The CAMP! Series will offer up Muriel’s Wedding, The House of Yes, and Serial Mom in subsequent Mondays. It launches Monday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. with the divalicious dramedy from 1996 starring Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton as middle-aged college friends who reunite to plot revenge on their exes, all of whom left them for younger women(Sarah Jessica Parker, Marcia Gay Harden, and Elizabeth Berkley). 3107 Mount Pleasant St. NW. Tickets are $13.59 including service fee. Visit www.sunscinema.com.
A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
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.” To March 1. Kreeger Theater in the Mead Center for American Theater, 1101 6th St. SW. Call 202-488-3300 or visit www.arenastage.org.
Baltimore’s Theatrical Mining Company offers a production of a play that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama back in 1979 and helped establish the playwright bona fides of its author, Sam Shepard. Set in an old farmhouse in Illinois, the drama reflects the frustrations of the American people and their disillusionment with the American dream. To Feb. 2. Function Coworking Community Gallery, 4709 Harford Rd., Baltimore. Tickets are $10 plus fees. Call 443-885-0020 or visit www.theatricalmining.org.
GUN & POWDER
Solea Pfeiffer and Emmy Raver-Lampman star as sisters Mary and Martha Clarke in a World Premiere musical inspired by the true story of African-American twins who pass themselves off as white to help settle their mother’s sharecropper debt and seize the funds by any means necessary. Book and lyrics by Angelica Chéri and music by Ross Baum and featuring direction by Robert O’Hara (Broadway’s Slave Play). To Feb. 23. MAX Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. Call 703-820-9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.
PILGRIMS MUSA AND SHERI IN THE NEW WORLD
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. 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 www.atlasarts.org.
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. To Feb. 7. 14th & P Streets NW. Call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.
RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS
Jason Tamborini directs Craig Wright’s drama in which a young woman in Minneapolis goes on a blind date the night after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, the woman’s twin sister, a student in New York, has not been heard from. To Feb. 16. Produced by Prologue Theatre. At the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
Fractal Theatre Collective, “dedicated to radical, innovative artwork,” presents a new play that focuses on the complexities of trauma and mental health for LGBTQ individuals. Written and directed by Hannah Ruth Wellons, Fractal’s associate artistic director, Rêverie focuses on a woman whose night terrors have grown worse. A woman from her past reappears, questioning the validity of her memories of an incident from 10 years prior and further blurring the lines between reality and dream-state. Ezra Tozian, Amber Monks, Noa Gelb, and Peter Mikhail star. Thursday, Feb. 6, and Friday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8, at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. Lab Theatre I in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $5 to $20. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
In 1939, one ordinary American couple sets out to reconnect with their estranged friends in hopes of enlisting their support in an effort to save some of the European Jews increasingly under assault by Hitler and the Nazis. What begins as a night of cocktails and conversation becomes a tense negotiation of politics, morality, and survival in a suspenseful drama by Alix Sobler based on the true story of the Kraus family. Theater J’s Adam Immerwahr directs a cast including McLean Fletcher, Kimberly Gilbert, David Schlumpf, Alexander Strain, and Erin Weaver. To Feb. 2. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater in the Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Call 202-777-3210 or visit www.theaterj.org.
Lauren Gunderson’s inspiring drama explores the determination, passion, and sacrifice of the women who redefined our understanding of the cosmos — Henrietta Leavitt and the women “computers” in the Harvard Observatory who transformed the science of astronomy, a decade before women gained the right to vote. Directed by Seema Sueko. To Feb. 23. 511 10th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $52. Call 202-347-4833 or visit www.fords.org.
The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Alan Paul makes his directorial debut at Round House Theatre with a production of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s haunting, high-octane, and boundary-pushing rock musical. A Tony-winning adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s prescient 19th-century drama, Spring Awakening focuses on a repressed group of angsty teenagers navigating blindly through their burgeoning sexuality. Evan Daves, Cristina Sastre, Sean Watkinson, Jane Bernhard, and Christian Montgomery lead a youthful cast also featuring Bobby Smith as Adult Men and Tonya Beckman as Adult Women. To Feb. 23. 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda. Tickets are $50 to $60. Call 240-644-1100 or visit www.roundhousetheatre.org.
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR
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. To March 1. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $27 to $85. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu.
