LIFE IS EASY (LIE)
Revry, the LGBTQ-focused streaming network, pays homage to the Disney movie Freaky Friday with the world premiere of a new comedy series that updates the “body swap” concept for a timely look at race, gender, sex. The show focuses on two 25-year-old BFFs with pronounced differences: Jamie-Li is a straight woman of Chinese descent while Curtis is a gay white man. Both always thought of themselves as “woke” individuals until the moment the two Geminis awoke in each other’s bodies. Created in New Zealand by writers and actors Chye-Ling Huang and Cole Jenkins, Life Is Easy (LIE) is an eight-episode satire tackling a host of contemporary issues surrounding identity, community, and culture. Now streaming at www.revry.tv.
THE PIG GOES BBQ
EatWellDC, the local LGBTQ-owned restaurant group that operates Logan Tavern and Commissary, has reopened another one of its Logan Circle mainstays: The Pig, which has been refashioned as a moderately priced BBQ establishment. Executive Chef Shabier Bahramy spent the past few months rethinking the restaurant’s recipes and menus, with additions including Texas-style Smoked Beef Brisket coated in habanero sauce and served with celeriac slaw, cheddar cornbread, and pickles ($18), Cherrywood Smoked Ribs slathered in a thick Kansas City-style Habanero peach sauce and served with rosemary fries, celeriac slaw, and pickles ($23 for half, or $39 whole), a 12-hour smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich topped with North Carolina-style vinegar sauce on a toasted potato roll and served with celeriac slaw, pickles, and french fries ($13), and smoked, hickory-rubbed Half Chicken served with braised farm greens and cheddar cornbread ($19). Longtime Pig favorites that carry over to the revised menu include a range of House Sausages ($8 each), Fried Pork Belly Buns ($11), Truffle Mac & Cheese ($7), and a Double Stack Pig Burger with 80/20 beef/pork patties layered with American cheese, pickles, and griddled onions plus rosemary fries ($15). The Pig has also introduced a BBQ-to-Go program with all meats available by the pound and sides by the quart. Wash it all down with a selection of American whiskeys, craft cocktails, beers, and natural wines, available for takeout as well as dine-in. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with brunch served both days of the weekend from noon to 3 p.m. 1320 14th St. NW. Call 202-290-2821 or visit www.ThePigDC.com.
CREATIVE CAULDRON: SUMMER CABARET SERIES
The annual series from the Falls Church-based theater company shifts to an all-outdoor format, with 22 scheduled performances taking place at either the new Mission Loft Apartments complex near Baileys Crossroads or the Falls Church Community Center Tennis Courts, all mandating face masks and adhering to social distancing protocols. The series kicks off this weekend with two concerts including “Latin Pop Summer,” a cabaret from the multi-talented gay composer Chris Urquiaga, on Friday, July 24, and a performance by Veronneau, the Wammie Award-winning Latin Jazz husband-and-wife duo of Ken Avis and Lynn Veronneau, on Saturday, July 25. Additional shows that have been announced so far include Christian Douglas in “Songwriters, Show Tunes, Show Stoppers” on Friday, July 31; Nataly Merezhuk, the Russian-born orchestra musician and educator and Strathmore Artist-in-Residence, on Saturday, Aug. 8; Alison Crockett, an R&B singer-songwriter also known as Diva Blue, on Saturday, Aug. 15; Yasmin Williams, the modern acoustic fingerstyle guitarist with an unorthodox, modern style of playing, on Saturday, Aug. 29; and Jade Jones, the musical theater powerhouse known for her work in Into the Woods at Ford’s on Friday, Sept. 11. All performances are at 8 p.m., with most venues TBA. This weekend’s shows are in the parking garage vicinity of Mission Loft Apartments, 5600 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, Va. Tickets are $30 each, or $250 for a 10-show Season Pass. Call 703-436-9948 or visit www.creativecauldron.org.
Classical pianist Brian Ganz will perform nine of Frédéric Chopin’s études — including the popular “Revolutionary Étude” — as part of a virtual concert presented by St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Known as an expert on Chopin and for a multi-year commitment with the National Philharmonic to perform all of the Polish composer’s works, Ganz will also discuss how Chopin advanced piano music and piano technique in the early 19th century. The “Sheer Virtuosity” concert, with streams beginning on Friday, July 24, at 7 p.m., also features mezzo-soprano Olivia Vote and the Chesapeake Orchestra Strings and comes as part of this year’s all-virtual slate of the River Concert Series from the “National Public Honors College” located in the heart of the bucolic Chesapeake Bay region. The series concludes with “a veritable who’s who” of the college’s musical alumni, among them guitarist Paul Reed Smith, saxophonist Don Stapleson, vocalist Sara Jones, trumpet player Chuck Orifici, oboist Mark Runkles, and pianist Rie Moore, with “It’s a St. Mary’s Thing — Our Brand I,” starting Friday, July 31, at 7 p.m. Free. Visit www.smcm.edu/river-concert.
