Metro Weekly

Above and Beyond: Spring Arts Preview 2020

Comedy, Readings, Lectures, Spoken Word, Multimedia, Magic, Tastings, Tours, Drag Queens, Etc.

Russell Brand
Russell Brand

Non-musical nerds at DC9. Amateur porn at Black Cat. And YouTube and social media stars out and about all over. Those are the types of events for which this section was created, as a catch-all, of sorts, when something worth noting doesn’t fit any of the usual categories, defying genre boundaries and expectations. This is the section where drag queens elbow podcast hosts for space, all while comics and authors go about their regular order of business. And for news of your favorite TV show being brought to life on stage somewhere? Well, if we’re talking Schitt’s Creek — or heck, Hee Haw — read on…

Editor’s Note: Some events might be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Please check ahead with the individual venues.

9:30 CLUB

815 V St. NW

  • DiscoBENT — Another round of the club’s hit LGBTQ dance party featuring the sounds and styles of the 1970s as filtered through the music of JoAnn Fabrixx, Diyanna Monet, and the Sleaze DJs Lemz and Keenan Orr, with performances by Pussy Noir and Jaxknife Complex. A dollar from each ticket benefits SMYAL (4/18)
  • Brendan Schaub — Currently the co-host of hit comedy podcasts, The Fighter and the Kid and The King and the Sting, this L.A.-based comic performs standup at a seated show (5/9)


McLean Community Center
1234 Ingleside Ave.
McLean, Va.

  • Dorothy Meets Alice or The Wizard of Wonderland — Two of literature’s most famous gals meet somewhere between Oz and Wonderland in a comedy/adventure for all ages as adapted by Joseph Robinette, and performed by area youth actors and adult professionals in this Alden Community Arts production (3/28-4/5)
  • Earth Day McLean 2020: Act Locally — Area individuals and families can participate in the community’s environmental needs and solutions through a series of free activities, including onsite Document Shredding, Paint Collection (of old, unwanted cans), Bulk/Household Items Collection, and furnished packets of Tree Seedlings and Pollinator Seeds (for at-home planting) (4/18)
  • The Good Humor Men — Dubbed “The Rising Stars of Late-Night TV,” Moody McCarthy, Keith Alberstadt, and Pat Hazell are three stand-up comedians who’ve opted to join forces as a way to best showcase their humor and style (4/18-19)
  • Emil and the Detectives — A tale about children working together to uncover and outsmart a true criminal based on the classic German novella by Erich Kästner and adapted for the stage by Nicki Bloom (5/9)


11810 Grand Park Ave.
North Bethesda, Md.

  • Marina Franklin — Comedian featured in Trainwreck and on Chappelle’s Show (4/16)
  • Broadway’s Next Hit Musical — An improvised night promising “unscripted musical hilarity” (4/25)
  • Story District’s Mixtape (5/1)
  • Washington Improv Theater’s iMusical (6/5)


901 Wharf St. SW.

  • DC Brewer’s Ball — A benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, this 15th annual event will feature sample pours from over 40 popular breweries as well as bites from 30 area restaurants in its first year at the Anthem, capped off by a performance from popular local ’90s cover band White Ford Bronco (3/28)
  • Washington Justice — D.C.’s new esports team hosts its third Overwatch Homestand weekend of games (4/4)
  • Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience — Another craft beer showcase moving to the Anthem this year is this 13th annual event presented by the Brewers Association, which represents small and independent craft beer-makers nationwide, featuring more than 100 member breweries pouring over 200 beers, to be paired with small bites prepared by the association’s culinary team (5/15)
  • The Helen Hayes Awards — The annual ceremony presented by theatreWashington to honor the best work seen on local professional stages in the previous calendar year, referred to as the biggest night in local theater (5/18)


7719 Wisconsin Ave.

  • Mothers of Old — A musical stage play starring Ann Nesby, Grammy-winning former lead singer of Sounds of Blackness, along with Denise Lattimore, Bria Walker, Chris Murphy, Brandon Standard III, Nina Sol, and Debbie Kelly, presented by Shannon Whren Entertainment and Ameka J Productions (5/3)
  • Da’ Fresh Prince of Potomac — A dinner theater production of a stage play with an afterparty featuring the Frank Sirius Band (5/17)


3701 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, Va.

