Metro Weekly

Hot Picks of the Week: Enjoy concerts galore across the District and beyond! January & February 2022

From chocolate and wine at the Park Hyatt, to a Kennedy Center dance celebration courtesy of Alvin Ailey.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mass -- Photo: Paul Kolnik
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Mass — Photo: Paul Kolnik

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER

The acclaimed modern dance company, founded more than 60 years ago, has been an integral part of programming at the Kennedy Center from the very start, performing at the arts complex’s formal opening ceremony in 1971. This year, the company returns to celebrate the center’s 50th anniversary with a week-long run of performances in the Opera House.

Per tradition, every performance ends with Revelations, the signature masterpiece Ailey created in tribute to his African-American heritage, drawing inspiration from childhood memories of growing up in the Black church in Texas as well as from the writings of James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Across four mixed-repertory programs, the seven-performance run will also feature five other pieces created by the gay cultural giant, who died in 1989 as a result of AIDS-related complications: Cry, a 16-minute solo, dedicated to “all Black women everywhere — especially our mothers,” that Ailey premiered exactly 50 years ago; Blues Suite, the revelrous ensemble ballet, set in the rural Texas of Ailey’s upbringing, that served as the company’s debut in 1958; and Reflections in D, plus excerpts from The River and Pas de Duke, three works celebrating the musical genius of composer Duke Ellington.

Tedeschi Trucks Band -- Photo: Caitlin Moore Tedeschi Trucks Band — Photo: Caitlin Moore[/caption]

UPCOMING CONCERTS TO LOVE

Kacey Musgraves, the coolest, classiest, and queer-friendliest young diva in all of country music will heat things up and get fans in the mood at the start of February with a stop at Capital One Arena (601 F St. NW, www.capitalonearena.com) in support of her fifth full-length album, Star-Crossed, released last fall (2/3). Only 24 hours later, the same venue will be awash in screams of love and Happier Than Ever vibes from thousands of teenage fans of Billie Eilish (2/4). Across town that very same evening, the 9:30 Club (815 V St. NW, www.930.com) welcomes Dorian Electra, the Texas-born queer, genderfluid experimental pop artist touring in support of their sophomore album, My Agenda.

One of the most notable — and sure-to-be sweetest — LGBTQ concerts planned for Winter 2022 is the serpentwithfeet show at Union Stage (740 Water St. SW, www.unionstage.com), hitting two days before Valentine’s Day on Feb. 12. The gay, genre-straddling, experimental R&B artist with the awe-inspiring voice tours in support of last year’s bright, accomplished sophomore album Deacon, which was made to be experienced live. “When I think about it, I’m making music that feels participatory,” the artist said in an interview with Metro Weekly last year. “I’m not necessarily expecting the audience to sing along or to be a band member, but I just like everything to feel conversational.”

A few additional concerts scheduled between now and the February lovers holiday worth calling out include the D.C.-based synth-pop act Mystery Friends at the Black Cat (1811 14th St. NW, www.blackcatdc.com) (2/5), the 12-member blues/rock supergroup the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW, www.warnertheatredc.com) (2/3-5), Tony-winning composer and indie-rock singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell (Hadestown), performing solo and with Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman in the folk supergroup Bonny Light Horseman at Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, www.strathmore.org) (2/11), and the LGBTQ-identifying alt-pop/hip-hop artist known as K. Flay, who will hit the 9:30 Club with a show that many fans will consider a belated Valentine’s Day gift (2/16).

I Have A Dream --Photo Josh Weilepp, courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
I Have A Dream –Photo Josh Weilepp, courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

“I HAVE A DREAM”: ORIGINAL SPEECH NOW ON DISPLAY

Until last year, the original paper on which Martin Luther King Jr. had typed out his legendary “I Have a Dream” address had only been seen by close associates of George Raveling. Raveling, one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history, was in 1963 a recent college graduate and former star basketball player from Villanova University who volunteered to provide security for King at that summer’s March on Washington.

