Things to Do

Plant Music, Beethoven Marathon, and a Virtual Flamenco Fest: Things to Do in Washington, December 14-16

Plus: A look at Rico Nasty's latest album.

Illustration by Hannah Good.

Hi everyone,

Assistant editor Daniella Byck here filling in for Rosa today. We’ve got Beethoven-inspired compositions, a virtual Flamenco show, and ideas for Christmas dinner.

Plant bio data translated into music? We’ll jam out to that.

Here’s what you should check out this week:

New drama: Stream a Signature Theatre reading of writer Audrey Cefaly’s play the Story of Walter, which tells the tale of a newly-single father rediscovering the dating scene. The performance is interspersed with a discussion between the playwright and director Holly Twyford for insights into characters like Walter’s seven-year-old daughter Anna. Monday 12/14 at 7 PM; Free, watch here.

Movie night: For dinner and a show, downtown restaurant the Hamilton is  screening John Hughes’ coming-of-age classic the Breakfast Club. Tickets are sold by the table with seatings of two to six people. Tuesday 12/15 at 7 PM; $10 to $30, purchase tickets here.

Grow your own way: How many artists can count ferns and Monsteras among their musical collaborators? Musician Imka is hosting a live stream with Shaw plant shop Rewild to show how plant bio data can be converted into trippy tones. The flora DJ is also taking requests, so pick your favorite greenery for a chance to hear its song. Thursday 12/17 at 9 AM; Free, register here.

Beethoven’s big day: Tune into a 12-hour music marathon in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Pianist Yael Weiss tapped composers from around the world  — think Cambodia, Hong Kong, Venezuela, and more —to create original works inspired by the renowned German composer. The YouTube performance is part of Weiss’ global homage to Beethoven “32 Bright Clouds.” Wednesday 12/16 at 9 AM; Free, watch here.

Fan the flamencos: The Gala Hispanic Theatre is releasing a video performance of the Fuego Flamenco Festival, spotlighting the passionate genre of Spanish dance and song. Viewers can virtually attend the show starting on Wednesday, with access available until January 15. Wednesday 12/16; $25, purchase tickets here.

Christmas dinner ideas: Sure, dreams of holiday trips to faraway places are a mere fantasy this year. But you can help satiate wanderlust with international Christmas feasts made by DC-area restaurants. We’ve rounded up some of the jet-setting options for a culinary Christmas vacation.

What I’m listening to right now:

Largo native Rico Nasty released her highly anticipated Nightmare Vacation in early December, and it’s full of raw, perfect-for-quarantine lyrics (“if you wanna rage/let it out”). The album was finished in her hometown, and Rosa Cartagena covered the anthology’s Maryland roots. Here’s an excerpt from that story:
 
In a recent interview, Rico Nasty—born Maria Kelly—talked about returning home to create much of the album. She’s currently living in Fort Washington with her boyfriend, son, and pets Fish the dog and Voldemort the snake. “When corona hit, [I was like] I can’t drop an album with five songs, like what the f—. I started recording back in my hometown and stuff,” she told Vulture, later adding: “Anytime I record, I go to L.A., I go somewhere else and I kind of run away.” Due to Covid, she couldn’t do the same thing with Nightmare Vacation, so she hunkered down and finished the album in Maryland, surrounded by her family.

That homegrown connection has long influenced Rico Nasty’s work, and she’s proud to be from this area. When she was named to XXL‘s Freshman Class last year—next to Megan thee Stallion and DaBaby—she had an endearingly earnest and teary reaction: “Why did I cry? ’Cause I’m the first girl from the DMV to get XXL. I feel like I’m very happy for my hometown right now. It’s two of us on here. YBN Cordae is from the DMV, too. So, I’m really happy about that. I’m just really happy that my influence is acknowledged. That shit feels good.”

She actually came up with her stage name in high school, when a kid made a joke about how she smelled. At the time, she was wearing a Puerto Rico lanyard (her mother is Puerto Rican) and the boy called her “Rico nasty.” She liked the moniker so much, it stuck. On Nightmare, she hints at her personal history in this area, too. “I used to live with the roaches/now my neighbors either dumb rich or damn white,” she raps in “Candy.” In another song she mentions DC’s go-go godfather: “We keep drums like Chuck Brown.”

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Daniella Byck
Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.

Web Producer/Writer

Rosa joined Washingtonian in 2016 after graduating from Mount Holyoke College. She covers arts and culture for the magazine. She’s written about anti-racism efforts at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, dinosaurs in the revamped fossil hall at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, and the horrors of taking a digital detox. When she can, she performs with her family’s Puerto Rican folkloric music ensemble based in Jersey City. She lives in Adams Morgan.