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FLOTUS went to the historic venue last night with friends to see Musiq Soulchild. By Sophie Gilbert

Michelle Obama with performer Musiq Soulchild. Photograph courtesy of the Howard's Facebook page.

When you're FLOTUS, you have a bangin' new hairdo, and you just want to have some fun after inauguration, what do you do? If you're Michelle Obama, you go see Musiq Soulchild at the Howard Theatre. 

Sporting a chic black jacket with a multicolored floral top underneath, Mrs. Obama went to the historic DC arts venue last night to celebrate a friend's birthday, according to the Howard Theatre's Facebook page, which also posted this picture of FLOTUS with the R&B singer. 

According to a source, Mrs. O. showed up with seven other women, including presidential senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, to celebrate a friend's birthday. "She was seen dancing in her seat throughout the show," the source relates. 

Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 02/01/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The live shows you shouldn’t miss over the next seven days. By Jason Koebler
Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors perform a sold-out show at 9:30 Club Friday. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user angela n.

Thursday, August 16

Britain’s Bonobo is the type of deejay who makes otherworldy music you sway to, not the kind that makes your whole head shake as you’re forced to dance like a lunatic. Perfect for a Thursday night.

9 PM at U Street Music Hall, $12.

South Africa’s Die Antwoord make a silly mashup of hip-hop and dance music. It seems to be working—“Enter the Ninja” went viral online and is a club standard at this point. Their 9:30 Club show is sold out, maybe due to nonsensical songs like “I Fink U Freeky” and “Fatty Boom Boom.”

7 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

Friday, August 17

Sure, Barry Manilow has been a musical punching bag for years (as in, why do you like Barry Manilow?). But Manilow and his hair have endured, buoyed by heavy airplay on the adult contemporary radio stations you probably instantly skip over.

8 PM at Wolf Trap, $35 to $95.

After years of warnings from the likes of Pitchfork and other hip blogs I don’t read, Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors have finally graduated from “Watch out, these guys will be stars” to “Oh, both of their shows are sold out” status. Live, their indie-rock transforms from interesting to explosive—with no fewer than six people onstage playing their New-Wave-but-more-laid-back-and-hipster-er songs.

8 PM at 9:30 Club, sold out.

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Posted at 03:45 PM/ET, 08/16/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The founder of Shepherdstown’s Contemporary American Theater Festival discusses the slate for this year’s event. By Sophie Gilbert

Ed Herendeen. Photography courtesy of CATF.

Since Ed Herendeen founded the Contemporary American Theater Festival at West Virginia’s Shepherd University in 1991, the festival has staged 90 new plays by 65 different playwrights, including David Mamet, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil LaBute, Sam Shepard, Jason Grote, and Beau Willimon. This year’s festival, situated about 90 minutes outside of Washington, runs July 6 through 29 with five new plays in rotating repertory. We talked to Herendeen about what makes a new work catch his eye.

Tell us about this year’s festival.

We’re thrilled to have Neil LaBute’s new play, In a Forest Dark and Deep. It’s a terrific psychological thriller, and the structure and craftsmanship play like gangbusters. That’s in repertory with Evan M. Wiener’s new play, Captors, a haunting work about the early days of the Mossad: Israeli agents in Buenos Aires in the 1960s capture the architect of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, and spend ten days in a safe house with him. In our Studio Theater we have a world premiere, Barcelona by Bess Wohl, about a young American tourist celebrating a bachelorette party who meets a tall, dark, handsome Spaniard, only to have things take a dangerous turn. It’s in repertory with The Exceptionals by Bob Clyman, a play set in a high-end fertility clinic in the very near future. And in our new space, the Center for Contemporary Arts, we have another world premiere of an important new play, Gidion’s Knot, which is set in a fifth-grade classroom and explores how we deal with gifted kids and who’s responsible when things go wrong.

That’s quite a lineup.

It’s another year of what we do well. We’re dedicated to new American theater, and that means everything from commissioning new works to world premieres to breathing life into a second production, because often it’s harder for a writer to have a second production than it is to have a premiere. These are five terrific writers who have their ears to the ground and who are telling very present stories about the world we live in.

What do you look for in a play?

I look for plays that are relevant. Plays that are present. I look for work that’s about the now, and the world we live in. Most important, I look for good stories. Somebody once said the four most important words in the English language are “Tell me a story.” Stories told onstage have the ability to make us think, provoke us, stimulate us, make us question our world, and get to know ourselves better.

What were your hopes for the festival 22 years ago?

