Metro Weekly

Out On the Town: DC arts & entertainment highlights — February 13-19

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

Sonic the Hedgehog

FILM

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Another big-budget action-adventure based on a video game franchise and intended as the first of a new series, this Paramount Pictures release revolves around the misadventures of Sega’s blue anthropomorphic hedgehog, voiced by Ben Schwartz. Directed by Jeff Fowler, Sonic The Hedgehog follows Sonic in a quest, aided by small-town sheriff James Marsden, to avoid capture by the government and the tyrannical Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey), who wants to use Sonic’s powers for world domination. Opens Friday, Feb. 14. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com.

STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN

In addition to giving voice to the title character in Sonic The Hedgehog, Ben Schwartz also appears on screen next week as a failing stand-up comedian who finds an unexpected connection with an alcoholic dermatologist played by Billy Crystal. JxJ, the multidisciplinary arts project based in the newly renovated Edlavitch DCJCC, presents a run of Matt Ratner’s narrative feature, an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival, in which the two buddies eventually find the strength to start confronting their long-simmering regrets. Opens Wednesday, Feb. 19. To Feb. 27. Presented in the DCJCC’s new state-of-the-art, 140-seat Cafritz Hall.Tickets are $9 to $13. Call 202-777-3210 or visit www.jxjdc.org.

THE PHOTOGRAPH

Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield star in the main romantic drama to see release this year on Valentine’s Day. Stella Meghie’s The Photograph follows Rae as she delves into the life of her estranged mother, a famous photographer, after she dies unexpectedly. Along the way she meets Stanfield, a rising journalist who is writing a feature about her mother. Opens Friday, Feb. 14. Area theaters. Visit www.fandango.com.

The Road Warrior: Mel Gibson

THE ROAD WARRIOR

The last two Wednesdays in February, Landmark’s West End Cinema screens in succession the two hit 1980s sequels in George Miller’s post-apocalyptic franchise originally starring Mel Gibson as “Mad” Max Rockatansky. Gibson is joined by Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, set for 35th anniversary screenings on Wednesday, Feb. 26. But first, on Feb. 19, comes 1981’s The Road Warrior, widely considered one of the greatest action movies ever made, as well as one of the greatest sequels. The focus is on a man who rediscovers his humanity after helping a community of settlers defending themselves against a roving band of marauders in the barren Australian outback. Screenings are 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 www.landmarktheatres.com.

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

Landmark’s E Street Cinema presents its monthly run of Richard O’Brien’s camp classic, billed as the longest-running midnight movie in history. Landmark’s showings come with a live shadow cast from the Sonic Transducers, meaning it’s even more interactive than usual. Friday, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 15, at midnight. 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.

THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES

In 1956, four years before Jane Goodall ventured into the world of chimpanzees and seven years before Dian Fossey went to work with mountain gorillas, 23-year-old biologist Anne Innis Dagg made an unprecedented solo journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild. The world’s first “giraffologist” and the species she loves have each experienced triumphs as well as setbacks, both of which are captured in this new documentary. Filmmaker Alison Reid retraces the now 86-year-old Canadian scientist’s steps into the jungle while also drawing from her letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage to fashion what a New York Times review calls “a tale of zoological discovery, blatant sexism, and environmental alarm.” Opens Friday, Feb. 14. Landmark’s West End Cinema, 2301 M St. NW. Happy hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Call 202-534-1907 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.

WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL

The late New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael is widely regarded as the most influential film critic of all time — a distinction all the more notable given that she was a woman who made her mark in a thoroughly male-dominated field and chauvinistic industry. Sarah Jessica Parker reads from Kael’s reviews in Rob Garer’s documentary that weaves together well-chosen film clips, never-before-seen archival material and over 35 new interviews with a cadre of critical colleagues and celebrated filmmakers commenting on her work and influence, among them Camille Paglia, Molly Haskell, David Edelstein, Francis Ford Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, and David O. Russell. Opens Friday, Feb. 14. Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW. Call 202-452-7672 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com.

Rock Horror — Photo: Wilson Freeman

STAGE

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.

