Nellie’s Heroes Lunches
“I would have never thought to take our restaurant and deliver meals out to people,” says Doug Schantz, the owner of Nellie’s Sports Bar. Yet that’s exactly what he’s been doing on a regular basis since April: preparing and delivering meals to front-line workers at key institutions around town. And once word got out about the ongoing nature of the restaurant’s meal donations, Schantz says “people started saying, ‘Hey, I want to become a sponsor.'” Now they can do just that through the recently formalized program, Nellie’s Heroes Lunches. A sponsor can sign up to help deliver meals to “heroes in the community that [they] want to recognize,” or they can support more meals for essential workers at key institutions Nellie’s has already honored, including MedStar Washington Hospital Center and N Street Village. Sponsorships start at $200, which covers expenses for a minimum of 20 lunches per delivery, and can come from either an individual or a group of individuals splitting the cost — such as the JTT Just The Tip Kickball Team, which recently sponsored meals for workers at the Unique Rehabilitation and Health Center.
So far, Schantz has signed up 10 sponsorships, with more planning to follow suit, including additional LGBTQ sports leaques. He sees the program as a natural corollary to the kind of in-person fundraisers Nellie’s hosted before COVID (and will do so again afterwards). Yet Schantz doesn’t see the Heroes program ending anytime soon — or really ever. “I’ll continue doing it when we’re past COVID,” he says. “Why not? It’s a really neat program, and is one of the good things coming out of this crazy world that we’re living in right now.” To inquire or sign up for a sponsorship, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Nellie’s is at 900 U St. NW. Call 202-332-6355 or visit www.nelliessportsbar.com.
The Signature Show
Signature continues its regular digital series presenting interviews with, performances by, and tributes to artists who have played a part in the company’s many successful productions over the years. The third episode of The Signature Show puts the spotlight on acclaimed actors Bobby Smith (La Cage aux Folles) and Felicia Curry (The Scottsboro Boys), two of the brightest stars in Signature Theatre’s orbit, along with the double-threat actor/musician powerhouse Mark G. Meadows (Jelly’s Last Jam) and several up-and-coming talents — actors Christian Douglas (Gun & Powder) and Nkrumah Gatling (Grand Hotel), and composer Adam Gwon (Cake Off). Also featured: the students of Signature’s Stage One musical theater program. The series is produced by Matthew Gardiner, the company’s associate artistic director who got his start with the company nearly two decades ago as an actor fresh out of college. Episode 3, released Aug. 26, is currently available at www.sigtheatre.org/the-signature-show.
“Maybe it’s best I fade away,” Harry Hains sings in “Good Enough,” a gothic, glitchy electro-pop song and lover’s lament released earlier this summer under the actor’s musical alias ANTIBOY. The line is especially chilling given that Hains died earlier this year from an apparent drug overdose. Known for his episodic roles in TV shows including FX’s American Horror Story: Hotel, Netflix’s The OA, and Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, as well as the indie films I, Matter and Mirrors, the 27-year-old was immersed in creating new music and material at the time of his death, all of it for the “genderless transhuman being” named ANTIBOY that is said to represent Hains’ “true artistic being.”
His family, led by brother, producer Sam Hains, and mother, TV actress Jane Badler, is working to honor his digital creations by releasing them to the public. Last month, they released ANTIBOY’s sludgy, skittering reinterpretation of the Nancy Sinatra classic “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” as well as a companion video billed as one “that transports viewers into a video game utopia of Harry’s vision for the future free on constructs where art, music, and gaming converge.” The project will culminate later this year with the release of A Glitch in Paradise, a visual music album described as exploring “the virtual world of ANTIBOY as he relives his mistakes in order to try to correct them and find happiness. But ANTIBOY experiences glitches and gets stuck in an endless loop of heartache, inspired by Harry’s relationship with then-partner Mike.” Follow @theantiboy on Instagram, @antib0y on Facebook, and @antiboyvevo on YouTube.
Measure for Measure
Scottish director Paul Ireland helms a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s drama set in modern-day Melbourne, Australia, and starring Hugo Weaving as an aging crime boss who does things his way. Co-written with Damian Hill, Ireland’s Measure for Measure centers on the unlikely love affair between Jaiwara (played by Megan Smart), a Muslim university student from an immigrant family, and Claudio (Harrison Gilbertson), a local musician from a tough upbringing. The lovers’ paths cross after a tragedy occurs in the public housing complex, rife with crime, drugs, and racial tension, where they both live. Daniel Henshall, Mark Leonard Winter, and Doris Younane costar in this tale of love, power, justice, loyalty, and cultural differences. Available as video-on-demand and at digital platforms on Friday, Sept. 4. Visit www.samuelgoldwynfilms.com/measure-for-measure.
Earlier this summer, San Francisco’s Fresh Meat Productions, billed as the nation’s largest transgender arts organization and run by acclaimed choreographer Sean Dorsey, launched an online series of short LGBTQ-led video exercises offering loosely defined guidance intended to help make the best of sheltering in place at home alone.