When I came down to start this festival, I hoped a couple of key principles would always guide us. One was that we’d always be true to the mission and do new American theater, telling diverse stories. The other was that outside of the urban spotlight, in this idyllic setting, we’d create an artistic home where we could take the fear out of failure and really take risks.

What do you think makes the festival so unique?

Being so close to Washington, we’ve developed an educated audience with adventurous taste—an audience expecting to have a profound conversation with living work. We’re in proximity to one of largest metropolitan areas in the United States, yet we’re in this historic village. Shepherdstown is one of the oldest towns in West Virginia, where we present the newest plays in America.

The Contemporary American Theater Festival runs July 6 through 29 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Single tickets ($55) and five-show passes ($230) are available on the festival’s website.

This article appears in the July 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:35 AM/ET, 07/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Learn flamenco, celebrate Texas independence with cheap beer, indulge your chocoholic side, and lots more on tap for this weekend. By Jason Koebler

Airborne DC will perform with Zip Zap Circus USA at the Atlas Performing Arts Center Friday. Photograph courtesy of the Airborne DC website.

Thursday, March 1

THEATER: If you love plays but lose track of whether Mercutio is a Montague 40 minutes in, check out the Best of the Source Festival—the four best ten-minute plays from the past four years for ten bucks. The plays, being performed at Atlas Performing Arts Center, tend to be offbeat, action-packed, and easy to follow. 7:30 PM. Can't make it tonight? Catch the show tomorrow at 10 PM.

DANCE: You can shake it with the best of them to “Party Rock Anthem,” but are you down with the hand claps and heel tapping of flamenco? Learn as part of DC’s Flamenco Festival 2012 at GW’s Lisner Auditorium. Beginner class starts at 7 PM; if you have some experience, check out the 9 PM class. Tickets ($10) are available through Ticketmaster or at the Lisner box office. 7 to 10 PM.

FILM: If even after the Oscars, you can’t get enough film, check out the DC Independent Film Festival, which kicks off tonight at the US Navy Heritage Center. Tonight at 6:45, talk about film with Les Blank, a documentary filmmaker who recently won the International Documentary Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. (Tickets are $14 online or at the door.) Otherwise, wait till 9:30 for the premiere of A Swingin’ Trio, about a really awkward Valentine’s Day dinner shared by a husband, wife, and, potentially, the wife’s lover. Tickets for this show are $10, available here.

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Posted at 10:34 AM/ET, 03/01/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Laissez les bon temps rouler at one of these Fat Tuesday events. By Laura Wainman

Photograph by Flickr user tibbygirl.

Mardi Gras is tomorrow, and if a trip to the Crescent City isn’t in the cards this year, satisfy your N’awlins cravings with a bayou-themed party or parade right here in Washington. And don’t forget to nibble on a king cake or a po’ boy while you’re at it.

Join the Louisiana Network as it brings Bourbon Street flavor to Club Liv on February 21. Come ready for a night of authentic food, drinks, dancing, beads, and more. Dress your best for the parade and costume contest. Grab tickets for $10 in advance (available here) or $20 at the door, which open at 6:30.

Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern is hosting its 15th annual Mardi Gras celebration through February 21. Celebrate in style with Cajun food, music, and brew, and on Fat Tuesday, gamble the night away (for charity’s sake). Try your hand at poker, craps, and blackjack, or show your skills on the dance floor. Enjoy special menu features all week long, such as Cajun popcorn, oyster po’ boys, and crawfish jambalaya.

March to the beat of the Batala Washington drummers during the 15th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras parade on February 21. Festivities start at 8 PM; the parade route stretches along Wilson Boulevard from North Veitch Street to North Irving Street, and typically ends with a raucous gathering at a local bar.

Rage Cajun-style at Rumors’ 11th annual Bourbon Street Bash on February 21. Get the party started early with drink specials from 4 PM to close, including $5 Bacardi Hurricanes and $3 Blue Moons. Pair your libations with authentic New Orleans food, such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, and gumbo. Proudly display your eating prowess during the hot-wing-eating contest, and jam out to a live performance by Lethal Peanut. Cover is $5 at the door.

Rock out to the Junkyard Saints at Strathmore on February 24. The seven-piece band, performing at 9 PM, will give an ode to New Orleans with their eclectic sound, including zydeco, ska, swing, Latin, blues, funk, and R&B. Tickets are $10 in advance (buy here) or $12 at the door, which opens at 8 PM.