THE SIMON & GARFUNKEL STORY
With huge projection photos, original film footage, and a full live band performing their hits, this immersive concert-style theater show chronicles the journey of the legendary folk-rock duo. Originally known as Tom & Jerry, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel became one of the most successful music acts during the 1960s folk heyday. The Simon & Garfunkel Story culminates with their famous reunion in 1981, “The Concert in Central Park,” which drew more than a half-million fans. Part of the “Broadway at the National” series. Friday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 and 8 p.m. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $59 to $99. Call 202-628-6161 or visit www.thenationaldc.org.
BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
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 www.vagabondplayers.org.
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST
Liana Olear directs a contemporary take on Shakespeare’s wittiest comedy about love, responsibility, and careful use of social media. Bill Bodie, Linda “Spencer” Dye, Peter Eichman, Joshua Engel, and Christine Evangelista are part of the 15-member cast of this community theater production from Maryland’s rebellious, classics-focused troupe the Rude Mechanicals, a mix of professional and amateur artists. Performances are Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway. Greenbelt, Md. Tickets are $12 to $24. Call 301-441-8770 or visit www.rudemechanicals.com.
The other half of the unrivaled folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel comes to the Barns at Wolf Trap for several intimate concerts to perform from his vast repertoire. Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets are $82 to $97. Call 877-WOLFTRAP or visit www.wolftrap.org.
BRIAN GANZ WITH NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC
Strathmore’s resident orchestra presents the 10th annual recital with renowned pianist Brian Ganz, who is vying to become the world’s first to perform every note Fryderyk Chopin wrote for piano, more than 250 pieces in all. The latest iteration in Ganz’s “Extreme Chopin Quest” series showcases Chopin’s growth as a composer by comparing his early waltzes, polonaises, nocturnes, and marches to later, more advanced examples in those formats, including Funeral March and Polonaise-Fantaisie. Piotr Gajewski conducts. Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $29 to $79. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.
FOLGER CONSORT: PALESTRINA’S PERFECT ART
The acclaimed British vocal ensemble Stile Antico (see page XX) and Los Angeles’s Renaissance brass group Tesserae Baroque will join Washington’s early music ensemble for a “Bella Italia” concert focused on the music written by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina during the late Italian Renaissance in the 16th century. Set in the acoustically rich great nave of the Washington National Cathedral, the concert will also feature many works composed by Italian women composers of the same period, including Raffaella Aleotti, Maddalena Casulana, Sulpitia Cesis, and Leonora d’Este. The Consort will be represented by Robert Eisenstein on viol, Christopher Kendall on lute, and Webb Wiggins on portative organ. Robert Aubry Davis, host of WETA’s Around Town, will lead a discussion with the Eisenstein and other performers 90 minutes before the first performance (included in the ticket price). Friday, Feb. 7, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m. Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues NW. Tickets are $30 to $60. Call 202-537-2228 or visit www.folger.edu.
The L.A.-based duo of vocalist Asa Taccone and drummer Matthew Compton has been compared to Scissor Sisters and Tame Impala, though there is something unique about Electric Guest’s particular brand of breezy, summery electropop. Their music inhabits a sonic space that recalls constant sun and haze, a carefree yet vast and lonely place in a constant, unhurried sort of motion. The duo is joined on tour by Luke Top on bass guitar and Reese Richardson on guitar and keys. Friday, Feb. 7. Doors at 10 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $26. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.930.com.
Diehard fans, known as the Campers, travel far and wide to catch the fiery live performances, complete with full light show, of this progressive bluegrass band from Kalamazoo, Michigan, which aptly describes its sound as “mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll.” The quintet returns for what’s become an annual sojourn of two nights at the Anthem, helping to warm up your winter and kick-start another February. Cris Jacobs serves as the opening act for the show on Friday, Jan. 31, while Ghost Light does the honors on Saturday, Feb. 1. Doors at 6 p.m. The Anthem, 901 Wharf St. SW. Tickets are $42.50 to $65. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.theanthemdc.com.
JANE BUNNETT & MAQUEQUE
The internationally heralded Canadian jazz artist and multi-instrumentalist Bunnett started a project five years ago to record and mentor young Cuban female musicians. Now known as the all-female band Maqueque, Bunnett’s group in the past year alone has been voted one of the top 10 jazz groups by the prestigious DownBeat magazine’s critics poll and also snagged a Grammy nomination for their newest release, Oddara. The concert at the Atlas Performing Arts Center reunites the band with one of its founders, Daymé Arocena, who has gone on to solo acclaim. Sunday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. Sprenger Theatre in the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $14 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.