BOY

In the 1960s, a well-intentioned doctor convinces the parents of twin boys to raise one as a girl following a surgical accident. Inspired by true events, Anna Ziegler’s play explores the beauty of finding love, the complexity of gender identity, and the consequences of the choices we make for those we love. Susan Marie Rhea directs Keegan’s production starring John Jones, Lida Marie Benson, Karen Novack, Mike Kozemchak, and Vishwas. To March 7. 1742 Church St. NW. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com.

EXQUISITE AGONY

A 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winner for his drama Anna in the Tropics, Nilo Cruz directs GALA Hispanic Theatre’s new production of his magical realist romance Exquisite Agony. The cast includes GALA veteran Luz Nicolas, starring as opera singer Millie Marcel, a widow who fixates on the young transplant recipient now living with her dead husband’s heart. Joel Hernandez Lara plays Amer, the object of Millie’s obsession and desire. In Spanish with English surtitles. To March 1. 3333 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $55. Call 202-234-7174 or visit www.galatheatre.org. (André Hereford)

Gun Powder — Photo: Cameron Whitman

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.

PIPELINE

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. Extended to Feb. 23. 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.

SILENT SKY

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.

Christian Montgomery as Hanschen at James Mernin as Ernst — Photo: Todd Franson

SPRING AWAKENING

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 playing all the Adult Men and Tonya Beckman all the 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 KING’S SPEECH

David Seidler’s play, which inspired the 2010 Oscar-winning film of the same name, gets its D.C. debut as part of the “Broadway at the National” series. The King’s Speech focuses on the true story of King George VI and his efforts to overcome his shyness and profound stammer when he’s thrust onto the world stage on the brink of World War I after the abdication of his older brother Edward. Nick Westrate stars alongside Michael Bakkensen as the king’s unconventional speech therapist. To Feb. 16. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Tickets are $59 to $99. Call 202-628-6161 or visit www.thenationaldc.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 ROCKY HORROR SHOW

Dubbed a “quintessential queer theatrical experience,” Iron Crow’s 10th anniversary production of the Richard O’Brien’s famed cult musical, directed and choreographed by Quae Simpson, will be further enhanced by audience participation stunts and props, and even comes with a special midnight performance on Valentine’s Day. The cast includes Timothy David Copney as Frank ‘N’ Furter, Brett Klock as Brad, Bailey Walker as Janet, and Brandon Shaw McKnight as Rocky. To Feb. 16. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Tickets are $45, or $55 to $65 for VIP, including on-stage seating. Call 410-752-8558 or visit www.theatreproject.org.

Billy Gilman — Photo courtesy of Billy Gilman

MUSIC

A DAVID BOWIE VALENTINE

The music of the late, great Starman is performed by an eclectic mix of local acts for a special Valentine’s Day treat in the intimate performance space above all the treats to be had at the H Street location of Dangerously Delicious Pies. The lineup features the Jennifers, Sister Ex, Marshall Keith, Capital Offender, Taildraggers, Seven Door Sedan, Life on Mars, Tobias Hurwitz with Claudia Neuman, plus the promise of other “special guests.” Saturday, Feb. 15. Doors at 7:30 p.m. The Pie Shop DC, 1339 H St. NE. Tickets are $10. Call 202-398-7437 or visit www.pieshopdc.com.

BOWIE SYMPHONIC: BLACKSTAR

Strathmore pays tribute to the Starman’s final album, 2016’s stark yet adventurous Blackstar — albeit in wholly transformed form as a cello concerto, as conceived and arranged by composer, performer, and MIT professor Evan Ziporyn. The Israeli-born avant-garde cellist Maya Beiser, who the San Francisco Guardian has dubbed a “rock ‘n’ roll queen of contemporary music,” will perform the work accompanied by the Ambient Orchestra and musicians from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music. Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, Md. Tickets are $29 to $69. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

BILLY GILMAN

When Billy Gilman plays Pearl Street Warehouse next week, you can be sure he’ll sing “One Voice,” the Billboard hit he had in 2000 as an 11-year-old (albeit in a different key). Gilman sings everyone from Celine Dion to Adele, whose “When We Were Young” served as his calling card on NBC’s The Voice four years ago, when he got all four judges to spin around in their chairs. The Rhode Island native went on to become the Season 11 runner-up on Adam Levine’s team. Thursday, Feb. 20. Doors at 7 p.m. 33 Pearl St. SW. Tickets are $20 to $40. Call 202-380-9620 or visit www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com.