  • WATCH Awards Show — The annual ceremony for the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (3/22)
  • Remembering Hee Haw — Original cast members Jana Jae, Irlene Mandrell, and Lulu Roman aka “The Kornfield Friends” along with special guest T. Graham Brown come to town to celebrate the old TV variety show with “a night of great music and good ole country laughter” (5/15)


1811 14th St. NW

  • Lousy Humans — A local comedy show featuring Haywood Turnipseed Jr., Violet Gray, Chris Barylick, Sofia Javed, and Valerie Paschall (3/24)
  • Church Night (3/27)
  • Hump! Film Festival — The 15th annual showcase of quirky, bizarre, homemade porn curated by Dan Savage (4/2-4)
  • Mortified — A “Live Podcast” featuring people sharing “strange and extraordinary” stories and artifacts from their childhood (4/24)


601 F St. NW

  • April Fools Comedy Jam — Rip Michaels hosts this event featuring stand-up from Mo’Nique, Lil Duval, Anthony Anderson, Luenell, Brandon T. Jackson, Zoie Fenty, Spanky Hayes, Kleon The Comedian, and Arnez J., plus music by Rick Ross and 2 Chainz, with the important caveat that the lineup is “subject to change” (4/4)
  • The Dude Perfect Tour — YouTube sensations Dude Perfect, Tyler Toney, Cody Jones, Garrett Hilbert, and twins Coby and Cory Cotton offer a night of live crazy stunts, competitive battles, some scandalous and embarrassing stories, “outlandish stereotypes,” plus popular segments from their Overtime series such as Cool not Cool and Wheel Unfortunate with Ned Forrester (6/5)


1940 9th St. NW

  • Nerd Nite — Billed as “D.C.’s original science + nerd drinking event,” where select locals share their passions and unusual research, this month including Alan Katz on the history of federally funded theater and why that ended, Blake Klocke on the world’s nearly extinct frog species, and Taylor Winkleman on “How to Win a War with Balloon Animals: The Ghost Army of World War II” (3/14)
  • A People’s Choir DC — A themed bar sing-along, that “isn’t a performance, it’s a group effort” (3/24)


645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

  • Joe YounanCool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes from the gay Food and Dining Editor of the Washington Post and author of its Weeknight Vegetarian column (3/26)
  • Ngozi Ukazu Check, Please! Book 2: Sticks & Stones draws on the popular webcomic series from Ukazu, who dreamt up this tale of a gay hockey player and his story of coming out and falling in love with a college teammate (4/8)
  • Martha AckmannThe Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson offers an intimate, revealing portrait of one of America’s greatest — and queer — poets, from a Massachusetts-based author whose specialty is biographies of historical American women (4/23)


April 23 – May 3
Various Locations
Filmfest DC is back for its 34th year of bringing new and exciting international cinema to D.C. audiences. Roughly 80 films representing 45 countries are planned, with exact titles and schedule to be announced soon.


8656 Colesville Rd.
Silver Spring, Md.

  • Dave Rubin Don’t Burn This Book: Thinking for Yourself in an Age of Unreason is a forthcoming screed against “the Progressive Woke Machine” from the gay conservative rabblerouser and talk show host (4/30)
  • Mo Gilligan — The British stand-up comedian and talk show host crosses the pond on his There’s Mo To Life World Tour (5/21)
  • Jacksfilms Presents: YIAY LIVE! LIVE! — Maryland-native YouTube personality Jack Douglass offers a live show based on his popular series Yesterday I Asked You (YIAY) in which he gives fans a challenge or asks them a question and then picks his favorite responses (5/28)


511 10th St. NW

  • History on Foot Walking Tour: Investigation: Detective McDevitt – Follow a “detective” investigating the Lincoln assassination (3/25-October)
  • Abraham Lincoln Institute Symposium — The Abraham Lincoln Institute and Ford’s Theatre Society present a free one-day symposium on the life, career and legacy of the 16th president (3/21)