A blues-fired R&B singer with a countrified air and gospel roots, the small-town Georgia-reared Wright sometimes powers her smoky contralto to its full-throttle extremes, but the point is never to showboat. She never gets carried away or allows her focus to waver from the music, and the message of the music — with a remarkable repertoire of carefully crafted, well-refined songs to show for it. Wright’s songs are further bolstered by her skill, as an NPR critic put it, at being “a sophisticated straddler of down-home blues, jazz, gospel, folk, southern pop, and confessional singer-songwriter traditions.” Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $39.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com.
MARYLAND LYRIC OPERA: THAÏS
For its latest season, this young, singer-focused company founded by Brad Clark offers three new productions, all of which are dedicated to strong women as a toast to the centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment’s ratification, allowing women the right to vote. The offerings include Massanet’s Thaïs in a fully staged production helmed by Claudia Zahn, with Louis Salemno conducting the MDLO Orchestra and Chorus. Sarah Joy Miller leads a cast also including Louis Otey, Allegra de Vita, Hunter Enoch, and Joe Brent, plus a ballet performed by local dance troupe Sarah Ewing & Dancers. In French with English surtitles. Thursday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 1, at 2 p.m. Kay Theatre in the Clarice at the University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive. College Park. Tickets are $25 to $50. Call 301-405-ARTS or visit www.theclarice.umd.edu.
If you were asked to imagine an amalgamation of electronica, industrial rock, noise, and dance punk, something like MSTRKRFT would probably come to mind. In fact, the Canadian duo helped to define the gritty aesthetic of industrial dance music, with a sound best suited to dingy nightclubs and warehouse raves — and similar to that of the dance-punk band Death From Above 1979, another duo also featuring MSTRKRFT’s Jesse F. Keeler. KAI opens. Thursday, Feb. 6. Doors at 10 p.m. U Street Music Hall, 1115A U St. NW. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 202-588-1880 or visit www.ustreetmusichall.com.
NEWMYER FLYER’S LOVE SONGS: THE BEATLES VOL. 7
A wide array of talented pop vocalists from around the area are brought together to perform from the Fab Four’s epic catalog of songs celebrating love in its many forms. The seventh iteration of this concert features Ron Newmyer, Todd Wright, Cal Everett, Tom Lofgren along with the Lofgren Brothers (Mike and Mark, but not Nils of the E Street Band), Kipyn Martin, Magical Mystery Girls, Brian Simms, Bumper Jackson Duo, Brandon Combs, Chuck Sullivan, Ronnie Smith, John Trupp, Dave Egelhofer, and Brian Goodard. Saturday, Feb. 8. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $75. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.
PASSPORT TO THE WORLD OF MUSIC 2020
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 concludes this weekend with: “Griefcat” featuring songwriters Louisa Hall and Nardo Lily on Friday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m.; and a French Soiree featuring Veronneau singing iconic songs of Piaf, Aznavour, Trenet, Django, and more, on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. 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 www.creativecauldron.org.
PRESSENDA CHAMBER PLAYERS
Named for the Italian Pressenda instruments made in 1844 that are owned by two ensemble members, the Ensemble-in-Residence of the Washington Conservatory offers a program featuring the Duo for Two Cellos by Jean-Baptiste Barriere, Capriccio Sextet by Richard Strauss, and the G Major Quintet by Johannes Brahms. The players will include violinists Aaron Berofsky and Kathryn Votapek, viola players Amadi Azikiwe and Philippe Chao, and cellists Jan Mueller-Szeraws and Tobias Werner, the founding artistic director of the group. After the concert, guests are invited to attend an informal Wine & Words Q&A with the performers over complimentary beverages. Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. Westmoreland Congregational Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda. Free, with suggested donation of $20. Call 301-320-2770 or visit www.washingtonconservatory.org.
THE 9 SONGWRITER SERIES
Folk-rock musician Justin Trawick formed this collective a decade ago as a means to book venues for shows featuring Trawick and fellow local musicians, giving them a bigger audience and opportunities to improvise and collaborate, and giving audiences an easier way to discover a songwriter or band to love. Next week the series ventures north of D.C. to broaden these musicians’ exposure to Maryland suburbanites. Friday, Feb. 7. Doors at 6:30 p.m. The Soundry, 10221 Wincopin Circle, Columbia. Tickets are $15 to $20. Call 443-283-1200 or visit www.thesoundry.com.
WHITE FORD BRONCO
“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. 31. Doors at 7 p.m. Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. Tickets are $25 to $50. Call 877-987-6487 or visit www.unionstage.com.