BUDAPEST FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA: MAHLER & DVOŘÁK

Former National Symphony Orchestra conductor Iván Fischer leads the Budapest Festival Orchestra, which over the past three decades has established itself as one of the world’s leading ensembles. Washington Performing Arts presents a concert at Strathmore pairing works by two late-Romantic composers. German contralto Gerhild Romberger will join to sing Kindertotenlieder by Mahler, who is also represented in the program with Blumine. Meanwhile, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 in G Major will be performed along with the “Misto klekani (Evening blessing)” from his Four Choruses. Friday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $35 to $105. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

CAPITAL ORCHESTRA FESTIVAL

Music Celebrations International (MCI) presents four top American youth orchestras in a performance at the Kennedy Center with this event, held every year over President’s Day Weekend. Featured this year are the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra from New York, Youth Orchestras of Charlotte (North Carolina), the Cherry Hill East Symphony Orchestra of New Jersey, and the Choate Rosemary Hall Orchestra from Connecticut. This year’s 7th annual festival program includes famed classical works, performed by the ensembles in succession, ranging from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol to DeFalla’s The Three Cornered Hat, Elgar’s Enigma Variations: Theme and Variation to Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite: Berceuse & Finale. Monday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. Concert Hall. Tickets are free but required and available from the presenter MCI. Call 800-395-2036 or visit wwww.capitalorchestrafestival.org.

CHEYENNE JACKSON & MEGAN HILTY WITH NSO POPS

Jackson and Hilty pair up for a series of shows that celebrate the songs that defined both their careers, as well as a heaping helping songs celebrating of love and romance in all its forms. Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $29 to $89. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org/nso/home. (Randy Shulman)

BLUE DOT JAZZ TROUPE

Rooted in the music of New Orleans, this modern rhythmic jazz ensemble mixes in blues, funk, Afro-Cuban, and pop to bring the signature American music genre to life in new and dynamic ways, with the intention of getting audiences moving and dancing. And since this past summer, they’ve been doing it three nights a week, performing live at Kramerbooks’ Afterwords Café, in the back of the venue, where patrons can enjoy late-night food as well as a host of literary-inspired cocktails and over 20 craft beers on tap. Thursdays from 9 to 11 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to midnight. 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-387-3825 or visit www.kramers.com.

NATIONAL CHAMBER ENSEMBLE: VALENTINE’S SALUTE TO BENNY GOODMAN

Clarinet star Julian Milkis, the only student and renowned protégé of jazz great Benny Goodman, joins this Arlington-based group led by Leonid Sushansky for a tribute concert co-presented by the Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia. Milkis will be accompanied by a quartet featuring pianist Carlos Cesar Rodriguez, violinist Sushansky, double bassist Ephriam Wolfolk Jr., and drummer Leland Nakamura. The program includes some of Goodman’s most popular jazz and classical compositions, from “Glory of Love” to his takes on Paganini’s “Caprice No. 24” and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Theater 1 in Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St. Arlington. Tickets are $18 to $36, including post-performance reception with hors d’oeuvres. Call 703-276-6701 or visit www.nationalchamberensemble.org.

NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC: BLACK CLASSICAL MUSIC PIONEERS

Musical works by prolific African-American composers of the past two centuries will be celebrated in a concert from Strathmore’s resident orchestra, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski. Classical music’s traditional European musical forms gain a new vibrancy through the influence of African-American traditions and the blending of classical and popular styles in this program. The bill features Wynton Marsalis’s Wild Strumming of Fiddle, a jazzy symphonic piece that comes from a remarkable 12-movement work, George Walker’s Lyric for Strings, a work of intimate beauty by the first African-American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and William Grant Still’s blues- and jazz-inflected Symphony No. 1 (Afro-American), the first symphony written by an African-American composer. Meanwhile, the orchestra will also perform a work by the woman widely recognized as the first African-American female composer, Florence Price. Price’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major will feature soloist Melissa White, the Sphinx Competition winner, founding member of the Harlem Quartet, and featured soloist on the soundtrack to last year’s horror film Us. Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. The Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. Tickets are $29 to $89. Call 301-581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MAHLER & SCHUBERT

