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Ladytron at U Street Music Hall, a free performance by Ballet Teatro Internacional at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and a wine dinner at Red Rocks in Columbia Heights. By Samantha Miller

Synth-pop group Ladytron. Photograph courtesy of the group’s Facebook page.

MUSIC: Mike Flaherty’s Dixieland Direct Jazz Band are giving a free performance at the Kennedy Center. The group fuses traditional New Orleans Dixieland music with swing and blues. You can listen to some of their songs here. 6 PM.

Synth-pop band Ladytron are dropping by U Street Music Hall tonight. The European imports’ “shadowy sound has been compared to that of electroclash groups like Fischerspooner and to the darker work of New Order,” says NPR. Ladytron will be joined by deejays Reuben Wu, Shea Van Horn, and Cale. Tickets ($5; free for 21 and up) can be purchased at the door. 9 PM.

BALLET: Washington’s own Ballet Teatro Internacional presents a free lunchtime performance at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. The show will feature classic and contemporary ballet. Free. Noon.

WINE: Red Rocks in Columbia Heights is whipping up a five-course wine dinner. The spread includes passed appetizers, wild boar meatballs, antipasto, pizza, and poached pears. Each course will be paired with a wine from Siema Wines. Reservations ($50) can be made by calling 202-506-1402. 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

Posted at 03:21 PM/ET, 01/24/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Violinist Joshua Bell at the Kennedy Center, opening night of “The Gaming Table” at Folger Theatre, and the Mark Morris Dance Group performing “L’Allegro.” By Samantha Miller

The Mark Morris Dance Group performs L’Allegro. Photograph by Elaine Mayson Photography.

Monday, January 23

MUSIC: Violinist Joshua Bell joins pianist Sam Haywood at the Kennedy Center. “The only criticism that comes to mind about [Bell’s] performances is that they are sometimes too beautiful,” says writer Charles T. Downey. Tonight’s concert will feature works by Mendelssohn, Brahms, Ravel, and Gershwin. Tickets ($45 to $115) can be purchased through the KenCen’s website. 8 PM.

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Posted at 05:17 PM/ET, 01/20/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo at the McLean Community Center, electronica duo Screen Vinal Image at the Black Cat, and “Trippin’ On E!” at the Riot Act. By Samantha Miller

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in Gaîté Parisienne. Photograph courtesy of the ballet company’s website.

BALLET: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo perform at the McLean Community Center tonight. The all-male dance company pokes fun at classical ballet with surprisingly graceful technique. You can watch one of the troupe’s performances here. Tickets ($45) can be purchased through the event’s website. 8 PM. The show runs through January 19.

MUSIC: Electronica duo Screen Vinal Image are bringing their psychedelic sounds to the Black Cat. The Arlington natives released their new album, Strange Behavior, earlier this month. Tickets ($10) can be purchased through the club’s website. Doors open at 8 PM.

Kompa band Rafrechi are giving a free performance at the Kennedy Center. Led by Pierre “Kiki” Jodnerson, the Haitian-born group fuses hip-hop, R&B, and soul. 6 PM.

COMEDY: During “Trippin’ On E!” at the Riot Act, audience members can experience music, poetry, sketch, and standup all in one show. The lineup includes comedians Lamont KingEddie BryantRay Lipowski, and lyric poet Reesa Renee. Tickets ($20) can be purchased through the theater’s website. 7:30 PM.

THEATER: If you haven’t already, head to Theater J for a showing of The Religion Thing. The story follows a Washington couple’s attempt to balance religion, faith, and relationship woes. “For a play that could get so tangled up in sweeping universal questions of modern humanity, the often laugh-out-loud action feels present and personal,” says writer Gwendolyn Purdom. Read the full review here. Tickets ($25 to $60) can be purchased through the theater’s website. 7:30 PM. The play runs through January 29.