WASHINGTON REVELS: JUBILEE VOICES
Best known for its flagship production the Christmas Revels, the Washington Revels stages shows and engages its diverse community of participants in other activities throughout the year, including Jubilee Voices, the African-American a capella group directed by Andrea Jones Blackford. The 10th Anniversary series includes special Jubilee Voices featured posts on the organization’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and a Jubilee Voices-led sing-along every Wednesday as part of the Revels’ Daily Antidotes of Song program on Zoom. (It kicked off on Facebook with a stirring reading of the famous 1852 Independence Day address by Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” as recited by Harold Blackford and featuring soloist Gregory McGruder.) The celebration culminates on Friday, July 31, with an anniversary concert on Facebook Live combining live and pre-recorded musical performances, dramatic readings, and the sharing of African-American traditions by group members and invited guests, plus opportunities for audience sing-along. Free with donations accepted. Visit www.revelsdc.org for more information and to watch past performances and livestreams.
CHAMBER DANCE PROJECT’S NEW WORKS 2020
With stages and dance studios everywhere remaining closed, the Chamber Dance Project has taken to filming new works in nontraditional spaces, including outdoor settings, to be screened in two upcoming showcases. Founded by choreographer Diane Coburn Burning, the innovative Washington contemporary ballet company will showcase new ballets featuring company dancers in a variety of virtual indoor and outdoor spaces. An upcoming screening, Friday, July 31, at 7 p.m., features Cooper Verona’s In the Silence performed by Grace-Anne Powers and Austin Powers in Columbus along with two works by Bruning, Berceuse performed by Luz San Miguel and David Hovhannisyan at an art museum in Milwaukee, and Sarabande performed by Christian Denice from a public site in Los Angeles. Preceded by a live pre-show with the dancers and filmmakers. Free. Call 202-499-2297 or visit www.chamberdance.org.
A new online exhibition, Shift offers a platform for artists to show works related to the immediate and timely concept of its title. It also offers a window into the process of creating an exhibition, showing how jurors and curators respond to works of art, and how, through their choices, the show’s vision comes to life — all by virtue of Shift‘s main conceit, and the fact that it’s effectively two exhibits in one, with each presented separately. There are artworks on display grouped loosely though an interpretation of what shift means in the realm of science fiction, all selected by collector and art patron Henry L. Thaggert, and another set from curator and arts writer Sarah Tanguy, whose selections were guided by a sense of surprise and discovery as well as impact and resonance as presented in a virtual platform. Both jurors drew from the same pool of works created in a range of media by over 250 artists, most of whom submitted two works to double their odds. Among the 48 artists who made the cut are Isaiah Aladejobi, Travis Childers, Tim Davis, Freya Grand, and Nahid Navab — all as selections by Tanguy — as well as Shanthi Chandrasekar, Anna U. Davis, LaToya Hobbs, Timothy Makepeace, and Ira Tattelman as picks by Traggert. Online only through Aug. 27 at the McLean Project for the Arts. Visit www.mpaart.org.
BOOKS IN BLOOM FESTIVAL
Presented by the Downtown Columbia Partnership, the annual festival moves to a virtual format for its fourth edition, which also brings a focus on discussions of hot-button issues of race and diversity, politics, gender, immigration, and culture. The free month-long festival includes the conversation “Coming Out as a ‘Pariah Prodigy'” with writer and comedian Greg Mania, whose debut memoir Born to be Public chronicles his inadvertent coming out to his Polish immigrant parents as well as his experiences with identity, mental health, sex, and relationships, on Thursday, July 30. Other highlights include a discussion with Megan Giddings, whose chilling debut novel Lakewood has been hailed as part-The Handmaid’s Tale and part-The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, on Wednesday, July 29; a discussion with Elizabeth Acevedo, acclaimed author of books focused on Latinx culture and experience whose latest, Clap When You Land, is a novel-in-verse about loss, forgiveness, and the bonds that shape us, on Monday, Aug. 3; and a conversation with urban geographer Leslie Kern, author of Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Manmade World, on Friday, Aug. 7. All events start at 7 p.m. and are free with advanced registration. See the full schedule at www.booksinbloommd.com.