Franz Schubert packs a lifetime of hope, suffering, and joy into the two movements that comprise his Symphony No. 8. The work is commonly referred to as “Unfinished,” although that’s not exactly true: The composer lived for another six years after the work’s debut. The NSO will perform the masterpiece as part of a program that ends with a very contrasting work, Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. This powerful showpiece is long and wide-ranging, lasting over an hour in length and covering great emotional range, juggling tender passages with bouts of rage, and expressions of joy and sorrow. Gianandrea Noseda conducts. Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Tickets are $15 to $104. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

NEW ORCHESTRA OF WASHINGTON: A POET’S LOVE: IT’S COMPLICATED!

The small chamber ensemble led by the husband-and-wife team of artistic director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez and executive director and pianist Grace Cho offers a Valentine’s Day program focused on Christian Jost’s contemporary reinterpretation of Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love), Robert Schumann’s song cycle from 1840 with texts drawn from poet Heinrich Heine’s Lyrisches Intermezzo. While Jost was in the middle of developing his “reimagined” version of the romantic classic, chiefly one featuring a female vocalist rather than the traditional male lead, his wife, mezzo-soprano Stella Doufexis, succumbed to an aggressive form of cancer. Charged with the pain of her death, Jost completed his deconstructed and deeply personal Dichterliebe in 2017 for voice and nine instruments. NOW readies the work’s U.S. premiere with performances featuring mezzo-soprano Devony Smith and tenor Vale Rideout, who will also perform Schumann’s original. Jay Brock directs. Friday, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. Live! at 10th and G, 945 G ST. NW. Tickets are $15 to $45, which includes a pre-concert reception with wine and dessert at 7:30 p.m. Call 202-628-4317 or visit www.facebook.com/liveat10thandg.

SHACARA ROGERS

An adjunct professor of music at Howard University in the area of jazz voice, the Philadelphia native is presented as the Valentine’s Day treat at the Hill Center, per its Street Scenes concert series curated by Shannon Gunn. A former lead soloist with Howard’s premier vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue who has also placed high in various vocal competitions, including garnering 1st runner up in the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Jazz Competition, Rogers released 16 Moments, her debut solo album, in 2018. Friday, Feb. 14. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Tickets are $25 and include a glass of prosecco. Call 202-549-4172 or visit www.HillCenterDC.org.

SUPER DIAMOND: THE NEIL DIAMOND TRIBUTE

From “Sweet Caroline” to “Heartlight,” the San Francisco-based Super Diamond has Neil Diamond covered, literally — and with a ringing endorsement by the legend himself. Thursday, Feb. 20. Doors at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $25. Call 202-265-0930 or visit www.930.com.

THE IN SERIES: LE CABARET DE CARMEN

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.” After a largely sold-out run at the Source in D.C., the company reprises the work in Baltimore, kicking off with a Pride Night Performance on Friday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m., including a post-show exclusive champagne toast with the artists. After the performance the next night, Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. comes a post-show all-levels tango lesson with Baltimore’s own Roger Peterson. And prior to the last performance, Sunday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m., comes a special Carmen Look IN discussion. Baltimore Theatre Project, 45 West Preston St. Baltimore. Tickets are $20 to $30. Call 202-204-7763 or visit www.theatreproject.org. www.inseries.org.

THE NEW ORLEANS SUSPECTS

The Hamilton Live! hosts a concert dubbed the official after-party for the Tedeschi Trucks Band shows taking place around the corner at the Warner Theatre. And that’s just the second of two concerts on tap on Saturday, Feb. 15, featuring a supergroup that arose from Crescent City 10 years ago. The New Orleans Suspects features some of the most highly respected players in town, including guitarist Jake Eckert, formerly of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, saxophonist Jeff Watkins (the James Brown Band), pianist CR Gruver, drummer “Mean” Willie Green (Neville Bros.), and bassist Reggie Scanlan (Radiators). The band tours in support of its recent set Live at the Hamilton, capturing the best of a two-night stint from NYE 2018 at the celebrated D.C. venue. 600 14th St. NW. Tickets are $20 to $30 for the regular show, with doors at 6:30 p.m., and $10 for the After-Party, with doors at 11:30 p.m. Call 202-787-1000 or visit www.thehamiltondc.com.

