At the National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibit “Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze,” opening May 22, portraiture is presented as an intimate experience, both for the artist and the subject. The show's 54 portraits examine the relationship between the celebrity, the artist, and the audience. “There’s always something you can learn about who’s looking at who, how they are looking, and how we as an audience feel about that looking,” says Kim Sajet, director of the museum.
Museum-goers get to see celebrities--like Serena Williams, Brad Pitt, and Oprah Winfrey--in unexpected ways: Athletes outside of the arena, dancers standing still, and actors stripped of their costumes, revealing their vulnerabilities, as well as a glimpse into their personal lives. Here’s what you can expect to see at the show.
See Rolling Thunder Ride Downtown
THURSDAY, MAY 21
TALK: Boardwalk Empire viewers have a chance to learn more about the Prohibition-era drama. Nelson Johnson--author of the book that inspired the show--joins show stars Edward McGinty, Jr., Gretchen Mol, and Lesley Robson-Foster to discuss how the series transitioned from a best-selling book to the small screen. Series creator Terence Winter leads the discussion at the William G. McGowan Theater. A book signing follows the panel. Free, 7 PM.
THEATER: Using real letters from soldiers and their family members as inspiration, If All the Sky Were Paper offers a unique look at the war experience. The Andrew Carroll production recalls correspondence from every US conflict in history. Carroll, a DC-based author, will be signing copies of his books, War Letters and Behind the Lines, following Thursday night’s performance at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Proceeds benefit the Kennedy Center Education Fund. $29, 7:30 PM.
FRIDAY, MAY 22
ART: The National Portrait Gallery’s new exhibit--Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze--opens Friday and offers visitors a unique view into celebrity portraits. The exhibit features photographs and various artists’ renditions of famous entertainers, entrepreneurs, and athletes, such as Katy Perry, Brad Pitt, Kelly Slater, and more. Free, 11:30 AM to 7 PM.
MUSEUMS: The Newseum honors the nation’s veterans with a new exhibit about how the media covered the Vietnam War. Reporting Vietnam commemorates the 50th anniversary of the conflict, using music, news reports, artifacts, and more than 100 images, including Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs. The exhibit continues through the summer. $22.95, 9 AM to 5 PM.
SATURDAY, MAY 23
MUSIC: Crooner Eric Roberson performs at the Birchmere. The Grammy Award nominee and Howard University graduate combines house, soul, R&B, jazz, and rock into a unique, ecletic sound. $39.50, 7:30 PM.
DANCE: Party like it’s 1989 at The Fillmore in Silver Spring. The New Romance--an 80s tribute band--hosts the "Ultimate ‘80s Prom." From Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Simple Minds to Prince and Michael Jackson, the group brings the 80s to life again, performing classic hits with unparalleled enthusiasm and energy. $19, 8 PM.
SUNDAY, MAY 24
MUSIC: Wolf Trap launches its 2015 summer season with a Memorial Day tribute featuring the United States Marine Band. The performance ends with a bang--a show of fireworks that will light up the sky. Gates open at 6:30 PM. The show begins at 8 PM. Fireworks start around 9:30 PM. Free.
MUSIC: Future brings his lyrical talents to Echostage as part of his "Monster vs. Beast Mode" tour. The rapper has recently been sharing gossip headlines with singer Ciara, with whom he has a son, but he still hasn't announced with which guests he'll be sharing the stage. $48.40, 9 PM.
The year is 2063 and American President Thom Valentine—the first openly gay head of state—is facing some tough times.
A massive flood has submerged the Eastern seaboard, driving the population into the heartland. Its economy crippled, America accepts a financial bailout from the British and reverts to monarchial titles in deference. The White House leadership dons crowns and capes. The First Gentleman enjoys a salacious affair with the royal butler, who happens to be a human clone.
In the American West, clashes over Cotton XP, a newly discovered and highly lucrative natural resource, threaten imminent civil war. Lacking means for an army, America calls in the world’s greatest superpower—The United African Nations—to act as peacekeepers. But will the promised riches of Cotton XP turn these peacekeepers into conquerors?
And I haven’t even told you about the zombies yet.