It was in that volunteer capacity that Raveling came to be positioned on the same podium, set up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, from where King gave the speech. Raveling proceeded to take full advantage of his access to King by asking the reverend for his copy of the speech as he exited the stage — a remarkable “ask” that resulted in an unbelievable reward. Last year, Raveling arranged for his alma mater to become the key steward of the speech. In turn, the university, located outside Philadelphia, established an exclusive, long-term “on loan” arrangement with the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

Last week, in honor of the King federal holiday, the Smithsonian museum installed a case containing the speech for public display through February in the Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom exhibition. The historic speech appears alongside other King-related memorabilia, from his Congressional Gold Medal, posthumously awarded in 2014, to a laundry pail used by King during the march from Selma to Montgomery, to a program from his funeral at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. Additionally, the museum has partnered with reenactor John W. McCaskill for a virtual program celebrating King’s legacy and chronicling several key events in the years leading up to his murder. “History Alive! Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: The Last Five Years” will be offered online Monday, Jan. 24, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Free with advance registration. The “I Have a Dream” speech is on display through Sunday, Feb. 27 at NMAAHC, 14th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. Free timed-entry passes required. Call 844-750-3012 or visit www.nmaahc.si.edu.

Trans Am: Lisa Stephen Friday — Photo: Mike Kozemchak

TRANS AM

Under close friend Fred Berman’s direction, Lisa Stephen Friday has fleshed out her solo stage musical Trans Am as a fierce and funny memoir of her dynamic life as a transgender female rock-and-roller. Friday and Berman met over 20 years ago performing in the national tour of The Buddy Holly Story. The two formed a friendship and, later, a band with Steve Lavner and Jeff Gurner.

The group, Lisa Jackson & Girl Friday, became cult favorites among New York’s early-aughts queer rock scene, before a period when the band members fell out. As Friday reveals in the show, her transition was complicated by her own limited understanding at the time of what it meant to be transgender. In the years since, Friday has gained a degree of self-awareness that’s allowed her to hone the writing and performance of the intensely personal work, her first full-length musical.

Trans Am is now readying its live world premiere after almost two years of development with Keegan Theatre, which first offered a virtual run of the show in November 2020. Opens Saturday, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. To Feb. 26. The Keegan is at 1742 Church St. NW. Tickets are $52 to $62. Call 202-265-3767 or visit www.keegantheatre.com. (Andre Hereford)

COMPULSION OR THE HOUSE BEHIND

Is The Diary of Anne Frank a work of art? A cultural treasure? Or simply a valuable product? And who owns the story of Anne Frank anyway? Those are questions posed by playwright Rinne B. Groff in a drama partly inspired by the real-life events surrounding Meyer Levin’s battle to produce his stage adaptation of the famous work.

Theater J presents Groff’s work with Paul Morella as the man obsessed with making sure the world hears Frank’s story. Kimberly Gilbert and Marcus Kyd play supporting roles in a production directed by Johanna Gruenhut and featuring beautiful bunraku-style puppets, depicting historical characters including the eponymous author of the world’s most famous diary, by War Horse puppetry director Matt Acheson. The result is a night of “imaginative and unforgettable puppetry and an inspired-by-life story that will have you at the edge of your seat,” says the company’s artistic director Adam Immerwahr in a press release.

In addition to the city-mandated requirements of showing proof of vaccination and wearing masks at all times, Theater J is running the show with seating spaced apart between groups. They’re also offering virtual streaming for even safer viewing from home. Previews begin Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. Runs to Feb. 20. The Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater in the Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW. Tickets are $35 to $70, or $65 for a link to a one-day virtual stream. Call 202-777-3210 or visit www.theaterj.org.

Winter Lanterns -- Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center
Winter Lanterns — Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center

A LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION

The Kennedy Center marks the Year of the Tiger — starting on Tuesday, Feb. 1 — with a two-week celebration of free events and sightseeing inspired by how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in Chinese and Korean cultures. After a yearlong hiatus, the holiday celebration returns to the expansive outdoor REACH campus, festooned with a stunning display of approximately 100 Winter Lanterns consisting of 10,000 LED lights and crafted by Chinese artisans.

Presented in collaboration with Kaleido Arts & Entertainment, the whimsical lanterns are featured in six installations depicting a Butterfly Garden, Flamingo Lagoon, Coral Reef, Panda Grove, Mushroom Forest, and Flower Path. Special programming, both outdoors on the REACH plaza and inside on the Millennium Stage in the Grand Foyer, has been planned to enhance the display of lanterns over two consecutive weekends, with a focus on Chinese culture the last weekend in January, followed by Korean arts and culture the first weekend in February. Both weekends feature interactive activities specifically geared for children, special REACH video wall projections, giveaways of tattoo stickers, mask and fan take-home kits, and assorted games and toys, as well as food and drink options available for purchase from food trucks on the REACH plaza.