4155 Linnean Avenue NW

  • Natural Beauties: Exquisite Works of Minerals and Gems — Exhibition: The first such display at Hillwood focused on the stones and minerals that became works of art in the hands of masterful artisans (Now-6/7); and Lecture Series: Chief Curator Wilfried Zeisler on “Russian Malachite at Hillwood” (3/24); Jeffrey Post, chair of the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Mineral Sciences, on “Nature’s Art in Stone” (3/31); and the Freer|Sackler’s Curator of Chinese Art Jan Stuart on “Rocks As Art-A Chinese Tradition” (4/7)
  • Gardener’s Focus: An Orchid-Filled Greenhouse — Drew Asbury leads tours through Hillwood’s working greenhouse on most days in March, also known as Orchid Month
  • Fabergé Egg Family Festival — A two-day festival in which guests can take part in a traditional Russian egg-rolling game, decorate your own Fabergé-inspired egg, watch performances by the Samovar Russian Folk Music Ensemble and Kalinka Dance Ensemble, and hear stories of Russian Easter traditions in a fun family play produced by Happenstance Theater (4/4-5)
  • Kate Markert: A Garden for All Seasons — Hillwood’s executive director explores founder Marjorie Merriweather Post’s approach to creating an enchanting environment of mansions and gardens in a new book, featuring photography by Erik Kvalsvik, launched with a lecture and signing (4/15)
  • Gardener’s Focus: Earth Day — Hillwood head gardener Jessica Bonilla gives a talk and a tour about the estate’s environmental stewardship in a toast to the 50th anniversary of the environmental awareness holiday (4/22)
  • Roaring Twenties: The Life and Style of Marjorie Merriweather Post — Hillwood’s founder was an iconic tastemaker 100 years ago, and this special exhibition showcases her “impeccable attire, impressive art collection, and sumptuous design” (6/6-1/10/2021)
  • Divas Outdoors: The Great Gatsby — A screening of the 1974 adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford, with guests encouraged to don their finest twenties’ attire, and others competing in the best picnic spread competition (6/12)


227 Maple Ave. E.
Vienna, Va.

  • That1Guy — “An Evening of Musical Magical Wonder…The Likes of Which Ye Haven’t Yet Seen” featuring Mike Silverman and his main instrument, “a monstrosity of metal, strings, and electronics” he calls a Magic Pipe (3/16)
  • Miz Cracker — A finalist and fan favorite from RuPaul’s Drag Race presents “American Woman,” described as a show that “discusses how drag queens and gay men can become better allies to women in an age when feminism is more important than ever” (5/26, Miracle Theatre)
  • Cash and Maverick Baker — The Baker brothers are musicians and social media stars, particularly known from their joint TikTok account where they post comedy, lip-sync, and dance videos together; they tour with special guests Alli Haber and Savannah Maddison (7/9)



  • Direct Current: Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng — Queer performance artist draws from spoken-word poetry, special-effects makeup, the theater, and photography to navigate themes of queerness, indigenous culture, and other underrepresented narratives (3/13, Millennium Stage)
  • Direct Current: Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time (3/14, Justice Forum)
  • Direct Current: Screening of Ava DuVernay’s Selma (3/15, Justice Forum)
  • Mortified — A handful of presenters will share their most embarrassing childhood artifacts in order to reveal stories about themselves (3/27, The Club at Studio K)
  • Made in Puerto Rico — A one-man show about family, music, and cultural identity written by and starring attorney-turned-comedian Elizardi “Eli” Castro (4/2-4, Studio K)
  • Ira Glass: Seven Things I’ve Learned — The creator and host of This American Life will share lessons from his life and career in storytelling using audio clips, music, and video (4/11, Concert Hall)
  • Jazz Comedy Experiment with Jason Moran — The Kennedy Center’s artistic director for jazz teams up with the Second City for an experiment in improvisation across two different genres (4/16-18, Studio K)
  • The Music Critic — John Malkovich stars as a man who believes the music of Beethoven, Chopin, and Prokofiev, among others, to be weary and dreary, in a show written and conceived by Aleksey Igudesman and featuring the violinist alongside Hyung-ki Joo, his piano-playing partner in the classical music comedy duo Igudesman and Joo (4/28, Concert Hall)
  • Dulcé Sloan — The up-and-coming comic known from her work as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah returns to headline her own stand-up show (5/2, Terrace Theater)
  • The Second City’s One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State — A rapid-fire new show about the current state of politics mixing improvised and scripted material and interactive audience games (6/13-7/26, Theater Lab)