THE VICTORIAN LYRIC OPERA COMPANY: THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

Maryland’s Victorian Lyric Opera Company presents a new take on the beloved Gilbert & Sullivan operetta. Director Amy Sullivan helms a Classic Hollywood-inspired production, fully staged with a 1940s-esque set intended to evoke the glitz and glamour of movie musicals of the era — though the action still takes place over Leap Day in the Victorian Era. Expect to hear the classic songs “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” and “Poor Wand’ring One.” Performances are Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, Feb. 29, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 1, at 2 p.m. F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at the Rockville Civic Center, 603 Edmonston Dr. Rockville. Tickets are $20 to $24. Call 240-314-8690 or visit www.vloc.org.

DANCE

AMERICAN BALLET THEATER: GISELLE

ABT, decreed “America’s National Ballet Company” by an act of Congress in 2006, returns for its annual run of shows at the Kennedy Center, this time to perform a beloved ballet classic over Valentine’s Day. A quintessential tale of unrequited love, heartbreaking loss, and triumphant forgiveness, Giselle is performed with live accompaniment by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and per Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie’s celebrated staging. A rotating cast of ABT’s principal dancers includes Stella Abrera in the title role as part of the veteran ballerina’s year-long swan song before retirement and opposite James Whiteside as Albrecht, the man who breaks her heart, at the matinee performance on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 1:30 p.m. Performances to Sunday, Feb. 16. Opera House Tickets are $49 to $295. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

DANCETHOS: 10 YEAR GALA CONCERT

Ten years since choreographer Tiffany Haughn founded DancEthos, the D.C.-based contemporary dance company returns to where it all started, Dance Place, in a performance showcase of work by Haughn, company member Emilia Kawashima, and guest choreographer Da’Shown Rawl, accompanied by RawArts Dance and the West Shore Piano Trio. Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Theater, 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are $20 to $30 for Saturday, including a post-concert reception and dance party, or $10 to $20 for Sunday. Call 202-269-1600 or visit www.danceplace.org.

DISSONANCE DANCE THEATRE: DIASPORA

As part of this year’s Intersections festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, the gay-led Dissonance Dance Theatre offers an evening-length program celebrating West African, Caribbean, South American, and American music by performing works of contemporary ballet and modern dances set to soca, blues, samba, and soul, among others. According to the company, “Diaspora aggressively blends contemporary ballet against the tapestry of urban and indigenous culture.” An artist talk-back will follow the performance. Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8:15 p.m. Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St. NE. Tickets are $30 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org.

 

COMEDY

IMPROBABLE COMEDY: SWEET & SOUR VALENTINE’S DAY COMEDY SHOW

A love-themed show about Valentine’s Day that isn’t only lovey dovey, the latest from this Maryland-based organization “will celebrate love and roast the holiday that brings it to us on a candy-red, heart-shaped platter.” The lineup of local talent includes Melissa Douty, Mike Brown, Maddox Pennington, and Anthony Oakes. Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier, Md. Tickets are $15 to $25. Call 301-699-1819 or visit www.joesmovement.org.

JOSH WOLF

You may remember the cute, gay-friendly straight comic from his regular stints on Chelsea Lately — or from his more recent collaboration with Ross Mathews on the “Josh and Ross” podcast, giving the straight spin on pop culture. The Boston-born, L.A.-based writer/performer returns to the Arlington Drafthouse for another holiday run of shows, this time over Valentine’s Day weekend. Friday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 and 10 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, at 7 and 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. 2903 Columbia Pike. Tickets are $25. Call 703-486-2345 or visit www.arlingtondrafthouse.com.

JYNX COMEDY NIGHT

The Brookland location of Busboys and Poets plays host to a monthly showcase of women-identifying, non-binary, and LGBTQ comedians produced by Project Thalia founder Angela Hamilton. Each edition of Jynx is intended to be “supportive and empowering,” and fosters an “atmosphere of caring, compassion, and kindness.” The love-infused February edition of 2020 is headlined by Violet Gray (Night Train with Wyatt Cenac) and hosted by Gigi Modrich, and also featuring Hamilton, Sofia Javed, IO Duarte, and Kirsten Eyles. Also on tap is a performance from Misbehavin’ Maidens, described as “a bawdy, nerd-folk comedy band with a love of feminist, sex-positive music and LGBTQIA+ representation.” Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. 625 Monroe St. NE. Call 202-636-7230 or visit www.busboysandpoets.com.