The performance lineup includes a Young Musicians showcase presented by the Asian American Music Society and featuring winners of the organization’s 2021 competition along with George Mason University students, plus other instrumentalists and the AAMS Chamber Singers, set for Saturday, Jan. 29; and “G – Hwaja: Sound of Korean Soul,” a concert, presented by the Korean Cultural Center, and featuring Korean artists playing both Western and traditional Korean instruments, from the fiddle-like string instrument known as haegeum to the hourglass-shaped drum janggu, plus a collaboration with K-Pop dancers, on Thursday, Feb. 3. (Both concerts at 6 p.m.)

The display and celebration launches Thursday, Jan. 27, and runs to Sunday, Feb. 6, with operating hours 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. every night except Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m. Call 202-467-4600 or visit www.kennedy-center.org.

Ice Cream Jubilee: Lunar New Year — Photo: Anna Meyer

ICE CREAM JUBILEE: LUNAR NEW YEAR TASTING FLIGHTS

Last spring, the local, woman-owned chain, founded by Chinese-American Victoria Lai nearly a decade ago, introduced five flavors inspired by Asian and Asian-American culinary traditions — a limited-edition lineup developed in part as a fundraiser for the #StopAsianHate campaign. A year later, what is arguably the city’s best and most imaginative frozen creamery has brought back all five flavors and introduced a sixth, a frozen creamy twist on Thai Iced Tea featuring deep black tea flavor with notes of vanilla. Also new in 2022 is the ability to try all six flavors in a Tasting Flight for $19, granting one scoop of each flavor and a pint to take home.

The lineup includes two other tea-based creations, a brightly colored, smoky flavored Matcha Green Tea, enhanced with super-premium cream and a rich, nutty-flavored Roasted Barley Tea, inspired by Korean and Japanese Boricha barley tea with a taste reminiscent of sugary Smacks cereal milk.

The most distinctive offering is the scene-stealing Citrus Sichuan Peppercorn, which engages your senses in a way that throws both your palette and your brain for a loop, courtesy of lemony scented, fiery flavored peppercorns studded into the frozen cream that tingle and numb your tongue before settling into a lingering orange creamsicle-like flavor. The last two are truly novel flavor combinations in their own right, although in this medley they register as almost traditional by comparison: Red Bean Almond Cookie, a riff on desserts commonly found in American Chinatowns made with red adzuki beans and further enhanced by crunchy almond cookies, and Coconut Lychee Lime, a creamy and tart vegan sorbet featuring pureed lychee fruit.

Tastings on weekends through Sunday, Feb. 13, at Ice Cream Jubilee locations in Yards Park (301 Water St. SE), 14th Street (1407 T St. NW), and Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington). Visit www.icecreamjubilee.com.

PARK HYATT WASHINGTON: VALRHONA CHOCOLATE & WINE EVENT

Roughly two weeks before Valentine’s Day, the Park Hyatt Washington, D.C., will host a small gathering for an exploration of rich artisanal chocolates and bold wine pairings intended to help inspire lovers in celebrating the upcoming holiday. The upscale hotel, nestled in a picturesque, residential slice of the West End, will present the Winter 2022 Park Hyatt Masters of Food & Wine event in the charmingly refined ambiance of the hotel’s Blue Duck Tavern, named after Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation.

Drew Allen, Blue Duck’s newly appointed Chef de Cuisine, will oversee the event along with General Manager and Sommelier Joseph Cerione and Pastry Chef Colleen Murphy, and featuring special guest Guillaume Roesz, the Executive Pastry Chef North America for French premium chocolate company Valrhona. The event includes a seated demonstration, tasting, and lecture in tempering chocolate to create chocolate bars and couverture, as well as a standing reception featuring small bites and eight different Valrhona chocolates — ranging from Amatika and Bahibe varieties of Milk Chocolate, to Guanaja and Araguani Dark Chocolate. Plus, attendees will leave with take-home confections made by Chef Roesz and suggestions for wine pairings. Saturday, Jan. 29, from 3 to 5 p.m. 1201 24th St. NW. Tickets are $150 per person. Call 202-419-6755 or visit www.blueducktavern.com.