1517 Connecticut Ave. NW

  • Super Spectacular Comedy Show for Harm Reduction — Grassroots Comedy DC presents a night of stand-up comedy focused around the work of the evening’s partnering organization and beneficiary, HIPS DC, which assists and advocates for those engaged in sex work and the risks and stigma they face (3/13)
  • Taste of Iceland in D.C.: The Write Stuff — Two Icelandic female authors, Þóra Hjörleifsdóttir and Kristín Eiríksdóttir, will read from newly published books and engage in discussion with Iceland’s First Lady Eliza Reid, as part of a four-day festival ( showcasing the nation’s cuisine, music, literature, and film with events throughout the city (3/20)
  • Neal Simon Contract to Unite America: Ten Reforms to Reclaim Our Republic, written by a longtime advocate for political reform who ran as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland in 2018 on a platform of pushing for greater unity and a renewal of pragmatism (3/31)


1215 U St. NW

  • Whindersson Nunes — Brazilian comedian (3/16)
  • Letterkenny Live! — Stars of the popular Hulu-distributed TV sketch show venture out of the Great White North for a tour of the U.S. (3/20)
  • 2020 Wammie Awards — The Washington area’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards is now in its 32nd year (3/29)
  • Welcome to Night Vale: The Haunting of Night Vale — The latest episode of a podcast, styled as an old-timey radio show reporting on the strange and spooky occurrences in a fictitious small desert town, with narration by Cecil Baldwin, music by Disparition, and featuring rapper/singer Dessa (4/2)
  • Last Podcast on the Left The Last Book Tour on The Left (4/10)
  • Fortune Feimster — The laidback lesbian comic known from work on Chelsea Handler’s shows on E! and Netflix and more recently from recurring guest turns on RuPaul’s Drag Race and The L Word: Generation Q (4/18)
  • Haters Roast: The Shady Tour 2020 — A new season of RuPaul’s Drag Race brings with it new queens and new drama for a new, behind-the-scenes touring show presented by Murray & Peter (4/25)
  • Madeleine Albright Hell and Other Destinations is billed as a revealing, funny, and inspiring new memoir from the first female U.S. Secretary of State (4/27)
  • Watch What Crappens — Ben Mandelker and Ronnie Karam offer a live, touring show based on their acclaimed daily podcast in which the two best friends parody and riff on all things Bravo, often bolstered by “Bravolebrity” appearances (5/2)
  • Russell Brand Recovery Live builds on a 2017 best-selling book from the stand-up comic presenting his irreverent, modernized, and completely non-denominational interpretation of the 12-step program for addiction recovery, to show, in his own way, that “we are all a bit fucked” (5/28)
  • Bitch Sesh — Another Bravo-inspired podcast-cum-live touring show, this one based on the “Real Housewives Breakdown” featuring comedic actors Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider from Hulu’s satire series The Hotwives (7/31)
  • Sibling Rivalry: The Tour — Bob The Drag Queen and Monét X Change, winners of past Drag Race seasons, team up for a debut theatrical show and world tour, presented by Five Senses Reeling, bringing to life — you’ll never guess it! — another hit podcast (8/31)


101 MGM National Avenue
Oxon Hill, Md.

  • Jon Dorenbos — This former NFL football player’s second career developed after a third place finish on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent, performing his sleight-of-hand magic acts, which is what brings him to town (3/28)
  • Matt Fraser — A purported psychic medium as seen on E!’s Meet the Frasers (5/6)
  • Schitt’s Creek: The Farewell Tour — The cast of the hit comedy series, including the father-son co-creators Daniel and Eugene Levy, return for one last live show in tandem with the airing of the sixth and final season (6/6)
  • Deon Cole — Comic actor particularly known for his wacky characters on Blackish and Grownish (6/13)


1400 Constitution Ave. NW

  • Cooking Up History: Cookbooks and the Women’s Suffrage Movement (3/27, Coulter Performance Plaza)
  • Innovative Lives: The Quickie Wheelchair — A discussion with inventor Marilyn Hamilton, a two-time U.S. Open women’s wheelchair tennis champion (4/1, 1st Floor, West Wing)
  • Cooking Up History: Melissa Clark’s Instant Pot Secrets (4/3, Coulter)
  • Cooking Up History: The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (5/1, Coulter)
  • Innovative Lives: Paralympic Skier Sarah Will (5/6, 1st Floor, West Wing)