MONDAY, MAY 18
ART: Stop by Tysons this week and fill out a survey designed by artist Julia Vogl. From May 18 to 24, she'll be popping up at more than 22 locations in the area and asking participants to answer a few questions about culture, community, and art. Those answers will later form part of a public art installation in Tysons, debuting on June 25.
FILM: The GI Film Festival opens Monday, featuring films about veterans and the military world. Running through Sunday, the festival includes a lineup of more than 60 films, including Kajaki--a British war movie by the same producer behind The King's Speech--and an advance screening of Melissa McCarthy's Spy.
TUESDAY, MAY 19
MUSIC: TV on the Radio isn't afraid of experimentation. The quartet opens its latest album, Seeds, with a sound inspired by one of the band member's cat, who happens to have a penchant for chasing marbles. That sense of whimsy has come to define the band--and it's exactly what you can expect at their performance at Echostage on Tuesday. $40, 7 PM.
THEATER: House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive come together at the Warner Theatre on Tuesday to speak at a performance of Slut: The Play. The production, written and acted in by teenagers, tells the tale of a community's reaction to a sexual assault. $20, 7 PM.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20
TALK: Natasha Lyonne might be best known for playing Jessica in American Pie and the sex-crazed Nicky Nichols on Orange is the New Black, but she'll be in DC this week to do something quite different: talk with a rabbi. The actress comes to Sixth & I to discuss storytelling, Jewish culture, and spirituality. Stick around after the talk for cream cheese cupcakes and Kahlúa spiked Vietnamese iced coffee. $15, 7 PM.
BOOKS: Cindy Williams--who played Shirley Feeney on the TV show Laverne & Shirley--visits Busboys and Poets Takoma to chat about her new memoir, Shirley: I Jest! Williams apparently has some serious dirt on the likes of Jim Morrison, Penny Marshall, and Lucille Ball. Free, 6:30 PM.
For nearly 60 years, Andrew White has committed John Coltrane’s solos to paper, capturing the saxophone giant’s famously free-flight improvisations in notes that don’t appear on standard jazz sheet music. As fans celebrated the jubilee of A Love Supreme—Coltrane’s masterpiece 1965 album—in February, White was preparing to chart solos from newly released recordings of Coltrane’s 1960 concerts with his onetime bandleader Miles Davis. They represent the most recent of 840 Coltrane solos White has written down—a feat “most people think would be impossible,” says Mark Gridley, author of the widely used textbook Jazz Styles.
A flamboyant dresser and talker at age 72, White has the peripatetic, idiosyncratic résumé of a prodigy. Raised in Nashville, he arrived at Howard University in 1960, brimming, he says, with “swaggering iconoclasm, with commercial intent.” He was here to study music theory and oboe but, with iconoclasm and ready cash in mind, hauled his alto sax to local jazz clubs, playing regularly at Bohemian Caverns at 11th and U. During intermission, he often went around the corner to Abart’s Internationale to hear Coltrane, whose disruptive solos he had begun turning into scores for his own use at age 13. “I wanted to know what was wrong with him,” says White, laughing.
Gillian Anderson isn't in DC to talk about aliens. Fox's reboot of The X-Files is airing next year, but she isn't here to talk about acting, kissing co-star David Duchovny, or anything like that. She's here to talk about art.
Anderson is in town supporting her close friend, Darren Waterston--an artist she met 20 years ago while filming The X-Files in Vancouver. Waterston's show, Filthy Lucre, opens at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on May 16. His stunning installation takes the iconic Peacock Room--on view next door at the Freer Gallery of Art--and turns it into a ruin of blue-and-gold. Broken pottery, shards of wood, and pools of paint symbolize destruction and excess, as well as the complicated relationship between money and art.
On May 15, Anderson is co-hosting an exhibition gala benefitting the museum. Tickets cost $1,000. Don't have that kind of cash? Don't fret. Washingtonian sat down with Anderson and Waterston to talk art, friendship, and Filthy Lucre.
THURSDAY, MAY 14
MUSEUMS: This four-day bash is all about letting your inner nerd out. Smithsonian Magazine's The Future Is Here Festival kicks off with a screening of Back to the Future at the Warner Bros. Theatre with a very big perk: The film's DeLorean will be parked outside. The screening costs $25 and goes from 6 to 9 PM, but for access to other speakers and events--which includes a peek at what they're calling "the world's first real hover board"--you've got to fork over $250.
