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Photograph by Flickr user Ted Eytan.

The West End Cinema, an independent movie theater that operated for four years until closing in March, will reopen July 17 as part of Landmark Theatres, the cinema chain announced Monday.

West End, which screened independent films and second-run studio releases, is a good programming fit for Landmark, which specializes in Oscar bait, foreign films, and documentaries. There will be some noticable changes to West End's subterranean complex, though. The three tiny screening rooms will be combined into two larger theaters, and the concession area will be expanded to include alcoholic beverage service.

Reopening West End Cinema will give Landmark an even bigger presence in DC's movie-theater arms race. Besides the longstanding E Street Cinema in Penn Quarter, it will operate a six-screen complex at JBG's Atlantic Plumbing development off U St., Northwest, and is planning a ten-screen theater at the planned Capitol Point development on New York Avenue, Northeast. Landmark also owns the eight-screen Bethesda Row Cinema.

Other movie theaters under development include a ten-screen Angelika Film Center location at Union Market and a 16-screen Showplace Icon multiplex near Washington Navy Yard.

Posted at 10:40 AM/ET, 07/07/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Theater J's former director will resurface in October with a new company. By Paul O'Donnell
Roth at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, site of his new theater company, Mosaic. Photo by Jeff Elkins.

Ari Roth may have more to say, in private, about the unpleasantness that accompanied his firing late last year from Theater J, the company based at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center on 16th Street where Roth, 54, spent nearly two decades as artistic director. Under Roth, the group was known for drama that was politically charged, intellectually curious, and above all controversial—too controversial, in the end, for the JCC: Roth’s insistence on presenting plays critical of Israel provoked years-long, increasingly nasty, and ultimately terminal quarreling.

His loudest retort has been a nearly instantaneous rebound. In December, he founded a new company, Mosaic, housed at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on Northeast DC’s H Street. Its board of directors includes five members he shares with Theater J, and the producing director is longtime Studio Theatre stalwart Serge Seiden.

Roth sat down for a conversation about what his rebirth says about the state of theater in Washington.

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Posted at 06:00 AM/ET, 07/07/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A boy helps sell a mixture of goat and beef in Huancayo. Photography by Joshua Eli Cogan

Photographer Joshua Eli Cogan visited Peru last April with two curators from the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, aiming to capture a few story ideas to share at the Folklife Festival last week.

"The culture is very colorful and filled with diversity," Cogan says.

The team decided to focus on chicha culture, the often colorful art, music, and dress inspired by Peru's rural, working-class communities that's gaining popularity in the country's urban areas. Using visuals such as street art, mototaxis, and gourd carving, Cogan and the Folklife crew captured the history and growth of the chicha movement.

"The idea is not to tell your version of their story, but to tell their version of their story," said Cogan.

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Posted at 12:03 PM/ET, 07/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Tracy L. Scott
Imagine Dragons performs in Washington this week. Photo courtesy Chuff Media.

MONDAY, JULY 6

MUSIC: Just when you thought you were finally getting "Radioactive" out of your brain, Imagine Dragons comes to DC's Verizon Center with their Smoke + Mirrors tour. The band won a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance, so it's bound to be a great show. 7:30 PM, $29.50 to $69.50.

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Posted at 10:36 AM/ET, 07/06/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photographs by Lauren Joseph.

Every summer, the National Building Museum gives over its atrium to a large, interactive, stunt-y exhibit. In 2012 and 2013, it was mini-golf. Last year brought a maze designed by the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. This year's, though, has all of them beat.

"The Beach" brings museum visitors a wading pool filled with 1 million translucent polyethelene balls and a carpeted deck inside a 10,000-square-foot enclosure parked in on the museum's main floor. No swimsuits are needed—in fact, museum patrons can and should stay fully clothed—but this "Beach" might be the next-best thing after packing up the car, suffering through Bay Bridge traffic, and fighting for a spot to lay down a blanket on some Eastern Shore coastline.

The exhibit is the work of Snarkitecture, an experimental design firm behind other outlandish projects like "Lift," a performance-art piece at the New Musuem in New York, and some of the public art installations at Marlins Park in Miami.

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Posted at 03:08 PM/ET, 07/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Tracy L. Scott
Celebrate the Foo Fighters' 20th anniversary at RFK Stadium. Photo by Hayley Madden.

THURSDAY, JULY 2

COMEDY: Get your laugh on this holiday weekend. In honor of Independence Day, the DC Improv offers the Best of DC comedy show, featuring some of the most talented comedians in the DMV. Catch it Thursday or Friday at 8 PM. $15 to $17.