Roll along the mighty Mississippi at the United Way of Calvert County’s annual Mardi Gras bash on March 10. During the Mardi Gras on the Riverboat extravaganza, you can feast on a Cajun banquet, enter a raffle to win sparkling jewelry, participate in live and silent auctions, crown the king and queen of Mardi Gras, and dance the night away to music from Prime Time. Festivities are held at the Holiday Inn Conference Center and Marina in Solomons, Maryland, and start at 7 PM. Tickets are $135 and can be bought here.

Sip on a hurricane, munch on Creole specials, and watch the parade from Whitlow’s on Wilson for a Fat Tuesday celebration. Enjoy music from Matt Waller Trio after the parade around 9:30 PM.

Let the good times roll at Grillfish for an all-day bash on February 21. Snag free beads, guzzle half-price Hurricanes during happy hour, chill out to zydeco music, and find the baby in the king cake to be crowned king or queen of Mardi Gras.

Enjoy a day of family fun with arts and crafts workshops at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum on February 25. All attendees will be judged on their costumes, so dress to impress. The festive mood will be set with zydeco music, storytelling, prizes, and an adornment workshop. Free.

Soak up the Big Easy vibe all week long at the Mardi Gras headquarters Bayou. Experience the Bourbon Street atmosphere with live music, N’awlins-inspired cooking, hand-crafted Southern cocktails, and dancing. Stop in during happy hour every Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 and snack on $2 po’ boy sliders.

For a sophisticated Mardi Gras experience, stop by Central Michael Richard’s fifth annual Mardi Gras celebration. From 5 to 10:30 on February 21, enjoy live music from the Dixieland jazz quartet Laissez Foure, culinary dishes from New Orleans, custom cocktails, and complimentary festive beads.

Posted at 09:59 AM/ET, 02/20/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
You can go to dinner and a movie any night. Why not woo with something more off the beaten path? By Erin Williams

Give her a rock that won’t fit on her finger with a trip to jaw-dropping Luray Caverns. Photograph by Flickr user david_jones.

You can spend any day of the year having dinner and a movie, but it’s the creative ideas that can make this Valentine’s Day one to remember. We rounded up some of our favorite spots to visit to commemorate this February 14.


Walk With the Animals

Take a walk on the wild side on February 11, when the National Zoo hosts its fourth annual “Woo at the Zoo,” which gives visitors the opportunity to educate themselves on the way animals court and cavort, in addition to enjoying refreshments, a cash bar, and the chance to decorate a dessert for that special someone. The discussions will be held in the Visitor Center at 4:30, 6:30, and 8:30 PM. Tickets ($11 for members, $22 for nonmembers) must be obtained for one discussion. Buy in person or online.

3001 Connecticut Ave., NW. Call 202-633-3040 for more information.

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Posted at 04:49 PM/ET, 02/08/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
“Necessary Sacrifices” at Ford’s Theatre, Adam Arcuragi at the Iota Club, and the Washington DC Comedy Writers Showcase at the Riot Act. By Samantha Miller

David Selby and Craig Wallace star in Necessary Sacrifices. Photograph by T. Charles Erickson.

Tuesday, February 7

THEATER: If you haven’t already, head to Ford’s Theatre for a showing of Necessary Sacrifices. Richard Hellesen’s drama chronicles two documented meetings between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. “The spirited conversations in which they engage evoke a fly-on-the-wall quality, giving the audience the sense of truly eavesdropping on history as it’s being made,” says arts writer Jane Horwitz. Read the full review here. Tickets ($25 to $50) can be purchased through the theater’s website. 7:30 PM. The play runs through February 18.

MUSIC: Self-proclaimed “death gospel” singer Adam Arcuragi and the Lupine Chorale Society are dropping by the Iota Club and Cafe. “With his poetic preaching and rousing choruses, Arcuragi crafts songs of community, with music that binds,” says NPR. Arcuragi will be joined by Jukebox Serenade. Tickets ($12) can be purchased at the door. 8:30 PM.

The Levine School of Music’s Virginia Big Band give a free performance at the Kennedy Center. The jazz ensemble have performed at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and Taste of Arlington. 6 PM.

COMEDY: The Washington DC Comedy Writers Group presents a comedy showcase at the Riot Act. The performance will feature a fake psychic reading, standup acts from local comedians, a series of short films, improv, and more. Tickets ($10) can be purchased through the theater’s website. 8:30 PM.

Posted at 04:32 PM/ET, 02/06/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
No matter which team you’re rooting for, the specials at these local bars will have you cheering this Sunday. By Mary Yarrison

The Bloody Mary at Cafe Saint-Ex. Photograph by Flickr user Jenn Larsen.