EMBASSIES: Try more than 20 wines at the Embassy of Argentina. It's all for a good cause: The embassy is hosting this fundraiser to build a school in an indigenous Guaraní community in northern Argentina. And, yes, there will also be food. $55, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
"Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology" opens at the National Geographic Museum on May 14, and it's sure to make Indy fans giddy. Props, costumes, and behind-the-scenes commentary offer visitors a glimpse into the making of the franchise, while also providing a look into the field of archeology. Here’s what you can expect at the exhibit.
A few years ago, Katie Cappiello posed a seemingly simple question to a group of teenage girls. Alongside Meg McInerney, Cappiello is the founder of the Arts Effect NYC, an acting training program. The girls, part of the program's female empowerment arm, had just returned from winter break, so Cappiello asked them about their vacation.
She didn't get the response she was expecting. "We started noticing that the word slut was coming up a lot," Cappiello says.
The girls, ages 14 to 17, were using the word in different ways. Slut referred to friends who had consensual sex, but also to those who had been sexually assaulted. The girls used it to describe others, but also to describe themselves.
Cappiello decided to build a whole project around the word. She started listening to the girls' stories and typing them up. With her students, she wrote SLUT: The Play--about a 16-year-old girl who's sexually assaulted by three guy friends, and the backlash that follows. Slut debuted in New York in February 2013, with the same teenage girls who helped develop the project as its actresses.
It's more than just a play, however. A mix of theater and activism, Slut hopes to put an end to sexual assault and "slut-shaming"--the act of chastising women for their sexual practices and beliefs. Since the play's debut, Cappiello and McInerney have launched a "StopSlut" movement and are pushing for legislative change. They hope to get a law passed that requires sexual consent education in every high school across the country.
They're already in with the right people. After getting attention from the likes of Hillary Clinton and Amy Poehler, Cappiello is preparing for Slut's Washington premiere. On May 19 at the Warner Theatre, theatergoers will catch a glimpse of Beau Willimon, the creator of House of Cards and a big supporter of the project, who will be speaking alongside US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive, and others.
Willimon is no stranger to sexual-assault advocacy. He became particularly interested in the subject after watching The Invisible War, the documentary that inspired the military sexual-assault storyline in Season 2 of House of Cards. "I grew up on naval bases. That sort of crime was going on without me being aware. It was shocking," he says.
He had a similar reaction to the play. "When I saw the play in New York, I was deeply moved and angered," he says. "I wanted to get involved in any way I could."
That's when he started helping Cappiello and McInerney out. They organized an event in Washington that could attract policymakers to the issue of sexual assault. "He's not only a feminist, but he's also a playwright at heart," Cappiello says. "He has been involved in every step of the way--from how to brainstorm to how to reach lawmakers to putting us in touch with the network he has in Maryland and in DC."
The play has gotten a lot of attention everywhere it has shown--including the Midwest, where Cappiello says lines formed down the block. In Boston, however, Slut got a different type of attention. "We were a little surprised by the resistance in such a liberal place," Cappiello says. The reason? A lot of people don't want to have a conversation about sexuality, Cappiello explains, especially because problems can start as early as fifth or sixth grade.
"The first time girls are sexually shamed comes when they're 10 or 11 years old, when they're called a slut or a whore by a boy or girl in class," Cappiello says. "It becomes uncomfortable for people to talk about. This culture is touching our kids when they're young, and it's hard for parents to acknowledge that."
Cappiello cites sex education classes as an example. Students say they're taught how to use condoms at school, but there's no talk about consent or the nuisances of rape. "We're still talking about the mechanics, not the dynamics," Cappiello says. "People say this conversation is inappropriate yet all the young people in the community are hungry for it."
Watch SLUT: The Play on Tuesday, May 19 at the Warner Theatre at 7 PM, featuring a talk with Beau Willimon, creator of House of Cards, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief of Glamour, Sherelle Hessell Gordon, executive director of DC Rape Crisis Center, Jennifer Baumgardner, executive director of the Feminist Press, and the directors and actors from the show. Tickets are free for students and cost $20 for adults.