The videos posted so far in this #stayFRESHatHOME series have been as quirky and eccentric as you might imagine, right from the start, with the “Seated Dance Class with Churro Nomi.” The drag alias of Fresh Meat’s Eric Garcia, Nomi showcased his five-minute work of seated movement developed “in the stylings of Bob Fosse” — chiefly, the famed choreographer’s jazz hands and rolling shoulders, and none of his sideways shuffling or other elaborate below-the-waist movement involving the hips, legs, and knees. From a seat in what is presumably his living room, Nomi also gesticulates with his hands, sweeps the air with his arms, and even does the Egyptian-styled head slide.
It would be a sight for sore and bored eyes (if not body) even if he didn’t do it all while wearing a gaudy red-sequined dress and a long wig made of carrot-colored yarn, or appeared in the visage of a bearded lady, with an exaggerated degree of facepaint and eyeliner acting as a kind of counterbalance to his naturally thick scruff. Before launching into the first of two rounds of his routine, Nomi stops to invite viewers to join him in donning what he calls quick drag: “If you have a hat, a jacket, stilettos, a wig and makeup lying around, pause this video and get yourself dolled up.”
Other videos posted in the series include Neve Mazique singing the Unitarian Universalist hymn “Where You Go, Baby”; a 13-minute stretching and core workout session with Will Woodward, a member of Sean Dorsey Dance as well as San Francisco’s burlesque group Baloney; and Self-Compassion Guided Meditation with Fresh “Lev” White, a self-described self-love and self-compassion meditation coach. All videos are available for streaming on Vimeo. Free, but donations are welcome to support the series and the featured artists. Visit www.freshmeatproductions.org.
Illiterate Light Recorded Live at DC9
“I wanna leave America, but I don’t know where to go,” Jeff Gorman sings in a frenetic rock banger from Illiterate Light, the Virginia-based duo of Gorman and Jake Cochran. Last month, the band released a video of their performance of the song at its sold-out show at DC9 earlier this year. A partnership with the voter registration organization HeadCount, the release is the latest in the band’s monthly “In The Moment” series, which features a different noteworthy live performance of a fan-favorite song recorded while on tour. Most of the previous videos in the series were recorded from the Golden Pony in Harrisonburg, Virginia, home of James Madison University as well as birthplace of the band, whose members are JMU alumni.
The “In The Moment” series will eventually serve as a springboard to a full-length live album. While it was initiated prior to the pandemic, it now exists as a kind of homage to concerts in a time when that continues to be a no-go proposition. Watching their recorded concert footage does give credence to the praise music writers, from NPR to the Boston Globe to Billboard, have heaped on the band’s “striking” live show, during which Gorman not only sings and plays electric guitar but also plays the “foot bass,” a device of his devising that adds bass lines through the use of a foot pedal. And all the while, Cochran plays the drums from a standing position next to Gorman. That unusual approach not only makes them stand out, the Washington Post calls it “integral to the dynamic and psychedelic indie-rock sound,” helping the duo rock with the kind of force more typical of a four- and five-piece act, including two clear influences, My Morning Jacket and Wilco. (The band’s name actually derives from a lyric in Wilco’s song “Theologians.”) Follow @IlliterateLight across social media or visit www.illiteratelight.com.
When they first emerged on the international scene roughly a dozen years ago, Yelle was touted as France’s answer to Robyn on account of having a similar sound and style. It was a superficial comparison to be sure, but it did help the group attract new fans, especially dance music enthusiasts who don’t speak French or regularly listen to any music with non-English lyrics.
It almost doesn’t matter what Julie “Yelle” Budet is actually saying in French, she sings in such a generally cheerful and upbeat manner, all while accompanied by the standard uptempo and buoyant synth-pop sonics of bandmate Jean-François “GrandMarnier” Perrier. Together, the duo makes playful, party pop — what the group has officially called “primary color disco” — that easily transcends language.
That appears to be as true now as ever, six years after the last full-length album from the group. Dropping this Friday, Sept. 4, the new 10-track L’Ère du Verseau, or “Age of Aquarius,” includes the latest single “Karaté,” a propulsive and hectic dance jam with the simple aim of “invading your brain cells and your body and soul to liberate the karateka dancer inside you,” reads a press release. The set also includes “Je T’aime Encore” (“I Still Love You”), a piano ballad with a characteristic dance flair, courtesy of a brooding bass line and syncopated beat, all to help give off a feeling of bittersweet love — specifically, the artists’ relationship with their native country. “We’re French, and sometimes we’re more understood by American people, Swedish people, or Spanish people,” Budet is quoted as saying. “They feel what we say and the energy that’s in our music, while France is a lot about overthinking, analyzing, and trying to put you into a box.”
With a tour throughout Europe on the books for this fall, Yelle promises a North American tour “to come in January 2021.” Such a guaranteed good party can’t come soon enough, although January might be still too soon given the ongoing state of affairs over here. Visit www.yelle.fr.
