RED BEAR BREWING CO.’S THIRD ANNIVERSARY
In the third month of 2022 comes what you could call a power of three celebration at Red Bear Brewing Co. The D.C. brewery, owned and operated by three reddish-hued gay bears — Cameron Raspet, Simon Bee, and Bryan Van Den Oever — is celebrating three years of serving their own variations on “queer beer” and hard seltzer. Or, as Van Den Oever puts it in a comment to Metro Weekly, “We made it to three years and goodness was it a ride!”
To celebrate, a total of 300 pints of beer will be given out over this weekend, with the first 100 people getting one free pint of their choice during the Anniversary Happy Hour starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 4, and then again at the Anniversary Celebration starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 5, and Brunch starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 6.
Other events marking the occasion include the Haus of Gaga Drag Show, featuring performers impersonating a certain lady diva starting at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, March 4, and live entertainment featuring Justin Moyar starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, when the brewery’s annual Ice Sculpture will be displayed.
The official fine print, such as it is: “Must be 21+ with a valid ID to enjoy. This is a taproom event only, with no to-go options. No substitutions, beer and cider only. Other restrictions may apply.” Red Bear Brewing is at 209 M St. NE. Call 202-849-6130 or visit www.redbear.beer.
The improv masters of Washington Improv Theater are stretching beyond the usual boundaries with their latest offering, billed as “an improvised twist” on Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town. Co-directed by WIT’s Bill Nelson and Matt Strote, (Y)our Town begins with the Stage Manager asking the audience what they would include in a time capsule from today, and those items will then help cast members create an improvised small town on stage. The end result is a production with the usual moments of humor you’d expect from improv while also taking stock of current concerns with a degree of seriousness that will likely go beyond the norm.
“With a lot of improv shows, five minutes in and you’re in ‘crazy town,’ with all kinds of weird things happening,” says Strote in an official release. That’s not likely to happen here, at least not to any absurd degree, as the production offers a “focus on the sharing of our lives with one another and building community.” Working to pull off the feat of what Nelson refers to as “the great balance between humor and heart” is a cast including a mix of professional actors and improv performers along with newcomers intended to “mirror a real community.” Starts Friday, March 11. Runs to March 20. Source Theater, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $15 with discounts available. Visit www.witdc.org.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: VIRTUAL FESTIVAL
Next week, the National Museum of Women in the Arts offers a full day of virtual programming on International Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 8. Highlights among the virtual offerings that afternoon include NMWA xChange: Cassi Namoda, an episode of the museum’s monthly talk show focused on the painter and performance artist from Mozambique, named one of the “Rising Art Stars of 2020” by U.K.-based visual arts publication Elephant, and whose work offers a vibrant and nuanced portrait of the post-colonial African country, starting at noon; “In Conversation: Rehab Eldalil and Tabitha Soren,” two photographers whose work blurs the line between photojournalism and fine art, with Eldalil based in Cairo and Soren familiar to anyone in the MTV Generation as a former MTV News correspondent and the original face of its “Choose or Lose” coverage of presidential elections, at 1 p.m.; and “The Tea: SPIKED with Afi Soul,” a livestream recording featuring the indie R&B/soul artist in a performance as well as discussion with the museum’s Melani N. Douglass, plus “Chocolate City’s Best” bartenders Kapri Robinson and Denaya Jones will demonstrate how to make a signature, tea-themed cocktail, at 5:30 p.m.
The virtual festival kicks off at 10 a.m. with a welcome event led by NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling including an update about the major renovation currently underway on the museum’s physical building, closed until fall of 2023. That’s followed at 11 a.m. with an informal “Art Chat” led by the museum’s Deborah Gaston and focused on three select artworks from the museum’s collections centered on the theme of “Hanging Around,” including two recently acquired suspended sculptures that have never been on view at the museum. Throughout the day the museum will also feature its #5WomenArtists social media campaign drawing attention to gender inequity in the art world and rooted in the reality that the average person on the street can’t name five women artists. Call 202-783-5000 or visit www.nmwa.org.
WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH AT NMAAHC
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture is celebrating women’s history and influence all month long, in honor of March’s designation as Women’s History Month, with a virtual series that includes “Historically Speaking,” a program focused on Tomiko Brown-Nagin’s acclaimed biography Civil Rights Queen, the first major profile of Constance Baker Motley, an activist lawyer who became the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary and one of the country’s most influential judges. Brown Nagin, dean of Harvard-Radcliffe Institute, will be in a virtual conversation with NPR’s Michel Martin and Harvard Law School professor Daniel P.S. Paul on Tuesday, March 29, at 7 p.m.
On Tuesday, March 8, at 4 p.m. the museum presents a virtual offering, “STEM Workshop: Inside the Mind of Margaret Collins,” focused on the first African-American woman entomologist nicknamed the “Termite Lady,” a D.C.-based instructor and researcher who identified a new species of termites. (Free but registration required.)
One clear LGBTQ highlight is a panel discussion focused on the PBS POV documentary Unapologetic, in which Chicago-based filmmaker Ashley O’Shay trains her lens on women activists in the Movement for Black Lives, including Windy City queer feminist activists Janaé Bonsu and Bella BAHHS, not to mention the city’s lesbian Mayor Lori Lightfoot. On Monday, March 21, at 7 p.m., O’Shay will serve on a “Through the African American Lens” panel with her co-producer Morgan Elise Johnson plus featured activists Bonsu and BAHHS.
Another “Through the African American Lens” panel discussion, set for Tuesday, March 15, at 7 p.m., focuses on the film Attica, which is nominated as Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards. Director Stanley Nelson and co-director Traci A. Curry will be joined by James Asbury, a former inmate at New York’s Attica Correctional Facility, to discuss the film, which details the largest prison riot in American history from over 50 years ago, and serves as a call for prison reform and the responsibilities of justice.
Other Women’s History Month-related programming includes a feature celebrating the bicentennial birth of the Underground Railroad abolitionist Harriet Tubman through several newly digitized objects and stories posted to the museum’s website for at-home viewing, plus online posts as part of the museum’s #HiddenHerstory social media campaign, this year spotlighting women in the arts past and present. Visit www.nmaahc.si.edu.
KENNEDY CENTER: ISSA RAE AND LEDISI
Black women artists are also getting the spotlight this month through select programming at the Kennedy Center. One early highlight is next weekend’s headline performance in the Concert Hall by Ledisi, the powerhouse R&B artist who famously portrayed fellow New Orleanian Mahalia Jackson in 2015’s Selma. Set for Sunday, March 13, at 8 p.m., “Ledisi Sings Nina” stems from the Grammy-winning artist’s PBS special Ledisi Live: A Tribute to Nina Simone as well as her 2021 EP collecting powerful and transformative interpretations of seven songs from the eclectic repertoire of Nina Simone, cited as one of Ledisi’s greatest inspirations.
Meanwhile, the last weekend of the month brings a festival showcasing the talent of contemporary Black creatives curated by Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure) and billed as a “Kennedy Center Takeover” by Issa Rae and her multi-platform production company HOORAE. The HOORAE Events festival includes a one-night-only offering with Kid Fury and Crissie West, the Black LGBTQ hosts of the podcast and Fuse TV talk show The Read, “throwing shade and spilling tea with a flippant and humorous attitude as only they can,” to quote the official description of the event, a collaboration with Rae’s audio unit Raedio specifically offering a preview of The Read‘s upcoming original comedy album (3/27, Concert Hall).