Posted at 06:11 PM/ET, 01/17/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Opening night of “La Cage aux Folles” at the Kennedy Center, indie pop band Harper Blynn at the Iota Club, and Stephanie Mills at the Birchmere. By Samantha Miller

Christopher Sieber and George Hamilton in La Cage aux Folles, opening tonight. Photograph courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

Tuesday, January 17

THEATER: The Broadway revival of La Cage aux Folles opens tonight at the Kennedy Center. The Tony Award–winning musical stars George Hamilton as Georges, the gay manager of a glitzy nightclub, and his drag queen partner, played by Christopher Sieber. Tickets ($65 to $130) can be purchased through the KenCen’s Web site. 7:30 PM. The show runs through February 12.

MUSIC: Indie pop band Harper Blynn are dropping by the Iota Club and Cafe. “If pop hooks were Monopoly money, this foursome would be buying hotels on Park Place by now,” says Time Out New York. You can listen to some of their songs here. Tickets ($10) can be purchased at the door. 8:30 PM.

R&B singer Stephanie Mills performs at the Birchmere tonight. The former Broadway star won a Grammy Award for her song “Never Knew Love Like This Before.” Tickets ($69.50) can be purchased through Ticketmaster. 7:30 PM.

BALLET: The Mariinsky Ballet Company brings Les Saisons Russes to the Kennedy Center. The dance features three works by Michel Fokine, including “Chopiniana,” “Scheherazade,” and “The Firebird.” Tickets ($29 to $150) can be purchased through the KenCen’s Web site. 7:30 PM. The show runs through January 22.

FOOD: If you haven’t already, head to Alexandria for the city’s Restaurant Week. Nearly 60 eateries are offering $35 three-course dinners or meals for two. Click here for a list of participating venues.

Posted at 09:34 AM/ET, 01/17/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Drew Gibson at the Iota Club and Cafe, young adult novelist Walter Dean Myers at Politics and Prose, and salsa lessons at the Artisphere. By Samantha Miller

Richmond native Drew Gibson comes to Iota Club and Cafe tonight. Photograph by Todd Hale.

Tuesday, January 10

MUSIC: Guitarist Drew Gibson is performing at the Iota Club and Cafe tonight. The Richmond native “cites early Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon as influences, but it’s apparent he also counts blues masters such as Son House and Mississippi John Hurt in his list of inspirations,” says the Washington Post. Tickets ($10) can be purchased at the door. 8:30 PM.

KID-FRIENDLY: Young adult novelist Walter Dean Myers and children’s authors Jon Scieszka and Katherine Paterson are stopping by Politics and Prose. The award-winning authors will discuss their duties as national Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature; a book signing will follow. Recommended for children 8 and up. Free. 4:30 PM.

FILM: In the mood for a ’90s throwback? Then head to the Black Cat for back-to-back screenings of Can’t Hardly Wait and Clueless. Champagne and Prosecco cocktails will be available for purchase. Free. Doors open at 8 PM.

DANCE: DJ Bruno “El Unico” will spin energizing rhythms during Artisphere’s salsa lesson and party. Tickets ($8) can be purchased through the Artisphere Web site. Dance class starts at 7:30 PM; the party begins at 8:30 PM.

FOOD: During DC Restaurant Week, more than 200 restaurants will offer three-course lunches for $20.12 and dinners for $35.12, unless otherwise noted. If you haven’t already, read our tips for tackling the long list of offers.

Posted at 09:23 AM/ET, 01/10/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cirque du Soleil brings its touring show, Quidam, to the Verizon Center this week. By Sophie Gilbert

Image courtesy Cirque du Soleil

Since Guy Laliberté founded Cirque du Soleil in 1984, the company has grown from a troupe of Montreal street performers to a global entertainment monolith with more than 5,000 employees and a predicted 2011 revenue of around $1 billion. Whether you love the company (100 million people have seen their shows worldwide) or hate them (the Wall Street Journal ran this diatribe earlier this year), it’s impossible not to be impressed by the company’s fusion of mind-boggling acrobatics, live music, and circus theatrics.