In this town, plenty of people have roots in either New York or Boston (or a seething hatred of at least one of those cities’ football teams). But even if you don’t belong to one of those camps, you’ll likely be watching the big game this Sunday. We’ve rounded up some great area bars offering special Super Bowl deals on drinks and food to ensure that no matter what the final score is, you (and your wallet) will come out a winner.

Did we forget your favorite spot? Let us know by leaving a comment.



Blue Banana will open two hours before kickoff and serve $12 Yuengling and Miller Lite pitchers and other $15 pitchers, in addition to specialty cocktail discounts. The regular food menu will be bolstered by the PORC Mobile food truck, offering sloppy joes, mac and cheese, and other barbecue and tailgating favorites. Leave the kids at home; this party is open only to those 21 and over.

Hudson Restaurant and Lounge will have food specials such as apricot spicy wings, bacon-crusted fish sticks, and lobster or short rib sliders for $5. To help you wash them down, during each quarter of the game the restaurant will offer a different one of its new specialty cocktails for $6, plus happy hour drink prices all day.

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Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 02/03/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Observe one of the biggest presidential speeches of the year the time-honored American way: by drinking. Here’s where to do it. By Mary Yarrison

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address in the House chamber at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2011. Official White House photograph by Lawrence Jackson.

The State of the Union may not be as big as the Super Bowl, but for many of this city’s politicos, it’s a close second. Whether you have to watch the speech for work or you just want to play a drinking game, we have a lot of options for the event, which begins at 9 tonight.

The Center for Global Development’s annual State of the Union bingo and viewing party will begin at Commissary at 8 PM. Although the guest list has reached capacity, interested parties can join the waiting list here.

The official Obama for America watch party, hosted in Shaw by Surafel Shiferaw, will run from 8 to 10:30 PM. For more information or to RSVP, click here.

The Women’s National Democratic Club party will offer pre-address cocktails (cash bar), discussion, and networking beginning at 7:30 at its offices (1526 New Hampshire Ave., NW). For more information or to RSVP, click here.

If you don’t want to plan ahead, several bars welcome drop-ins to watch the big event on their TVs.

Bullfeathers will show the address with sound, although no food or drink specials will be offered.

Busboys and Poets in Shirlington will host a viewing party and panel discussion, run by the Arlington Democrats, beginning at 8 PM and including as-yet-undetermined drink specials.

Capitol Lounge will broadcast the address with sound and will offer its regular Tuesday specials: $1 off all drinks and 25 cent wings while they last.

Lounge 201 will offer special $4 red and blue martinis during the address, which will play on the many flat-screen TVs with full audio.

Union Pub will offer State of the Union–themed specialty cocktails in addition to the regular Tuesday specials: $12 Bud Light pitchers, $4 small-batch bourbons, and $5 Vintage 50 microbrews. Union will also play the address with sound on its 18 flat-screen TVs and one 5-foot projection screen.

Ventnor Sports Cafe will host its seventh annual watch party, featuring $1 Jell-O shots and no cover.

Posted at 06:05 PM/ET, 01/23/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
“Washingtonian Bride & Groom” magazine’s Unveiled wedding showcase, Annie Leibovitz’s new exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Washington Ballet’s annual dance party. By Samantha Miller

A table set up by Simply Chic Events, a participating vendor in this year’s Unveiled bridal showcase. Photograph by Rodney Bailey.

Thursday, January 19

MUSIC: Pianist Ingrid Fliter joins the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. The program will feature works by Glanert, Schumann, and Mozart. Tickets ($20 to $85) can be purchased through the KenCen’s website. 7 PM. The show runs through January 21.

THEATER: If you haven’t already, catch a showing of Time Stands Still at Studio Theatre. Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies, the drama follows an injured photojournalist’s struggle with returning home from Iraq. “The naturalistic drama of  Time Stands Still can be absorbing, and as an example of contemporary drama, the first act is impressively rendered,” says arts editor Sophie Gilbert. Read the full review here. Tickets ($35 to $69) can be purchased through the theater’s website. 8 PM. The play runs through February 12.

PARTY: Public is celebrating the launch of its new music series, Public Rocks, with a concert by ’90s cover band White Ford Bronco. Drink specials, including $4 Star Hill Beer and $7 Ketel One Oranje cocktails, will be available. Tickets ($5) can be purchased at the door. 9 to 11 PM.

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Posted at 04:16 PM/ET, 01/19/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()