5015 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo MarquezLegendary Children: The First Decade of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the Last Century of Queer Life is touted as a definitive guide to the popular TV show and its reflection of queer life in the modern era, written by the creators of the popular fashion- and culture-focused blog Tom and Lorenzo (3/13)

  • ACLU Panel: Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman, Monica Hopkins — A discussion about the new book Fight of the Century: Writers Reflect on 100 Years of Landmark ACLU Cases featuring as panelists its editors, prize-winning authors Chabon and Waldman, along with Hopkins, director of ACLU-DC and a Rockwood Institute LGBT Advocacy Fellow (3/24, Sidwell Friends Meeting House, 3825 Wisconsin Ave. NW)
  • Grace Elizabeth HaleCool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture, as written by a University of Virginia history professor and former resident of Athenns, in conversation with Just Around Midnight author Jack Hamilton (3/28)
  • Caty Borum Chattoo and Lauren FeldmanA Comedian and an Activist Walk into a Bar: The Serious Role of Comedy in Social Justice, written by communications professors at American and Rutgers universities, in conversation with Eric Deggans of NPR (3/29)
  • Eddie S. GlaudeBegin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own as written by a Princeton University professor whose previous titles include Democracy in Black (4/22)
  • Blake GopnikWarhol is intended as the definitive biography of the influential gay artist from an esteemed arts writer and former chief art critic at the Washington Post, who will be in conversation with National Gallery of Art curator Molly Donovan (4/30)
  • Molly Ball Pelosi is an intimate, nuanced, page-turning portrait of the most powerful woman in American political history from a prominent Washington political journalist (5/5)
  • Ruth ReichlSave Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir documents the decade the author spent as editor-in-chief of Gourmet, a time when chefs became rock stars, with names such as David Chang and Eric Ripert both profiled in the book (5/12, Union Market Store, 1270 5th St. NE)

Chris Frantz Remain in Love: Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina is a memoir from the drummer of Talking Heads, detailing his experiences in the iconic band and his relationships with the band’s bassist and his wife, Tina Weymouth, and the “mercurial frontman” David Byrne (5/19)


3329 Georgia Ave. NW

  • The Big Bang: Stories about Sex — A night of courageous and hilarious true tales about getting intimate, down, and dirty (4/3, Miracle Theatre)
  • Mixtape Volume 5 — A special showcase, co-presented by Strathmore at its northernmost venue, featuring some of the funniest, weirdest, and most moving true tales from past shows (5/1, AMP by Strathmore)
  • Ménage à Deux — “Two sides of the same story told in tandem” (5/12, Black Cat)
  • Out/Spoken — A 10th anniversary celebration of LGBTQ pride (6/9, Black Cat)


513 13th St. NW

  • Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood: Scared Scriptless — Two of the regular cast of the hit TV improv show Who’s Line Is It Anyway? are up to their usual antics (4/4)
  • Ali Wong — The Milk & Money Tour (4/7-12)
  • The Masked Singer National Tour (6/11)


20 W. Patrick St.
Frederick, Md.

  • Cinema Club Film Series: Animal Farm, the 1954 animated adaptation of the George Orwell novel, which screens along with “Selected Shorts” (3/22); Lone Wolf and Cub Double Feature — 1972’s Sword of Vengeance and Baby Cart at the River Styx; Rear Window, Hitchcock’s 1954 classic starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly (5/21); and Moby Dick, John Huston’s 1956 adaptation of the Herman Melville classic novel (6/18)
  • 7th Annual Comedy and Magic Spectacular (4/18)
  • Lewis Black — “It Gets Better Every Day” is the title of the latest stand-up special from the 71-year-old Silver Spring native, aptly described as “a passionate performer who is a more pissed-off optimist than a mean-spirited curmudgeon” (5/8)
  • Michael Pollan — One of the 100 most influential people in the world (Time magazine) returns with a new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence (5/9)


1551 Trap Road
Vienna, Va.

  • The Second City — Chicago’s renowned improv troupe performs its latest long-form improvised production, Laughing for All the Wrong Reasons (3/25-28, The Barns)
  • 33rd Annual Evening of Comedy (4/10-11, The Barns)
  • Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (6/5-6, Filene Center)
  • The SpongeBob Musical (6/12-13, Filene Center)
  • Riverdance — 25th Anniversary Show (6/18-21, Filene Center)
  • Steve Martin and Martin Short — “The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment” (8/1-2, Filene Center)

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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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