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The Justice attended the opening of 'Dear Evan Hansen.' By Emily Codik
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (center) with Dear Evan Hansen's music and writing team. Left to right: Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, and Steven Levenson. Photo by Cameron Whitman Photography.

One day you're discussing the future of the death penalty and your affinity to Notorious B.I.G., and the next you're watching a heartfelt musical starring two twentysomethings who were once in Pitch Perfect and Glee.

That's how Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rolls.

Last night, accompanied by a slew of bodyguards and donning her signature scrunchie, she attended the opening of Dear Evan Hansen at Arena Stage. A little context: The musical stars Ben Platt--Benji Applebaum in the acapella film series Pitch Perfect--and Laura Dreyfuss, a Broadway starlet who plays Madison McCarthy on the sixth season of Glee.

Laura Dreyfuss as Zoe and Ben Platt as Evan in Dear Evan Hansen at Arena Stage. Photo by Margot Schulman.

If there was any doubt whether Platt could pull off a leading role, those concerns were squashed within the first few moments of the eight-character play. This is a rare opportunity to witness a production while it still feels young and new, but make no mistake: Platt and Dear Evan Hansen will surely flourish beyond the walls of Arena Stage, and it's a wonderful thing to see it, like RBG did, while it unfolds right in our own backyard.

RBG is a frequent theater patron. Last year, she recited a monologue at Arena Stage as part of a National Civil War Project event. In May, she participated in the Trial of Don Quixote alongside Justice Stephen Breyer for the Shakespeare Theatre Company's Bard Association's annual Mock Trial.

But last night, she didn't linger. Once the play was over, while the audience erupted in a standing ovation, the Justice slid out of the theater, turning a few heads as she walked out the door.

Dear Evan Hansen runs through August 23 at Arena Stage.

Posted at 10:25 AM/ET, 07/31/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The camp's annual showcase takes over the 9:30 Club on Saturday. By Sarah Ehlen
Two campers practicing their metal faces. Photo by Jeanni Centofanti.

A new generation of rock n’ roll divas take the stage at the 9:30 Club this Saturday for a musical showcase presented by Girls Rock! DC—a week-long camp for Washington ladies, ages eight to 18. Not only does the program teach these young women—some of whom have never touched a musical instrument before—how to play electric guitar, bass, keyboards, or turntables, it also gives them a chance to write original music and perform it live.

For the past eight years, the 9:30 Club has offered its space—free of charge—to the showcase, and this year is no different. Founding camp member Jennifer Fox-Thomas says the concert is not about showcasing talent, but about female empowerment. “The real focus is on a feminist and women’s movement. Music is just the medium,” she says. “We’re not a rock school, but we’re about girls finding their own visions of how they want the world to be.”

Volunteer Katie Greer of the band Preists joins two camp members during a lunchtime performance. Photo by Danielle Mouledoux.

Nine bands and two DJ crews—both digital and old-school vinyl—will perform the songs and sets crafted earlier this week. Since the camp is packed with pre-teen and teenage girls, you can expect to hear lyrics about the usual adolescent strife. As for band names? Power Gurlz and No Glitter on Saturday are just two examples. “A lot of the songs deal with the issues these girls are working through in their lives,” says Danielle Mouledoux, who handles communications for the camp. “There’s one called ‘My Perfect Imperfections’ about those little habits that might make them feel bad about themselves, and how they decide to accept themselves anyway.”

The showcase includes a raffle with prizes from Pleasant Pops and Red Onion Records and Books, as well as a brand-new feature: a 15-minute DJ battle and dance party to get the audience grooving along with campers. The two-hour show will also give staff members a chance to speak about the program between band songs and sets.

If you're older than 18 and still want to get your rock on, Girls Rock! DC has something for you, too. The second annual Ladies Rock DC camp in October offers women a chance to grab an instrument, hit the stage, and feel the feminine power.

Posted at 03:37 PM/ET, 07/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Tickets go on sale today at noon. By Emily Codik
DC fans, you have a month to select the perfect panties. Photo courtesy Moki Media.

Ruby Rose, the Orange Is the New Black star who has straight women everywhere questioning their sexuality, performs in Washington for the first time ever on September 4. The actress/DJ/recording artist/Justin Bieber look-alike will hit up Echostage and play her most famous singles—"Break Free" and "Guilty Pleasure"—alongside Michael Woods, an English producer and DJ.