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER: AILEY AT 60 TOUR
The celebrated dance company returns to the Kennedy Center, performing a different mix of repertory works at each performance, but all ending, per tradition, with Revelations, the masterpiece by the company’s namesake, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1989. The lineup includes Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Ounce of Faith, an exuberant expression of what’s possible when a young person is encouraged to dream, A Case of You from the company’s artistic director Judith Jamison, Ode by Jamar Roberts, which reflects on the beauty and fragility of life in a time of growing gun violence on Tuesday, Camille A. Brown’s City of Rain, a quietly intense work that honors the struggle of losing a friend, and Greenwood, a new commission from Donald Byrd that sheds light on the 1921 attack by a white mob that destroyed an affluent black neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and an exploration of the infinite possibilities of partnering in Lar Lubovitch’s Fandango. Feb. 4 through Feb. 9 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Tickets are $49 to $199. Call 202-467-4600 or visit kennedy-center.org for a complete schedule.
BILL T. JONES/ARNIE ZANE COMPANY: WHAT PROBLEM?
The revolutionary New York-based dance and performance ensemble led by Jones, a two-time Tony Award winner and Kennedy Center Honoree, comes to George Mason University, where Jones is an Artist-in-Residence, to perform a world-premiere production. Co-commissioned by the GMU Center for the Arts, What Problem? examines group identity and its relationship to being alone and is set to spoken word and live music. The work features three thought-provoking sections: Jones in a rare solo performance, Jones alongside members of his company, and finally Jones, the company, and 30 participants from the greater Northern Virginia community who helped with the creative development and rehearsal of the piece in the week leading up to its premiere. Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m. Concert Hall, 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax. Tickets are $29 to $48. Call 888-945-2468 or visit www.cfa.gmu.edu.
DANA TAI SOON BURGESS DANCE COMPANY: A TRIBUTE TO MARIAN ANDERSON
The National Portrait Gallery’s choreographer-in-residence has developed another new work inspired by a current exhibition at the Smithsonian museum, this time “One Life: Marian Anderson,” and in honor of Black History Month. Burgess’ tribute is an inspiring 30-minute piece reflecting on the contralto’s life, career, and historical standing as one of America’s greatest opera singers and civil rights icons. A cast of five dancers from Burgess’ company will perform a set of solo, duet, trio, and quartet dances that also weave in the exhibition’s artwork, and performed with accompaniment from pianist Jeffery Watson and soprano vocalist Millicent Scarlett. Scarlett will close the performance with Anderson’s iconic rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.” Monday, Feb. 3, Tuesday, Feb. 4, and Monday, Feb. 24, at 6:30 p.m., with a discussion prior to each performance led by exhibition curator Leslie Ureña about Anderson’s influence on the performing arts and American history. McEvoy Auditorium, 8th and F Streets. NW. Free, but early registration encouraged. Call 202-633-8300 or visit www.npg.si.edu or www.dtsbdc.org.
FLAMENCO VIVO/CARLOTA SANTANA: FLAMENCO REFLECTIONS
The New York-based Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, one of America’s leading flamenco companies, presents its newest production in a performance at Virginia’s Alden Theatre. Reflejos Flamencos celebrates the fundamental emotions connecting us while honoring the individual human spirit inherent in flamenco. Saturday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave. Tickets are $35 to $40. Call 703-790-0123 or visit www.mcleancenter.org.
PASSION FRUIT DANCE COMPANY: DANCE WITHIN YOUR DANCE
“What is the groove? How do you find it? How much weight does it hold in self-expression?” Those are the questions raised by the latest work routed in hip-hop and house dance styles and rhythms from choreographer Tatiana Desardouin and presented by her four-year-old New York-based street dance company, featuring core members Mai Lê Hô and Lauriane Ogay. Passion Fruit Dance Company promotes the authenticity of street and clubbing dance styles, aka social dances, while highlighting and exploring different social issues and individuals. Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m. Dance Place, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $15 to $30. Call 202-269-1600 or visit www.danceplace.org.