Glen Echo Park: Terrell, All Dressed Up with No Where to Go

GLEN ECHO PARK PARTNERSHIP GALLERIES

Over the next month, three galleries in Maryland’s historic Glen Echo Park are showcasing intriguing works by four area artists. In the Popcorn Gallery, the focus is on the series of colorful paintings by James S. Terrell included in Discombobulation: A Collide of Scope. Heavily inspired by quilt design patterns and stained glass, this alum of Howard University and Parsons School of Design and charter school art teacher creates illusions through moving acrylic and sharpie paintings that tell a story — with lines, color blocking, and geometric patterns overlaid on figures to express emotions of confusion and bewilderment and convey senses of social unrest, isolation, and mental health.

The Stone Tower Gallery, meanwhile, showcases mixed-media works by artist Michelle Lisa Herman in Always, Already, Never, Better, Faster, Stronger. Through installations, soft sculpture, video, print, and kinetic works, Herman examines the new, pandemic-shifted realities produced by technology as well as the hidden structures of power that permeate the system, raising questions about agency, commodification, and the value of labor.

Finally, the Park View Gallery features oil paintings by artists An Xiao and Feng Zhou celebrating stunning views of Maryland’s Frederick County. The serene light, colors, and landscape of the beautiful farmland and the historic township in the dramatic and lush Middletown Valley are captured in Landscape Around Us. On display to Feb. 20. Glen Echo Park is located at 7300 MacArthur Blvd., in Maryland. Visit www.glenechopark.org.

Home Remodeling Show — Photo: Fredde Lieberman

THE HOME + REMODELING SHOW

This weekend sees the area’s first home show in two years with the return of the Home + Remodeling Show at the Dulles Expo Center. It’s intended to help inspire area homeowners to breathe new life into their old kitchens, baths, makeshift home offices, and other spaces, by drawing inspiration and consultation from more than 150 corporate vendors showcasing the latest products and services in home remodeling, renovation, décor, and redesign.

The headliner is designer Christine “Bugsy” Drake, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Theme” known from her work as a stewardess on Bravo’s Below Deck Mediterranean, where she’s created signature elaborate tablescapes and over-the-top theme parties aboard the show’s luxury yachts. Drake is also the author of The Art of Tablescaping, featuring how-to advice and tips on creating your own show-stopping table settings and luxury “dining adventures.” In addition to designing a featured tablescape on display throughout the show, Drake will give stage presentations on Friday, Jan. 21, at 5 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 22, at noon.

Local home remodeling and renovation experts will also lead seminars sharing tips and taking questions on various remodeling topics throughout the three-day event. As a sampling of the diversity on offer, the 2022 Exhibitor List includes Appliance Distributors Unlimited, Bamboo Sheets, Better Garden Tools, Decorative Glass Solutions, Ed Ball Landscape Architecture, Good Health Saunas, Grout Scout, JES Foundation Repair, Phantom Retractable Screens, Scentsy, ShelfGenie of Metro DC, Sleep Pro, and T.L.G. Tile.

Friday, Jan. 21, and Saturday, Jan. 22, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Virginia. Tickets are $9 to $12 per day, or free on Friday, Jan. 21, for all military, first responders, and healthcare workers (and half-price that day for their friends and family members) as well as those who travel by Metro using SmarTrip or Transit Link cards, and free on Sunday, Jan. 23, for federal employees. Visit www.homeandremodelingshow.com.

Suzan-Lori Parks — Photo: Tammy Shell

WHITE NOISE

From prolific writer Suzan-Lori Parks comes a play focused on four longtime friends and sometime lovers prompted by a violent police encounter to embark on a radical social experiment — uncovering secrets, revealing simmering tensions, and testing relationships along the way, in a work billed as an incendiary exploration of race, identity, and legacy. Revisiting the drama five years after she originally created it, Parks made changes, including moving the setting of a pivotal scene from a bowling alley to a shooting range.

“The play was full of rage in 2016, and now it’s angrier…and yet, it’s more compassionate. Everyone is pushed in the play. To take a good look at their shit and figure out a way to work through it,” Parks said before the play’s 2021 London premiere. The revamped work now readies its D.C. premiere at Studio Theatre, a longtime champion of Parks — whose acclaimed repertoire ranges from the 2002 Pulitzer-winning play Topdog/Underdog, to the 2012 Tony-winning adaptation of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and 2021’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday and National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha, both currently available on Hulu.

Directed by Studio’s Associate Artistic Director Reginald L. Douglas, the play stars RJ Brown, Katie Kleiger, Tatiana Williams, and Quinn Franzen. To Feb. 20 in the Milton Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets are $65 to $95, with discounts available. Call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.

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