 

READINGS & LECTURES

DAN PFEIFFER

President Obama’s former communications director and co-host of Pod Save America offers a playbook for fixing the current desultory state of politics as well as defeating Trump and preventing another Trump-like leader in the future. Pfeiffer, who in his book “Un-Trumping America: A Plan to Make America a Democracy Again,” urges Democrats to embrace bold solutions, from fixing the courts to abolishing the Electoral College, will be in conversation with Jennifer Palmieri, former communications director for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. Sixth & I Historic Synagogue. 600 I St. NW. Tickets are $35 including one book, or $50 for one book and two tickets. Call 202-408-3100 or visit www.sixthandi.org.

MARK STEIN

“The Presidential Fringe: Questing and Jesting for the Oval Office” is a look at 30 fringe candidates who have run for the U.S. presidency, including several “firsts” — Victoria Woodhull, the first women candidate, George E. Taylor, the first African-American candidate, and Joan Jett Blakk, the first openly gay drag queen candidate. According to Stein, whose previous bestseller “How the States Got Their Shapes” became the source for the History Channel series of the same name, these candidates have had more than negligible influence on American politics by helping draw attention to overlooked constituencies and influencing mainstream candidates and future elections. Sunday, Feb. 16, at 5 p.m. Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Call 202-364-1919 or visit www.politics-prose.com.

STORY DISTRICT: SUCKER FOR LOVE

Stephanie Garibaldi has long thought of herself as “the Charlie Brown of Valentine’s Day,” but her disdain for the manufactured holiday ended a dozen years ago when she took matters into her own hands and developed the Story District program “Sucker for Love.” As the organization’s director of education, Garibaldi worked with freelance photographer Keith Mellnick to handpick storytellers for a 12th annual Valentine’s Day-themed showcase, coaching them individually and as a group in a series of rehearsals leading up to the big night at the Lincoln Theatre. In addition to co-directors Garibaldi and Mellnick, this year’s cast of storytellers also includes Diane Parker Mullens, Dr. Antwan Perry, Christin Ross, Robin Doody, Sheri Denkensohn-Trott, Adam Stanzione, Erika Ettin, and Nick Newlin. Friday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. 1215 U St. NW. Tickets are $30 to $40. Call 202-328-6000 or visit www.thelincolndc.com.

My Queer Valentine: Torpedo Factory Art Center, Target Gallery

ART & EXHIBITS

LONG VIEW GALLERY: NEW YEAR/NEW ARTISTS

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. Through Feb. 16. 1234 9th St. NW. Call 202-232-4788 or visit www.longviewgallery.com.

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. 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.

OUTBREAKS: EPIDEMICS IN A CONNECTED WORLD

To mark the 100th anniversary of the Great Influenza, the Smithsonian offers an exhibition on epidemiology and human health that, per the spread of coronavirus, shows itself to be as timely as ever. From HIV to SARS to Ebola, Outbreaks shows how viruses can spread from animals to people, why some infectious diseases become pandemics, and the collaborative ways many have been stopped or curtailed. Today, pandemic diseases remain one of the greatest threats to individuals and society, due to an increasingly interconnected, increasingly mobile, increasingly urbanized and industrialized global world. Ongoing to 2021. National Museum of Natural History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit mnh.si.edu.

SECTION 14: THE OTHER PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA

Before it became a gay desert mecca and a resort for the rich and famous, Palm Springs was a desert outpost — as well as home to the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation. The National Museum of the American Indian shines a light on a land battle in Palm Springs, yet another in a long string of conflicts between western expansion and Indigenous peoples’ rights. The focus is on Section 14, a one-square-mile tract in downtown Palm Springs that forms the heart of the reservation. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians created the exhibition, which was organized by the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. Ends Feb. 17. National Museum of the American Indian, Independence Avenue at 4th Street SW. Call 202-633-1000 or visit www.nmai.si.edu.

