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Here are the best events around town. By Tracy L. Scott
Meek Mill makes an appearance at Nicki Minaj's performance this week. Photo courtesy James Dimmock, Atlantic Records.

MONDAY, JULY 20

MOVIES: Screen on the Green makes its summer debut. The DC tradition continues on the National Mall, with North by Northwest, The Poseidon Adventure, Desk Set, and Back to the Future, on Mondays through August 10. Sunset, free. (Also, check out Washingtonian's guide to free outdoor movies.)

MUSIC: The inaugural DMV Summer Music Fest launches at the Howard Theatre. The concert features notable and up-and-coming local acts, including the Adam E. Project, Ivory Haze, Devon White, Asia Mills, and more talent from the DC area. 7 PM, $15 to $35.

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Posted at 10:46 AM/ET, 07/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The sketch comedy group performs through August 9. By Meaghan Hannan Davant
Second City's Let Them Eat Chaos runs through August 9 at Woolly Mammoth. Photo courtesy Wolly Mammoth.

Admit it--we Washingtonians tend to take ourselves a bit too seriously. Sometimes we just need to be reminded: It’s summer! Time to take off that starched suit, leave that laminated ID badge at home, and relish these long, hot evenings—perhaps with an adult beverage and some belly laughs.

A hearty dose of the Second City’s excoriating wit may be just what's needed to loosen those collars. The famed Chicago sketch comedy troupe that launched a thousand careers (including that of DC native Stephen Colbert) has taken up residence at Woolly Mammoth for a month-long run of Let Them Eat Chaos.

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Posted at 01:24 PM/ET, 07/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Play pinball at Lyman's Tavern, rock out at Black Cat shows, or see the National Zoo's adorable new additions.
Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Best Bar to Play Pinball: Lyman’s Tavern

There was once a glorious time in American history when the clanks and buzzes of a pinball machine were never too far away. Now those sounds have been mostly silenced, the machines have been dismantled, and even DC’s National Pinball Museum has been shuttered. (Yes, at one point we had a pinball museum.) But not at Lyman’s Tavern, in Petworth, where a wall of pinball cabinets still lights up the dark bar with such themes as Tron, AC/DC, and The Walking Dead. Bonus points if it’s your birthday, because Lyman’s offers a drink-for-free deal (but don’t forget your ID to prove it). 3720 14th St., NW; no phone.

Best Music Venue for the Vertically Challenged: Black Cat

Photograph by Evy Mages/Washington Post/Getty Images

Unless you push your way to the edge of the stage, most music venues don’t offer good sightlines to their, ahem, more diminutive fans. And why go to a show at all if you’re going to spend the evening staring at the back of the guy in front of you? The Black Cat is far more forgiving to concertgoers who top out at five-foot-nine (in thick-soled shoes). The room is wider than other small clubs like the Rock & Roll Hotel, while risers in the front right corner and at the back wall give shorter audience members a view over the rest of the crowd’s heads. 1811 14th St., NW; 202-667-4490.

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Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 07/17/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Tracy L. Scott
Ice cream parties are the best kind of parties. Photo by Shutterstock.

THURSDAY, JULY 16

MUSIC: Get footloose with Kevin Bacon, who’s taking a break from Hollywood and visiting the Birchmere with his older brother, Michael. The two form the Bacon Brothers duo; Kevin writes and sings, while Michael strums the cello and guitar. 7:30 PM, $39.50.

MUSIC: Potomac-native Maggie Rose left Washington to pursue her passion: country music. Now, she's coming back home for a performance at 9:30 Club. "I’ve finally cut out a place for myself as an artist that is unique and real,” she says on her website. 7 PM, $25.

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Posted at 09:49 AM/ET, 07/16/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Variety DC aims to help handicapped children with this unique strategy. By Angie Hilsman, Elissa Miolene
Photograph by Elissa Miolene

Last night, 85 people gathered at Clyde's Gallery Place location to support a cause new to the DC scene.