Many of the other events in the festival are already “sold out,” although tickets remain for the special Saturday edition of HOORAE’s signature showcase Short Films Sundays, including a first-look at a film by Kid Fury and his producing partner Michael Troll (3/26, Terrace Theater). The March lineup at the Kennedy Center also includes three performances this weekend from “Sweet” Cherie Mitchell-Agurs, the music director of D.C.’s own all-female go-go group Be’la Dona Band (3/11-12, Family Theater), as well as two free in-person shows that will also be livestreamed, the Carley Harvey Band, led by the 2021 WAMMIE Winner for Best Blues Artist dubbed D.C.’s Queen of the Blues (3/25, Millennium Stage North), and Chastity Brown, a Minneapolis-based soul-fired roots musician once dubbed “a banjo-playing soul singer” (3/31). Visit www.kennedy-center.org.
ADA AND THE ENGINE
Playwright Lauren Gunderson offers a whimsical and inspirational scientific history lesson about Ada Byron Lovelace, the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron and also as wife to Charles Babbage, “the father of the computer.” In fact, Gunderson’s Ada and the Machine posits that while Babbage invented the hardware — the “analytic engine” of the machine — his mathematical genius of a wife was actually responsible for inventing “the language, the song, the soul of the thing, the programming,” making her the proto-computer programmer a century ahead of her time.
Two years ago, Avant Bard Theatre was just booting up with preview performances of Ada and the Machine when the spread of COVID caused the world to crash. This year’s 2.0 production sees Dina Soltan returning as Ada opposite Matthew Pauli as Charles, and also features Jessica Lefkow as Lady Byron/Mary Somerville and Jon Reynolds as Lord Lovelace/Lord Byron, with direction by Megan Behm. Opens Saturday, March 5. To March 26. Theater II in Gunston Arts Center, 2700 South Lang St., Arlington, Va. Tickets are $40. Visit www.wscavantbard.org.
APO + PBS: AN EVENING WITH LERNER & LOEWE
Last December, in advance of PBS’s second annual “United in Song” New Year’s Eve special in collaboration with the American Pops Orchestra, the orchestra’s Luke Frazier teased Metro Weekly about “another APO banner series coming out very soon” on the broadcasting network. “Broadway in Concert” was finally revealed late last month, a new series celebrating “iconic musicals that have significantly contributed to the landscape of American musical theater.” Kicking things off is “An Evening with Lerner and Loewe,” a celebration of the repertoire from the musical-writing duo of lyricist Alan J. Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe, filmed in multiple locations in D.C. and Los Angeles.
“I can think of no better way of kicking off Broadway in Concert on PBS than with a musical celebration of the extraordinary songs of Lerner and Loewe,” says Robert Pullen, executive producer of Nouveau Productions and Frazier’s husband. “Their work is simply timeless and has shaped musical theater as we know it.”
Emma Walton, a children’s book author and audiobook voice artist, hosts the show, which also serves to honor Walton’s mother Julie Andrews, who starred in the original Broadway productions of Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot and My Fair Lady. The program features a cast of contemporary Broadway stars with the APO conducted by Frazier.
Among the standout selections in a program of 14 total numbers is My Fair Lady‘s “I Could Have Danced All Night” performed by Jenn Colella (Come From Away), Paint Your Wagon‘s “They Call The Wind Maria” featuring Aaron Lazar (The Phantom of the Opera), Brigadoon‘s “Almost Like Being In Love” featuring Michael Maliakel (Aladdin), Camelot‘s “If Ever I Should Leave You” performed by Aisha Jackson (Frozen), and two duets featuring Bayla Whitten (Les Misérables on the West End), Gigi‘s “I Remember It Well” with Jose Llana (The King and I) and Camelot‘s “What Do The Simple Folk Do” with Lazar. Now streaming on PBS.org and the PBS Video app, with broadcasts starting this weekend on select PBS stations, including Maryland Public Television on Saturday, March 5, at 5 p.m. Visit www.PBS.org and www.mpt.org.