THE INFINITE IN THE INTIMATE: DRAWINGS BY WESLEY BERG

Created using a few graphite pencils and light washes of watercolor on paper, Berg’s drawings are playful, humorous, and simplified, and intended to appear as though they simply “happened.” Individual elements of line, gesture, and color add curious touches to the works, which ask questions of space and dimension. To Feb. 15. Adah Rose Gallery, 3766 Howard Ave. Kensington, Md. Call 301-922-0162 or visit www.adahrosegallery.com.

THE OUTWIN 2019: AMERICAN PORTRAITURE TODAY

Every three years, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery showcases finalists of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, named for a late benefactor. A total of 46 works are on display from the latest edition, selected last year by a panel of jurors from more than 2,600 submissions, all from American artists who were instructed to respond “to the current political and social context.” Hugo Crosthwaite’s A Portrait of Berenice Sarmiento Chávez, a three-minute video of stop-motion animation, took First Prize, with Second Prize awarded to Sam Comen’s portrait of Jesus Sera, Dishwasher, and Third Prize a tie between Richard Greene’s portrait of Monroe, LA and Wayde McIntosh’s oil painting titled Legacy. Among the notable finalists with LGBTQ themes, there’s: Tom Atwood’s Alan Cumming, a photo of the actor seen shirtless and in his own library; queer photographer Jess T. Dugan’s Jamie and Ann, featuring a breast cancer survivor embraced by another shirtless woman; Shimon Attie’s Night Watch, a 10-minute video work featuring silent portraits of individuals, most of them LGBTQ, who’ve been granted political asylum in the U.S.; Zun Lee’s Brendan and Tyrice, a vivid and intimate photograph of a young black man helping his male partner learn how to float in a swimming pool; and Louie Palu’s Nikki in Chinatown, a black-and-white photo of a young teen member of Check It, D.C.’s black LGBTQ collective. Now to Aug. 30. 8th and F Streets. NW. Call 202-633-8300 or visit www.npg.si.edu.

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.

Capital Remodeling and Home show: George Oliphant

ABOVE AND BEYOND

ART X ACTIVISM: QUEERING THE VISUAL

The Library of Congress and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts present a panel discussion as part of its LGBTQ Changemakers series. The next panel features Joshua Vogelsong (Donna Slash), Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, Jason Barnes (Pussy Noir), Olessa Marie Ghadar, and Jesse Meadows, and will be moderated by local librarian and musician Nicholas Alexander Brown of Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. Monday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m. The Justice Forum in the REACH. Tickets are free, distributed two per person in the Welcome Pavilion starting at 5 p.m. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

ATLAS INTERSECTIONS FESTIVAL 2020

Since it opened 15 years ago in a renovated former Art Deco movie palace, the Atlas Performing Arts Center has had a visible impact on its H Street Corridor neighborhood through its regular work in presenting “art that informs, educates, enlightens, and inspires,” as the institution’s executive director Doug Yeuell puts it. That is also essentially the goal of Intersections, a festival that aims to showcase art that makes “a difference in our society, culture and world.” The 11th annual festival, set for the last two weekends in February, will offer over 50 performances from artists ranging from musicians to filmmakers, dancers to speakers. The festival officially launches on Thursday, Feb. 20, with a concert by folk-pop singer Malinda and her band as part of a launch party with light bites and drink starting at 7 p.m. The first actual Intersections event, however, takes place the night before — Wednesday, Feb. 19 — with the Author Talk + Book Signing featuring R. Eric Thomas, author/essayist of Here For It, in conversation with Washington Post culture writer Elahe Izadi. Wednesday also sees the opening of Youth Scene DC, an exhibition of photographs by local youth set up in the Great Hall and organized by eXposure Media Project DC. Other highlights to come in the opening weekend: a performance of Elizabeth McCain’s one-woman-play A Lesbian Belle Tells… on Saturday, Feb. 21; the dance-theater program Small Creatures featuring the works of choreographers Jess Hoversen and Mariah Lopez, on Sunday, Feb. 22; and the Diaspora program from the gay-led Dissonance Dance Theatre, also on Sunday, Feb. 22. Runs to March 1. 1333 H St. NE. A festival pass is $85; tickets to the Launch Party are $45, or $25 for the concert only; individual ticket prices vary. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org/intersections for a full schedule and details.