For $75, attendees received two drink tickets and appetizers, and they got to see an early screening of Trainwreck, the new Amy Schumer comedy that comes out Thursday. The event was hosted by Variety—the Children's Charity and raised money with raffles for items such as a collection of DVDs, movie posters, and a bar set. The DC chapter of the charity was formed earlier this year and focuses on helping children with mobility challenges.

(Left) Blu-rays donated by Paramount and Allied Integrated Marketing. (Right) Variety volunteers David Binet, Esther Baruh, and Ilana Nutkis sell raffle tickets at the doorway. Photographs by Angie Hilsman.

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Posted at 02:10 PM/ET, 07/15/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Bring on the song and dance. By Sarah Ehlen, Elissa Miolene
Say hello to Elder Price! Photo by Joan Marcus.

Dear Evan Hansen

Arena Stage

July 10 to August 23, 2015

$55 to $70

Fans of Rent and Next to Normal will fawn over director Michael Greif’s latest project, Dear Evan Hansen. Starring the talented and quirky Ben Platt of Pitch Perfect fame as Evan Hansen, this new musical tells the story of a teenage boy whose secrets get exposed on social media. Heartbreak ensues. The brainchild of playwright Steven Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen explores the difficulty of navigating life and love in the modern world.

The Producers

Olney Theatre Center

June 24 to July 26, 2015

$18 to $70

The Producers, the 2001 hit musical brought to you by Mel Brooks, returns to DC with the comedic antics of washed-up producer Max Bialystock and his accountant/sidekick, Leo Bloom, as they attempt to pull off the greatest scam in Broadway history. With twelve Tony Awards under its belt, this musical is a sure-fire good time.

Awake All Night

Brookland Artspace Lofts Studio

July 9 to July 26, 2015

$17

One of seven musicals debuting at the Capital Fringe Festival, Awake All Night will delight romantics with its refreshing take on love and song. The plot follows a long-distance phone call between Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods, and a college-aged woman named Ariadne. The one-act, two-person show by Itai Yasur offers a unique mixture of mythology and melodies.

The Book of Mormon

Kennedy Center

June 16 to August 16, 2015

$43.00 to $250.00

Nine Tony Awards and four years later, the Book of Mormon hits DC on its national tour. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone put together this tale about an unlikely pair of missionaries who travel to northern Uganda to spread the Mormon faith. A hilarious and outrageous series of events follows. Plus, it was called “the best musical of this century” by the New York Times.

Silence the Musical

Studio Theatre

July 15 to August 9, 2015

$40

Ever wondered what the Silence of the Lambs would be like if it were made into a musical? If so, this may be the show for you. Tap-dancing lambs and rookie FBI-agents take you on a journey with everyone’s favorite cannibal, Hannibal Lecter, in this uproarious satire.

Once

Kennedy Center

July 7 to August 16, 2015

$65.00 to $160.00

This musical adaptation of the eponymous award-winning film makes the story of a Dublin romance come to life, with actors and musicians playing instruments on-stage. Good luck getting "Falling Slowly" out of your head.

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 07/15/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph via Synetic Theater.

Wall Street Journal contributor James Bovard has a message for Arlington's Synetic Theater and its wordless productions of William Shakespeare plays: Recite the script, or get off the stage.

Bovard, a libertarian policy analyst by day, writes in an op-ed in Tuesday's Journal that Synetic's silent, sultry, and often fleshy productions are turning traditionally high-fiber theater into empty calories. "In Act 5 of Love’s Labor Lost, one character scoffs at pedants: 'They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps,' " Bovard writes. "The latest Shakespeare fashion, at least in the Washington area, is to invite people to a feast of language and serve nothing but grunts, grimaces and grins—with a few gyrations thrown in for dessert."