ROUND HOUSE THEATRE’S FOURTH WALL TO-GO
Last fall, Bethesda’s Round House Theatre reopened with dramatically improved audience seating — plus the thoughtful addition of a new lobby bar and café to replace a makeshift concession window. With the theater remaining closed until 2021, the company is using its newest facility in a way that also serves as a benefit to the larger community. The Fourth Wall To-Go online menu features a range of sweet and savory snacks and pies, as well as spirits and booze, most of which comes from vendors based in the region, available for online ordering and contactless pick-up. The menu includes smoked salmon and smoked salmon pastrami from D.C.’s Ivy City Smokehouse, various salami, sausage, and half-smoke offerings from Landover’s MeatCrafters, meat pies from Kiwi Kuisine in Alexandria, varieties of dark chocolate from Silver Spring’s Zivaara, beer selections from Rockvile’s 7 Locks Brewing, wine from Maryland vintners Linganore Winecellars, Boordy, and Sugarloaf, and spirits ranging from the Free State’s first absinthe, produced by the woman-owned Tenth Ward Distilling in Frederick, and Maryland Rye whiskey from Baltimore’s Sagamore Spirit Distillery. Round House is also the exclusive pick-up site for Pop-Up Patisserie, a French-Canadian mobile pastry shop that makes Montreal-style bagels and Tourtiere meat pies, and Gray Wolf Craft Distilling and its line of clear spirits, including a tequila that is the first agave spirit distilled in Maryland. Orders can be placed up to four days in advance, with pick-ups from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Visit www.fourthwalltogo.com.
TRANSFORMER’S SIREN ARTS: FLUXUS SEA
Through its annual Siren Arts series, Transformer, the avant-garde boutique art gallery in Logan Circle, has traditionally offered select visual artists a summer getaway with “micro-residencies” and public performances taking place on the beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey. But for its fourth year, the getaway is virtual, a Zoom and Instagram affair with live performances and pre-recorded artist discussions to be streamed over the next month. Once a week, an invited artist will present and perform an original work, approximately 30 minutes in length, that explores general concepts of “flux” and the sea while specifically aligned or in response to Fluxus, the experimental, 1960s-birthed artistic movement whose most famous proponent is Yoko Ono. Sometimes referred to as intermedia, Fluxus pioneered the development of works that incorporate audio and video components and often contain an element of shock. The series, every Thursday at 7 p.m. on Zoom, includes Armando Lopez-Bircann (July 30), Hannah Spector (Aug. 6), Muse Dodd (Aug. 13), and Yacine Fall (Aug. 20). Meanwhile, Lopez-Bircann and Spector will engage in the next artist conversation on Tuesday, Aug. 4, followed by Dodd and Fall on Tuesday, Aug. 18, both livestreamed at 7 p.m. from Transformer’s Instagram at 7 p.m. Free, but advanced registration required. Visit www.transformerdc.org.
HANAMI: BEYOND THE BLOOMS
“Immerse yourself in the spring season we all missed,” goes a tagline of the latest exhibition at ArTecHouse. Originally set to open in mid-March, the gallery’s annual show celebrating the season’s cherry blossoms and also women in the arts and technology continues with abstract hand-made ink illustrations by Yuko Shimizu that are transformed digitally to follow vibrant blossom flowers on an exciting and interactive journey through land, sea, and air. To see Hanami, guests must book online in advance to enable “contactless check-ins” for sessions that are scheduled in 30-minute increments and limited to 25 people. The gallery also asks guests to arrive early or on time for their scheduled session and requires everyone to wear masks as well as to move around at a safe distance of 6 feet apart while inside the space at all times. Exhibit on display until Sept. 7. ArTecHouse is at 1238 Maryland Ave. SW. Tickets are $12 to $19. Visit www.artechouse.com.
HEURICH’S LIBERTY APPLE CIDER AT ANXO CIDERY
The newest brew from D.C.’s ANXO Cidery comes in partnership with Dupont Circle’s Heurich House Museum for an updated twist on a beverage with a fascinating Prohibition-era history. Sold exactly 100 years ago, the original “Liberty Apple Champagne” was a short-lived product accidentally developed by legendary D.C. brewer and businessman Christian Heurich. The brewmaster’s attempt to pivot his business at the dawn of Prohibition by creating a non-alcoholic beverage was foiled by nature and the fact that apples naturally ferment in their own juices and don’t require the addition of yeast as beer does. After 18 months of marinating many bushels of Stayman Winesap apples, Heurich ended up with an intoxicating brew that was more potent than the typical can of beer. Taking pity on his predicament, the Treasury Department granted Heurich a three-week reprieve from the nationwide ban on alcohol to sell, in 5-gallon vats priced at $1 per gallon, what was marketed as “The New All-Year Table Beverage de Luxe.” The beverage has been reborn as Heurich’s Liberty Apple Cider, also made using Stayman Winesap apples (sourced from a Maryland orchard) but fermented dry in large wooden casks without the addition of hops or preservatives of any kind, staying true to ANXO’s “no additives” philosophy. The tart, dry update stands at 6.9% alcohol. Prices start at $15 for a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans. Available for local pickup and delivery from both ANXO locations — 300 Florida Ave. NW and 711 Kennedy St. NW — or for pickup at the Heurich museum, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. Visit www.anxocider.com or www.heurichhouse.com to order.
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