BURLESQUE-A-PADES IN LOVELAND

New York’s Angie Pontani, billed as the “International Queen of Burlesque,” presents the 13th anniversary of a Valentine’s Day show mixing performances in the revived art of striptease with magic, music, dance, and comedy. New York drag king and transgender comedian Murray “Mister Showbiz” Hill returns as host of an evening featuring performances by Miss Exotic World Champion aka Potani, LGBTQ burlesque dancer The Maine Attraction, Gal Friday, Ben Franklin, Joshua Dean, plus “more guests TBA!” Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. Tickets are $29.50. Call 703-549-7500 or visit www.birchmere.com.

CAPITAL REMODEL + GARDEN SHOW

George Oliphant of NBC’s George to the Rescue, the home renovation series featuring interior designers and contractors teaming up to help familes and communities with much-needed home repairs, headlines this show at the Dulles Expo Center. Presented by Marketplace Events, the focus of the February show is on gardening and landscaping. In addition to Oliphant, who appears on the Main Home Stage on Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, attendees to this year’s show will be able to hear and even solicit advice, gather information and purchase services from experts in the home remodeling, renovation, home décor, landscape and garden design fields. All told, more than 300 exhibitors are set to attend. A central feature is on the nearly 3,000 square feet of garden space overseen by three large local garden and landscape companies — Blue Sky Landscaping, Meadows Farms, and Premium Lawn & Landscape — showcasing new looks, techniques, and technology to inspire attendees to start their spring projects in everything from gardening and landscaping, to patios and outdoor furniture, to water features. Also, Merrifield Garden Center will present a Flower Market filled with fresh flowers and plants and related goods for purchase. Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Virginia. Tickets are $12 at the box office or $9 online, or free for military and first responders on Friday, Feb. 21 and federal employees with government ID on Sunday, Feb. 23. Call 800-274-6948 or visit www.capitalremodelandgarden.com.

GILDED LILY BURLESQUE

The Baltimore burlesque troupe presents its 11th annual Valentine’s “Tassels & Champagne” show, with this year’s theme, “We Love You Baltimore.” Baltimore favorites on tap to perform include Kittie Glitter, the femcee of Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club, Naimah, tribal belly dancer and co-director of “Art of the Belly,” “Butter-faced Beauty Queen” Betty O’Hellno, Tapitha Kix of Twisted Knickers Burlesque, “Baltimore’s Sicilian Queen” Maria Bella, and three Gilded Lily stars: Ruby Spruce aka “The Attractive Nuisance of Baltimore Burlesque,” GiGi Holliday aka “Chocolate That Melts Your Heart” and “The Uncontainable Mourna Handful.” There’ll also be a Moonstruck Market featuring handmade burlesque accessories from local vendors and a V-Day Photo Booth brought to you by Mab’s Mobile Midway. Friday, Feb. 14, at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave. Baltimore. Tickets are $25 to $28, or $63 to $68 for two tickets and a bottle of Champagne, $135 for two tickets, a reserved table, bubbly, and chocolates. Call 410-276-1651 or visit www.creativealliance.org.

PRETTY BOI DRAG: OPEN KING NIGHT

Founded by former DC King Pretty Rik E, this troupe of drag kings expands on its original Amateur King Night to become a drag king “open mic,” welcoming of both seasoned drag dabblers as well as those who’d like to try their hand and throw their hat into the ring — “to feel what it’s like to get up there and show the world the king that lives inside” them in a safe, fun environment. The lineup for the Valentine’s Day-themed February show is already locked and ready to go, but interested performers are able to sign up for upcoming Open King Nights. Thursday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. The Brookland Busboys and Poets, 625 Monroe St. NE. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Call 202-636-7230 or visit www.prettyboidrag.com.

RAYCEEN PENDARVIS IS LIVING BLACK HISTORY

For the second consecutive year, Pendarvis will take part in a special LGBTQ-inclusive Black History Month event at the Cleveland Park Library. On Thursday, Feb. 20, Pendarvis leads an evening of live music, interviews, artwork and exhibitors, voter registration, and a display by Black Broadway on U. The first floor community room at 3310 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. Call 202-282-3080 or visit www.TeamRayceen.eventbrite.com.


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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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