Synetic, in Bovard's estimation, is the latest in what he calls a healthy supply of "bad Shakespeare productions in America," even knocking the fact that the 14-year-old theater company has racked up 27 Helen Hayes Awards since its inception in 2001 and its financial support from the National Endowment for the Arts and Virginia Commission for the Arts. "[H]igh-energy performances relying on acrobatics, pantomime and special effects," are no good for the Bard, Bovard writes.

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Posted at 05:04 PM/ET, 07/14/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Seven spots to sing your heart out.
Photograph via Shutterstock.

Monday: Honey Pig Izakaya

Start the week by honing your technique in a more private setting. This offshoot of Honey Pig—a great restaurant for Korean barbecue—rents private karaoke rooms. Mondays, you can get one from $30 to $60 an hour.

4231-R Markham St., Annandale; 703-942-5950.

Tuesday: Wonderland Ballroom

You won’t find lots of Blink-182 and Britney numbers at this karaoke night. The song selection is more cultivated, with deep cuts and a big focus on hip-hop and R&B.

1101 Kenyon St., NW; 202-232-5263.

Wednesday: Hill Country Live Band Karaoke

Not for the faint of heart. With a full band backing you up and a huge crowd watching, you’d better channel your inner rock star and leave it all onstage.

410 Seventh St., NW; 202-556-2050.

Thursday: Kostume Karaoke at Solly’s

If you’re not entirely confident in your vocal abilities, the racks of ridiculous costumes and props at this weekly event can distract you from even your most embarrassing attempt at “Don’t Stop Believin.’”

1942 11th St., NW; 202-232-6590.

Friday: Recessions

No need to prepare your voice for this dive’s karaoke night—the clientele is mainly college students and downtown office workers who find nothing wrong with drinking several 28-ounce beers in quick succession. So sing your heart out, be-cause barely anyone will remember it.

1823 L St., NW; 202-296-6686.

Saturday: Muzette

Another rent-a-room-style joint, this Adams Morgan basement bar can deliver a large Korean food-and-drink menu to you as you sing your way through its 70,000-strong song list. It charges $40 to $80 an hour on weekends; the smallest room holds up to four people, the largest 15.

42305 18th St., NW; 202-758-2971.

Sunday: Ireland’s Four Courts

A pretty standard karaoke night in a pretty standard Irish bar in the pretty standard Courthouse neighborhood. But hey, you can’t ask for much more on a Sunday night. Grab a Guinness and pat yourself on the back—you made it through a week of karaoke.

2051 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-525-3600.

This article appears in our July 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 02:55 PM/ET, 07/14/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
You blew it on Muggle Monday. By Elissa Miolene
Photo by Andy Castro via Flickr.

I grew up reading the Harry Potter books.

In a way, I learned how to read through the series. I was Hermione for Halloween at least three times in elementary school; I owned a potions-making kit when I was seven and used to listen to the books on tape to help me fall asleep.

I eventually started to develop a British accent, so those tapes were taken away from me.

Though my initial overt obsession with the series has faded, when I heard about Black Cat’s "Muggle Mondays," a series of weekly ventures that would involve butterbeer and Harry Potter movies, I couldn’t help but be extremely excited.

I headed to 14th Street last night, expecting the energy and dorky exuberance only real Harry Potter fans can bring. Butterbeer would be flowing from goblets. People would be dressed up in wizard robes and the staff would be wearing hats. Maybe, they had even hired someone who looked like Hagrid—the options were endless and I expected them all.

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Posted at 10:39 AM/ET, 07/14/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Tracy L. Scott
Guys, it's T-Swift time. Photograph by Jun Sato/Getty Images.

MONDAY, JULY 13

MUSIC: Battling a case of the Mondays? Shake it off, and splurge on tickets for one of today’s biggest names in music. Taylor Swift brings her 1989 World Tour and her, um, “sick beat” to Nationals Park for two nights. Tickets are mostly sold out, but some are still available on StubHub. 7 PM, $148 to $1,725.

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Posted at 09:35 AM/ET, 07/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()