We’ve got outdoor fun, Indian percussion, and (virtual) embassy tours.
Here’s what you should check out this weekend:
Bikes and bites: Try a different type of treasure hunt in Arlington for some outdoor fun. Phoenix Bikes is organizing a hunt to find “Small Bites” a 16-mile loop around town, starting at either Crystal City Water Park or Bluemont Park. Friday 4/30 through Monday 5/3; $35, buy tickets here.
Cool for the summer: Events! They’re actually happening! We’ve got a preview of the new concert lineups from Capital One Arena (masks up!) and the outdoor Merriweather Post Pavilion; also check out the fun stuff coming to Wolf Trap here.
A show and beer combo: Sip something sour, hear live music, and play lawn games at this new beer garden/venue by Sugarloaf Mountain. My coworker Jessica Sidman says it’s like one giant summer camp.
Move your feet: Musician Zakir Hussain has melded tabla, a drum in Indian classical music, with rock, jazz, folk, and more. In this prerecorded Washington Performing Arts event, Hussain performs with a “Masters of Percussion” ensemble featuring various instruments from around the world, including India’s mridangam and Iran’s tombak and daf. Friday 4/30 at 8 PM (available to stream through Thursday 5/6); $25, buy tickets here.
International flair: If you’re missing the embassy tours, Passport DC is still happening, virtually of course. Cultural Tourism DC has organized a bike tour, concerts, book talks, cooking classes, and more so you can experience a little global fun from home. Events are throughout the month of May; find out more here.
IRL: Shakespeare Theatre Company is reopening its doors for Blindness, an immersive socially distant performance where audiences, instead of the actors, occupy the stage for a light and sound installation. From London-based theater Donmar Warehouse, the experience features no actors—just a voiceover, in headphones—to tell a dystopian story based on José Saramago’s novel of the same name. It’s set in a pandemic, only this disease spreads blindness. Saturday 5/1 through June 13; $44-$64, buy tickets here.
Bibliophiles unite: Capitol Hill’s annual Literary Hill BookFest is online again this year, so tune in to hear from various authors in fiction, children’s lit, mystery, poetry, and other genres or try a writing workshop. Sunday 5/2 at 11 AM; Free, register here.
I talked to the undeniably cool DC pop trio Shaed about the difficult but rewarding journey to their debut album. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
Shaed had a huge year in 2018, scoring a significant hit with “Trampoline,” a dreamy electro-pop track that broke through after it soundtracked an Apple commercial. A remix featuring British pop star Zayn hit number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Between endless live performances, the DC-area trio worked intently on what was supposed to be its big debut album. The recording was complete by early 2020, a promotional tour was scheduled, and a marketing push was planned. But none of that ended up happening. The shows were a casualty of the pandemic, of course. The album was scrapped for more complicated reasons.
Shaed’s members—Chelsea Lee, who grew up in McLean, and Max and Spencer Ernst, who are from Silver Spring—have been friends since they met at the 9:30 Club in high school, and they started performing together in 2012. The trio’s bond goes way beyond the musical: The Ernsts are twins, and Spencer married Lee in 2018. Until relatively recently, all three lived in a house in Silver Spring, where they shared—uncomfortably—a single bathroom.
The group wrote “Trampoline” in the living room of that house—just a routine session that ended up changing their lives. But when it was time to pen songs for their full album, things came about far less organically. They found themselves working with industry pros in Los Angeles studios. “We had this illusion that we needed big pop songs,” says Lee. “We were trying to write the next big hit.”
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