Cirque du Soleil rolls into the Verizon Center this week with Quidam, a show about a lonely girl transported to a fantasy world, which originally debuted in 1996. “Quidam,” which translates as “nameless passer-by,” describes the mysterious headless character who facilitates the girl’s trip through her new, surreal environment. “She’s ignored by her parents, and she’s trying to find new adventures in her life,” says performer Adrienn Banhegyi, who jumps rope in the show. A former competitive jump rope artist from Hungary, Banhegyi joined Cirque du Soleil more than a year ago and has been touring with the company ever since. “We’re different characters speaking different languages, but we spend most of our time together—working together, eating together, traveling together—so it becomes like a family,” she says.

In addition to jump rope (and this is no average double dutch), Quidam incorporates aerial silk acrobatics, hand-balancing, juggling, “statue” acrobatics (a genre Cirque du Soleil has virtually made its own), and banquine, in which 15 different artists hurl each other into the air. The show also features six live musicians performing a score by Benoit Jutras. Even the set itself involves a degree of artistry: It includes a giant arch made from five 120-foot aluminum rails, and the specially designed rubber floor has more than 200,000 perforations to allow light to shine through it. To learn how to apply her makeup, Banhegyi spent three weeks training with professionals in Montreal, and her elaborate face paint still takes 50 minutes each day to complete.

The show relies on a certain amount of audience interaction, so be prepared to perform if you’re sitting close to the stage. “It’s an emotional show,” Banhegyi says. “Sometimes you laugh, and at other points it’s more touching. No two shows are the same, because you have to find the connection with the audience and see how they like it. But it really is a magical world.”

Cirque du Soleil: Quidam is at the Verizon Center November 16 through 20. Tickets ($43 to $118) are available through Ticketmaster.

Posted at 11:17 AM/ET, 11/14/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
FotoWeek DC returns, the Phillip Collection throws a 90th-birthday bash, and celebrity chefs Paula Deen and Giada De Laurentiis come to town. By Samantha Miller

This photograph by Cade Martin, who shot the Summer/Fall 2011 cover for Washingtonian Bride & Groom, won first place in FotoWeek DC's "commercial" category.

Thursday, November 3

You’ve heard of happy hour, but what about Handi Hour? Stop by the Renwick Gallery for an evening of drinks and crafts. Channel your inner Martha Stewart, sip craft beers from ChurchKey, and enjoy live music by Brad Pugh. Plus, there will be a scavenger hunt through the gallery’s permanent collection. Tickets ($15) include two drink vouchers; additional drinks can be purchased for $5. 5:30 PM. 21 and up.

MUSIC: Don’t miss opening night of pianist Peter Serkin’s concert with the NSO at the Kennedy Center. The Grammy Award–winning artist has been called “utterly modern and thoroughly engrossing to hear” by the Washington Post. Conducted by Oliver Knussen, the program will feature works by Stravinsky and Messiaen. Tickets ($20 to $85) can be purchased through the KenCen’s Web site. 7 PM. The show runs through November 5.

Phillips After 5, a popular after-hours event at the Phillips Collection, is back with jazz performances, modern art, magic demonstrations, and more. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Tickets ($10 for students, $12 for adults, free for members) can be reserved through the gallery’s Web site. 5 to 8:30 PM.

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Posted at 09:32 AM/ET, 11/04/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
BYT’s Night at the Newseum, opening night of “The Black List” at the National Portrait Gallery, and Halloween festivities galore. By Samantha Miller

New York City’s Ballet Hispanico is making its Strathmore debut Friday night. Photograph courtesy of the Strathmore

Thursday, October 27

BEER: Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s time to break out the pumpkin-infused brews. During tonight’s Halloween and Pumpkin celebration, Bier Baron (1523 22nd St., NW) will serve eight pumpkin beers—including the nearly sold-out Southern Tier Pumpking, Dogfish Head’s Punkin, and Schlafly’s Pumpkin. Tickets ($25 online, $30 at the door) include one pumpkin, decorating supplies, and eight beer tasters. Plus, there will be prizes for the best pumpkin and costume. 7:30 PM. And if you haven't already, be sure to check out our Halloween Event Guide.