EAT: Load up on roasted suckling pig then wash it down with hops at the Italian Pig Roast and Beer Tasting on the Piazza. Yes, it's an Italian-themed bash on the Fourth of July weekend, but for $25, you get drinks plus roast pork, house-made sausage, pasta, olives, and appetizers. That sounds like a deal to us. 5 to 9 PM.

FRIDAY, JULY 3

COMEDY: You can re-enact the Boston Tea Party via a game of corn hole (yes, really) at the annual 'Murrica shindig at Bier Baron, which is part theme party, part comedy act. 5 PM, $10.

SATURDAY, JULY 4

MUSIC: Black Masala, MH and his orchestra, and DJ Crown Vic celebrate the nation’s birthday at the Logan Fringe Arts Space. 9 PM, $10.

BEACH: If you’re determined to hit the beach for the holiday--but are also set on avoiding traffic at all costs--the National Building Museum has you covered. Opening this weekend, the venue now houses a faux "beach," complete with an “ocean” of nearly one million plastic balls. 11 AM to 5 PM, $3 to $16.

PARTY: Party all day--and night--at the Town Tavern in a daylong celebration that promises booze and “good ole’ ‘Merican fun." Noon, $10 with online RSVP.

MUSIC: The Foo Fighters celebrate their 20th anniversary at RFK Stadium alongside LL Cool J, Buddy Guy, Heart, Joan Jett, and more. Noon, $78.

PARADE: Nothing says the Fourth of July like a parade. The city of Fairfax celebrates first responders during a daylong event that wraps up with fireworks at Fairfax High School. 10 AM to 9:30 PM.

PARTY: Bring the little ones to this one. At NoMa’s annual July 4th Bash, there will be face-painting, a moon bounce, live music, and more. 4 to 7 PM, free.

PARTY: This bash begins on July 4, but ends on July 5. The Lodge at Red Rocks offers an all-night soiree on its roof featuring tiki cocktails and barbeque. 3 PM to 3 AM, no cover.

SUNDAY, JULY 5

YOGA: After a day full of camaraderie—and maybe a little debauchery—relax and unwind with Yoga in the Park at Dumbarton House. 9:30 AM, suggested $5 donation.

Posted at 09:36 AM/ET, 07/02/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Everything you need to know about dining, drinking, and watching fireworks on Independence Day.
Photograph by ehtesham/Shutterstock.

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Posted at 01:38 PM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
There's 45,000 square feet of new exhibition space. By Emily Codik
The global era section of the "American Enterprise" exhibit documents the time period between the 1980s and 2010s. All photos courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

You've probably already seen the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz and Julia Child's adorable kitchen at the National Museum of American History. Soon there'll be a ton of new stuff to check out. On July 1, the museum unveils 45,000 square feet of newly renovated space--a monument to American enterprise and innovation housed on the west wing's first floor.

Ralph Baer's workshop--home to the first video game--is perhaps the greatest attraction. There's also interactive games that put you in the shoes of an American farmer or entrepreuneur, facing difficult choices, such as whether to farm organic or non-organic milk, or switch to a greener, more expensive form of manufacturing. Here's a preview of what you can expect when you go.

“Places of Invention” exhibit entrance in the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Hall of Invention. Locations featured in the exhibit include the Bronx, home of hip-hop, and Silicon Valley, birthplace of the personal computer.
“Farming Challenge” interactive within the “American Enterprise” exhibit’s Wallace H. Coulter Exchange Room. Pick which crops and methods to use, and find out how you would fare as a farmer.
The debut of the Fordson tractor in the 1920s marked the end of horse-drawn farming equipment. Here, it looms over traditional farming practices in the “American Enterprise” exhibit.
One of several interactives within the "American Enterprise" exhibit. Spin a wheel and try to get to the top of the "Tower of Power."
“Mr. Peanut” and other advertising spokesmen are featured in the “American Enterprise” exhibit.
The personal workshop of Ralph Baer, considered the “Father of the Video Game.”

Posted at 12:06 PM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Don't miss the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Cirque du Soleil, and Taylor Swift at Nationals Park. By Emily Codik, Andrew Beaujon
Peruvian moto-taxi drivers. Photograph by Joshua Eli Cogan

1. Smithsonian Folklife Festival: Perú Pachamama

National Mall, June 24-June 28 and July 1-5

Gourd engravers. Photograph by Joshua Eli Cogan.