SHAWN STONE & MOVEMENT GRAFFITI: SHIFTING TECHNOLOGIA
A series of works that use trash “as a symbol of abandoned connection between the earth and ourselves,” SHiFTiNG TECHNOLOGiA draws a link between environmental issues and individual concerns from trash to self-love and acceptance — as conveyed through dance and movement as well as visual art and voice. It all stems from the creative mind and physical body of Stone, a college gymnast and professional acrobat for popular shows in Las Vegas and at Sea World in San Diego — until a spine injury ultimately altered his focus to work in the fields of classical dance and abstract painting. Stone earned his MFA in Dance from the University of Maryland last year with a version of this work, which premieres as an evening-length production. Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2, at 4 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, Md. Tickets are $10 to $25. Call 301-699-1819 or visit www.joesmovement.org.
THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA: SLEEPING BEAUTY
Canada’s esteemed ballet company concludes its engagement at the Kennedy Center with the classic ballet, set to Tchaikovsky’s captivating music, that put the company on the international map when choreographer Rudolf Nureyev brought it to the company in 1972 and chose for the title role Karen Kain, then a principal dancer, now artistic director. Kain’s staging of the ballet is faithful to Nureyev’s vision, itself based on Marius Petipa’s original choreography. Thursday, Jan. 30, and Friday, Jan.31, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1, at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 2., at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $29 to $149. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
AWKWARD SEX…AND THE CITY: VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL
Comedians from New York relive their most awkward sex/dating/relationship moments on stage at this naughty and raunchy annual storytelling event, which returns to the Black Cat. Comedian and Towleroad columnist Bobby Hankinson will add his awkward gay tales to an otherwise all-female show featuring Jen Keefe, Anita Flores, and Karolena Theresa, with host Natalie Wall. Saturday, Feb. 8. Doors at 8 p.m. 1811 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-667-4490 or visit www.blackcatdc.com.
FOLGER FRIDAY: HYSTERICAL WOMEN: A NIGHT OF STANDUP AND IMPROV
A handful of D.C.’s funniest women will take the stage at Folger Theatre to perform stand-up nodding to the production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Set for two hours before the performance of Shakespeare’s comedy of feminine wiles, this Folger Friday stand-up event features Elahe Izadi, Kasha Patel, and Denise Taylor and is headlined by Washington Improv Theater’s all-female-identifying ensemble Hellcat. Friday, Jan. 31, at 6 p.m. 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets are $12 including fee. Call 202-544-7077 or visit www.folger.edu.
ROSS MATHEWS: NAME DROP TOUR
It’s been nearly five years since Mathews was seen atop Marriott International’s float, officiating a gay wedding ceremony during the Capital Pride Parade just weeks before the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. He’s since popped up all over television, from serving as a regular judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race to coming in second (after Marissa Jaret Winokur) on the first American edition of Celebrity Big Brother. By now, we’ve all gotten to know the funny, sweet man who got his start as the all-caps GAY intern on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno two decades ago. He appears for a night of stand-up as part of a promotional tour for his latest memoir, Name Drop: The Really Good Celebrity Stories I Usually Only Tell at Happy Hour, set for release next week. Sunday, Feb. 9. Doors at 6 p.m. 535 8th St. SE. Tickets are $35, or $100 for VIP Meet & Greet. Call 202-400-3210 or visit www.themiracletheatre.com.
THE TIME MACHINE ROAST
A comedy roast of nerdy, historic proportions, with a focus on dead celebrities — particularly heretofore hallowed, Hall of Famer-types, from emperors to inventors to entrepreneurs, more often than not straight, white men. That’s the name of the game at this show created by D.C.-based comedian and writer Benjy Himmelfarb and the late Dylan Meyer. Fellow nationally touring comedians join Himmelfarb for the roasting pursuit, getting into character and costume for “the meanest, funniest, most historically accurate jokes you’ve ever heard.” Friday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. Studio K in the REACH at the Kennedy Center. Tickets are $20 to $25. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
WASHINGTON IMPROV THEATER: ROAD SHOW
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 www.witdc.org.
IN MEMORIAM: TONI MORRISON, 1931-2019
In recognition of the significant cultural loss with the recent passing of Toni Morrison, the National Portrait Gallery displays Robert McCurdy’s painted portrait of the Pulitzer Prize- and Nobel Prize-winning author of Song of Solomon and Beloved. McCurdy’s portrait, based on an expressionless photograph he captured of Morrison “that has no implied past or future but exists in the eternal present,” has been added to the larger exhibition Twentieth Century Americans: 2000 to Present on the museum’s third floor. To Jan. 31. 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit www.npg.si.edu.