HILLWOOD’S ORCHID-FOCUSED EVENTS
Like many queens before and since, the 20th century grande dame Marjorie Merriweather Post was infatuated with orchids. That famous infatuation is one small but significant part of the appeal of Hillwood Estate & Gardens, the exquisitely appointed mansion that sits on an exquisitely manicured 25 acres founded by Post in a leafy part of the Van Ness area of D.C. That’s especially true this time of year at the property, preserved as a museum to showcase Post’s accomplishments and acumen particularly in the realms of art, design, and fashion.
At select times on Wednesdays in March, Hillwood offers visitors “Gardener’s Focus Tours” of the estate’s orchid-filled greenhouses, where the exotic blooms and fragrances are on full display. This year also offers a virtual version of that tour with Hillwood Horticulturist Drew Asbury on Wednesday, March 9, at 12:30 p.m. Two days later, on Friday, March 11, at 12:30 p.m., Asbury offers another orchid-focused virtual offering, this one a “Virtual Horticulture How-To: Orchid 101” in which he’ll share instructions and tips on how to care for orchids so that they bloom year after after.
Later in March, Asbury will offer two “Onsite Orchid Repotting Workshops,” demonstrating how to repot the most common types of orchids and sharing tips to help the plants’ leaves and root systems and to identify the proper potting media. He’ll also take questions at the workshops, set for Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Finally, with a nod to International Women’s Day, Hillwood offers a conversation between Allison Pataki, author of the new novel The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post, and Hillwood’s Executive Director Kate Markert, and presented as a hybrid in-person and Zoom-based event, on Tuesday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. Tickets are $15 to $18, with discounts for students, children, and seniors. Call 202-686-5807 or visit www.HillwoodMuseum.org.
ATLAS INTERSECTIONS: FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
“The world of performing arts is hopefully coming back, and we are back and continuing to make headway in this sort of new normal that we’re all living in,” says Doug Yeuell, executive director of the Atlas Performing Arts Center. In the wake of the pandemic, the new normal, such as it is, guided the Atlas to revive Intersections as a “protracted festival,” a scaled-back version of the weeks-long offering with up to 70 total events it had scheduled every spring the past decade until its 2021 hiatus.
After kicking off with a handful of events the last weekend in February, the 2022 Intersections Festival continues with 15 more performances this weekend and next. The focus is largely on performances, with fewer “other types of programs and workshops and free events that take place throughout.”
Highlights among the full schedule include:
Labyrinth: The Journey, a new all-male, all-Black dance piece from the LGBTQ-affiliated Black Leaves Project that “explores the historical roots of justice for Black men in America…and the path of hope for healing the wounded limbs of our community moving forward” (3/5, 7:30 p.m.).
“The Black Women of Opera,” a recital, presented by the IN Series, by soprano Elise Christina Jenkins that “pays tribute to the Black women who have paved the way for today’s musical artists with genre-defying compositions and role-defining performances” (3/6, 4 p.m.).
“Day Eight: Spoken Truths,” a poetic journey, directed by Regie Cabico, capturing the history and contemporary experiences of four Black D.C. poets, Kim B Miller, Quetta Nelson, Jeffrey Banks, and John Johnson (3/12, 7 p.m.).
Joteria: Our Untold Stories, a collaboration between two queer Latinx men, Gabriel Mata and Adrian Gaston Garcia, that explores and expands notions of their mutual Mexican-American identity through a series of scripted and unscripted scenes (3/12, 7:30 p.m.).
Get There From Here, a mixed program of modern dance from Jane Franklin Dance featuring choreography by Krystal Collins, Horizon Miguel, Robert J. Priore, Brynna Wilder, and Franklin (3/13, 4:30 p.m.).
The return of past Intersections performer Elizabeth McCain with more Porch Stories; OUTrageous Confessions of a Southern Lesbian (3/13, 5 p.m.).
Intersections runs to March 13. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. Ticket prices range from $20 to $35. Call 202-399-7993 or visit www.atlasarts.org/intersections.
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