The young couple from Ayacucho, Peru, didn’t have enough cash to buy pesticides for their farm. On a hilly plot, they fed their family by planting quinoa the old-fashioned way. As demand rose for organic versions of the Andean seed, they discovered they were in luck: Though they live five hours from the nearest major airport, their pesticide-free crop had become globally marketable.

Now they’re making the long trip to Washington, where they’re joining 105 cooks, potters, dancers, mask makers, musicians, and fishermen in sharing their life stories at the annual Folklife Festival on the Mall (free). “You can see how their traditions are connected with the past,” says festival co-curator Cristina Díaz-Carrera, “and what choices they’ve had to make to adapt to the different environments they’re confronted with.”

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Posted at 06:00 AM/ET, 06/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Find the best views at these rooftop bars, parks, and bridges. By Elissa Miolene
Photo by redswept / Shutterstock.com.

Updated.

Jack Rose
2007 18th St. NW
From 4 to 7:30 PM, watch the fireworks at Jack Rose while enjoying a $4 can of Flying Dog, a complimentary coozie, and a great rooftop view. Also on deck: a BBQ style cook-off on a wood-burning pit grill, and half-price bites. No cover.

Cardozo High School
1200 Clifton St., NW
Get a great view of the show while avoiding the congestion of the Mall. Only two miles away from the action, this school in Columbia Heights is situated at a high elevation point that makes for easy viewing.

Odyssey Cruises' July 4th Fireworks Dinner Cruise
There's nothing like seeing fireworks in the sky and on the water. By joining this cruise, you'll be in the perfect setting to see both. The glass-enclosed Odyssey will offer live entertainment, dancing, dinner, and an open bar from 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM. Tickets start at $219.90.

Avery’s Bar & Lounge
1370 H St., NE
From 3 to 9 PM, Avery’s hosts a day party on the roof of their H Street venue. Tickets are on sale for $5 before the event and $10 general admission at the door, but you might want to get there early to avoid a potential price increase. At Avery's, you'll hear DJ Hamp the Stampede perform while getting your fill on a $7 Ciroc special. At 10 PM, DJ Dopestar kicks off the night party.

1905 Restaurant
1905 9th St NW
1905 will be hosting their annual rooftop BBQ from 3 to 10 PM. Partnering with Atlas Brew Works, the event features an assortment of draft and canned beers for $5 all day. $20 tickets are first come, first serve; entry gets you three tickets that can be exchanged for beer and food.

Flight Wine Bar
777 6th St NW
Flight Wine Bar offers food, drinks, and a rooftop view. For $95 per person, you’ll gain access to a food buffet with a Southern twang, including dishes like fried chicken, mac and cheese, and BBQ bacon burgers. Beer, soda, and wine will also be provided.

Anacostia Park
1900 Anacostia Dr., SE
Just south of the Anacostia River, this park is a great place to settle down and watch the show. With 1200-acres stretching across the river, you’ll be sure to find a spot a little removed from the crowds.

Spirit Cruises' July 4th Fireworks Dinner Cruise
This patriotic-themed cruise takes the party onto the Potomac. A buffet-style dinner and an open bar package will be offered right under the fireworks. 6:30 to 11:30 PM, $199.90 to $299.90.

Rock and Roll Hotel
1353 H St., NE
Sync performs on the rooftop of the Rock and Roll Hotel on July 4, and tickets are free. Doors open at 3 PM, and the show starts at 5 PM.

Francis Scott Key Bridge
Nothing beats watching fireworks in the sky, with a view of the water at the same time. The Francis Scott Key Bridge is a great place to do both--just make sure to get there early, because it might get packed.

H Street Country Club
1335 H St., NE
H Street Country Club starts the weekend with a special brunch on Friday from 11 AM to 3 PM, offering bottomless mimosas for $12. On Saturday, watch the fireworks while drinking “Liber-tea” cocktails from 3 to 7 PM. No cover.

Brixton
901 U St. NW
Prove your patriotism at Brixton’s hot dog eating contest, which takes place on the roof at 4 PM. Drink specials, beer promotions, and music by DJ Eskimo follows. No cover.

The Satellite Room
2047 9th St., NW
From 2 to 6 PM, the Satellite Room hosts Pie Fest, where guests pay $15 in advance, $20 at the door, for unlimited pie. That includes not only dessert pie, but also pizza pies. (Drink specials are not included in the basic cover fee.)

Update: A previous version of this article included DNV Rooftop. Fireworks are not visible from DNV Rooftop. This article has been updated to reflect that change.

Know other spots to watch the fireworks? Send information to Elissa at emiolene@washingtonian.com.

Posted at 10:10 AM/ET, 06/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()