IT’S SOMETHING ABOUT COLOR: PAINTINGS BY JOAN BIXLER
A new exhibition at downtown’s Touchstone Gallery features a variety of vibrant, even exuberant artworks by Joan Bixler, reflecting the Northern Virginia artist’s love of color and her fascination with the interactions of light, shadows, and shapes. In large-scale paintings, Bixler often uses color and forms to create the effects of texture and depth, occasionally accenting or emphasizing things with the application of gold leaf, iridescent paint, or Venetian plaster — all touches that draw from Bixler Studios LLC, her decorative painting company serving commercial clients in the region. Closing Reception is Saturday, Feb. 1. Gallery C, 901 New York Ave. NW Call 202-347-2787 or visit www.touchstonegallery.com.
With several murals in the D.C. area, many of which were commissioned by the Latin American Youth Center, you’ve likely seen the work of Laya Monarez. The bisexual transgender Latinx artist, who works by day at HRC, gets the spotlight at the art gallery in the DC Center for the LGBT Community through a display of her mixed-media work revealing the influence of famous surrealists ranging from Salvador Dali to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The opening reception and artist talk, including lite fare and drinks, is Saturday, Feb. 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. Center Arts Gallery, 2000 14th St. NW. Call 202-682-2245 or visit www.thedccenter.org.
MK BAILEY: FEVER DREAM
Since the first full week in January, MK Bailey has been constructing a life-size, evolving collage in the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop through her work as the 2020 Gallery Artist Resident. This planned, five-week installation will continue to grow and adapt as Bailey responds to the gallery environment, and the evolution of the work will be documented through a series of paintings Bailey will make over the course of her residency. Bailey is a D.C.-based artist known for her oil paintings exploring themes of femininity, kinship, and death that are often unexpectedly colorful images at the individual level but that tell a darker narrative when layered and collaged together. The opening reception is Friday, Jan 31, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Bailey will be in residency until Feb. 10. Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. SE. Call 202-547-6839 or visit www.chaw.org.
MY QUEER VALENTINE
The contemporary exhibitions space of Old Town Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory Art Center presents a new group show focused on love and relationships from the LGBTQ perspective — with a diversity in perspective as well as in style, medium, and tone on display. Andy Johnson, director of Gallery 102 at George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, served as the exhibition juror, ultimately selecting 16 artists, 8 of them from Virginia or the D.C. area: Veronica Barker-Barzel, Miki Beyer, Aurele Gould, Linda Hesh, Annika Papke, Lucas J. Rougeux, Todd Stonnell, and Matt Storm. Also represented are Adam David Bencomo, Mandy Chesney, and Cat Gunn, all from Baltimore. “My Queer Valentine is as much a love letter to ourselves as it is a disclosing of longing to our community,” Johnson says in a press note about the show. To March 8. A public reception, with a juror talk, interactive performance art, kissing booth, and DIY art-making activities, is set for Friday, Feb. 14, from 7 to 10 p.m. Target Gallery, 105 North Union St. Call 703-838-4565 or visit www.torpedofactory.org.
PRESENT TENSE: DC PUNK AND DIY RIGHT NOW
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. Exhibition runs to Feb. 29, with an Artist Talk 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). 1404 P St. NW. Call 202-483-1102 or visit www.transformerdc.org.
WHEN WE FIRST ARRIVED
Before officially launching The Corner, Whitman-Walker will open the doors of its new cultural center for an art exhibition intended to increase community awareness about the nearly 7,000 asylum-seeking children who have been separated from their families and are being detained in holding pens by the U.S. government. More specifically, the exhibition features donated works of art by leading visual artists created in response to interviews with some of the detained children sharing their experiences. The exhibition has been curated by the Corner’s new executive director Ruth Noack and organized in close collaboration with DYKWTCA — an art initiative, led by artists Mary Ellen Carroll and Lucas Michael, whose name is an acronym for Do You Know Where The Children Are? More than 100 artists are represented, among them Jesse Presley Jones, Kay Rosen, Amy Sillman, Walead Beshty, Boris Torres, Dan Graham, Molly Gochman, POPE.L, Lisa Tan, and Xaviera Simmons. Sales of the donated artworks will benefit the Safe Passage Project, Terra Firma, Innovation Law Lab, and Team Brownsville. To March 29. 1701 14th St. NW. Call 202-745-7000 or visit www.whitman-walker.org.
KENNEDY CENTER’S LUNAR NEW YEAR 2020 CELEBRATION
For the traditional Chinese calendar, the new year begins on the new moon — which in 2020 was last Saturday, Jan. 25. Fortunately, 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, ushering in the Year of the Rat, 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. 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. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.
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