MUSIC: Tickets are still available for the Strathmore’s tART Cocktail Party. Guests can groove to live jazz performances, sample hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails from an open bar, participate in live and silent auctions, snap a few glamour shots in a funky photo booth, and more. Cocktail attire is recommended. Tickets ($100) can be purchased through the Strathmore’s Web site. 6:30 PM.

Fido can model his All Hallow’s Eve finest during Jackson 20’s annual Howl-o-ween Costume Party. Dogs and their owners are encouraged to wear costumes for a chance to win prizes—including overnight packages at a Kimpton hotel. Complimentary dog treats and fresh water dishes will be on hand, and Halloween-themed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be available for purchase. Tickets ($10) can be purchased at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Registration is 4:30 to 5:30 PM; the contest starts at 6.

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Posted at 06:02 PM/ET, 10/26/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Moby at the Fillmore, Hotel Helix’s annual pumpkin carving contest, and the Beijing Dance Theater makes its Kennedy Center debut. By Samantha Miller

Tickets are still available for Moby's performance at the Fillmore. Photograph courtesy of the artist's Web site

Wednesday, October 26
Electronica deejay Moby is dropping by the Fillmore tonight. Often referred to as the king of techno, the artist has sold more than 20 million records worldwide. You can listen to some of his tracks here. Tickets ($38) can be purchased through Live Nation. 7 PM.

Hotel Helix’s annual pumpkin carving contest is back with spooktacular drink specials and prizes. The competition doesn’t start until 6 PM, but you’ll want to show up early to snag one of 30 prescooped pumpkins. Participants will have two hours to carve their masterpiece, at which point the winners will be announced. Onlookers can sample a variety of seasonal cocktails and snacks—including $7 pumpkin martinis, $6 cosmopolitans, $3 Yuengling drafts, $2 PBRs, and half-price burgers.

China’s first contemporary dance company, the Beijing Dance Theater, is making its Kennedy Center debut with Haze. Founded in 2008 by Wang Yuanyuan, the troupe tests the “very limits of the country’s strait-laced attitudes,” according to the Telegraph. Tickets ($22 to $60) can be purchased through the KenCen’s Web site. 8 PM.

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Posted at 12:49 PM/ET, 10/25/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Opening night of Arms and the Man at Constellation Theatre, Pink Rocks the Runway with Christian Siriano, and Boo at the Zoo. By Samantha Miller

Project Runway winner Christian Siriano is headlining the Pink Rocks the Runway fundraiser. Photograph by Brad Walsh

Thursday, October 20

THEATER: Don’t miss opening night of George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man at Constellation Theatre. Set during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian war, the comedy tells the story of a Bulgarian woman who falls in love with a fugitive enemy soldier. Half the tickets for tonight and tomorrow night’s performances will be sold in advance online for $10; or you can stand in line the day of and pay what you can. If you’d like to catch a show after Friday, tickets ($25 to $40) can be purchased through Box Office Tickets. The show runs through November 20. Tonight’s performance is at 8 PM; the box office opens one hour earlier.

For one night only, thrill seekers and movie buffs alike can catch a screening of Tornado Alley 3-D at the Johnson IMAX Theater. Narrated by actor Bill Paxton, the film follows Sean Casey, star of Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers, and scientists from tornado research project VORTEX2 as they come face-to-face with the birth of a tornado. Casey, along with scientists from the film, will answer questions after the screening. Tickets ($7 for children, $10 for members, $13 for nonmembers) can be purchased through the Smithsonian’s Web site. 7 to 9 PM.

MUSIC: Indie-pop singer Christofer Drew Ingle, who goes by the stage name Never Shout Never, is dropping by the Fillmore tonight. The New York Times called Ingle a “clean singer, enamored of 1950s pop.” You can listen to some of his tracks here. Tickets ($30.95) can be purchased through Live Nation. 5 PM.

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Posted at 04:51 PM/ET, 10/19/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()