Ceiba Pop-Up at Passionfish Reston
D.C.’s dining scene started garnering serious national acclaim roughly two decades ago, assisted in no small measure by Jeff Tunks and the chef/restaurateur’s work at several seafood-celebrating downtown hotspots, from Ceiba to TenPenh to DC Coast, the former splashy K Street venture that launched his Passion Food Hospitality. These days, you have to head out to the suburbs for the best catch from the restaurant group — especially so, given that District Commons and Burger Tap & Shake, its two side-by-side eateries in Foggy Bottom, remain closed during the pandemic “until further notice.” Certainly seafood is the star of Executive Chef Chris Clime’s menu at the two locations of PassionFish, including the newer spot in Bethesda.
But this weekend, fans of Tunks and Ceiba should head to the original PassionFish location in Reston to relive the glory days of the acclaimed pan-Latin restaurant that stood for 11 years at 14th and G, in the corner space now occupied by Ocean Prime. A Ceiba pop-up will be offered in PassionFish’s private dining room. For $59 a person, diners can enjoy a three-course meal of Ceiba favorites, served family style, beginning with a first course of Beef Empanadas with spicy romesco dipping sauce, a Sampling of Ceviche featuring Yucatan shrimp ceviche “cocktail” and classic Peruvian with cancha corn, and Grilled Octopus Salad with queso fresco and black olive aioli, to be followed by entrées of Grilled Ribeye Churrasco with chimichurri and cebolla frita and Bahian Shellfish “Moqueca” Stew with Brazilian Lobster, Prawns, and Mussels and served with coconut rice and rum-glazed maduro plantains, and ending with Tres Leches cake and Churros & Chocolate for dessert.
Ceiba’s Signature Seasoned Flour Tortilla Crisps with Sikil P’ak Mayan pumpkin seed dip will be furnished at the outset, while bags of Ceiba Caramel Corn will be everyone’s parting gift. Special cocktails are also expected. Available Wednesday, Sept. 9, through Sunday, Sept. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. Seating is limited especially given “safely socially distanced tables.” Located at 11960 Democracy Drive in Reston. Reservations are required and accepted by phone only. Call 703-230-3474 or visit www.passionfishreston.com.
Loudon Wainwright III
The City Winery chain of concert venues has partnered with a new livestream platform aiming to improve the pandemic-birthed experience to make it a more appealing and viable way to experience live music for venues and artists as well as for fans. Called Mandolin, the platform was built with various specialized features to help connect musicians with fans, from watch parties to virtual meet-and-greet experiences, in addition to what is billed as “industry-leading concert-quality audio” and full HD video.
Dubbed CWTV, this City Winery exclusive streaming series features shows streaming next weekend from Shawn Colvin, Carrie Newcomer, and the Tim O’Brien Band, but this weekend’s chief attraction is a “Birthday Boy” livestream in which Loudon Wainwright III will celebrate his 74th birthday by singing “songs of Death and Decay.” Naturally, the famed singer-songwriter, father of Rufus and Martha, has plenty of so-called “Double D” songs to choose from in his repertoire, and among these he’s expected to play are “Heaven,” “My Meds,” “Dead Skunk,” and “Old & Grey & Only in the Way.” Performing from his “lockdown location” on eastern Long Island, Wainwright will also premiere “A Perfect Day,” a new song from his forthcoming album I’d Rather Lead A Band, due in October. Saturday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. A link to the livestream costs $12. Visit www.citywinery.com/washingtondc.
The Tea: Tamika Love Jones
September gets off to a bang at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, as the museum launches a new, free online series focused on women musicians. This series kicks off this Friday, Sept. 4, at noon, with a one-hour session featuring Tamika Love Jones, who will both perform as well as sit for a short interview, conducted over a cup of tea, discussing her creative process. A versatile vocalist, actress, and educator in D.C., Jones will perform selections from three previously released albums, incorporating soul, hip-hop, jazz, funk, and blues, that best showcase her dramatic stage presence, acrobatic vocals, and dexterity moving from one genre to another. In the months to follow, Tashera, Heidi Martin, and VeVe Marley will get the spotlight through The Tea, a series from the museum’s Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative.
A week after The Tea debuts, the Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative will host the third annual MakeHER Summit to celebrate and support creative women entrepreneurs in the culinary industry. Offerings at this two-day event in mid-September include “Fresh Talk: Culinary Justice,” a virtual conversation about gender inequity featuring Angel Gregorio of the Spice Suite spice bar and business incubator, Celeste Beatty of the Harlem Brewing Company, the first Black woman brewery owner in America, professional chef and culinary consultant Jenny Dorsey, and historian Ashley Rose Young of the Smithsonian’s American Food History Project, on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 4:30 p.m.; and a diverse workshop series offering practical tips and resource sharing for those in the culinary arts and creative economy, with sessions led by speakers including Riche Holmes Grant, host of The Riche Life and founder of BambiniWare, Layla Nielsen, a marketing executive and expert in the culture and technology sectors, and members of the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, all taking place Monday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All events are free with no reservations required. Visit www.nmwa.org/livestream.
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