In case you haven't heard, Rose gets panties thrown at her just about every time she performs. So, DC fans, you have been warned: You've got a month to buy the perfect lace panties—but only a few hours to snag tickets for the show. Tickets go on sale on Friday, July 31 at noon ET; be sure to pick up a pair before they sell out.

Posted at 03:19 PM/ET, 07/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Victoria Milko
Maketto and A Creative DC host a networking lunch on Friday. Grab some business cards with those pork buns! Photography by Jeff Elkins.


MUSIC: Local band BRNDA takes the stage at Black Cat’s Backstage, giving concert-goers a taste of their eccentric pop-rock sounds. They released their sophomore album through Babe City Records and have songs titled “Go Bi” and “Friends (Make A New),” so this will surely make for a promising night of silly antics and feel-good fun. $10, 7:30 PM.

ART: This might be one of the few times when walking down a dark alley at night sounds like a good idea. DC’s Leica camera store partners with coffee shop La Colombe to host a DIY one-night-only show in Blagden Alley, showcasing the photography of over 15 DC photographers. Local ice cream company Milk Cult provides treats; cocktails will also be available. Free, 8 PM.


LUNCH: If you’re looking for an excuse to tell your boss that you’re taking a long lunch, look no further. A Creative DC pairs up with Maketto to host their second monthly networking event for local entrepreneurs, creatives, and everything in-between. Grab some steamed pork buns and kick off the weekend here. Free, 11 AM to 2:30 PM.

MUSIC: English songbird Laura Marling takes the stage at the 9:30 Club, cooing listeners with her gentle melodies and confident verses. Earlier this year, the 25-year-old released her fifth album, Short Movie, to critical acclaim. $30, 8 PM.

Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon and Irish Sean-nós dancer and instrumentalist Shannon Dunne perform at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Photo courtesy Erin Scott Photography.


MUSIC: Haven’t gotten your monthly fill of beat-boxing or traditional Irish singing? Snag tickets to "Hip-Hop Meets the Music of Ireland" at the Atlas Performing Arts Center and get both at the same time. Featuring DC’s own Grammy-nominated artist Christylez Bacon and Sean-nós performer Shannon Dunne, the concert explores the connections between hip-hop, go-go, and traditional Irish music. Expect anything from djembe drums to congas--with some fancy footwork in between. $25, 8 PM.

RUN: The Midnight on Mars III run takes place along the bustling H Street corridor. Hosted by the District Running Collective, in an effort to encourage both experienced and new runners alike, the run allows participants to split into different groups and leave the starting line at different times. The race begins and ends at Gallery O on H Street; giveaways, live music, and drinks await at the finish line. Registration begins at 12 PM. The race starts at 9 PM. $40.


MUSEUMS: In 2004, a man digging through the crates of a local flea market discovered the work of artist Mingering Mike. The pieces, which include album art and song lyrics, provide a rare glimpse into DC's black musicians of the 1960’s and '70s. The exhibition of this collection, acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, closes on Sunday, when Mike’s creations return to the vaults once more. Free, 11:30 AM to 7 PM.

EXHIBITIONS: Care to finish the weekend in a meditative environment? Head on over to the National Arboretum’s "Third National Juried Bonsai Pot" exhibition, where you can witness the work of the premier bonsai ceramic artists of the country and admire the fine art of bonsai--including one tree that reportedly survived the bombing of Hiroshima. This show also closes on Sunday. Free, 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

Posted at 10:19 AM/ET, 07/30/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here's everything you need to know about the concert venue. By Emily Codik
Echostage is the largest dedicated concert venue in DC. Photo by Doug Van Sant.

Echostage is DC's largest dedicated concert venue, and it can hold thousands of people in its 30,000-plus-square-foot space. But it certainly isn't located in the heart of downtown, and a night in its dark, warehouse-ish building off New York Avenue, Northeast, can be difficult to plan. Here's everything you need to know if you're heading for the venue.

How to get there

Cabbing it or taking an Uber are probably the best choices; they'll save you the hassle of finding an affordable parking spot. If you want to take Metro, ride the Red Line to the NoMa-Gallaudet U Station. Echostage offers a free shuttle on the M Street, Northeast, exit, starting at 6:30 PM on Sunday through Thursday, and at 8:30 PM on Friday and Saturday. The last shuttle leaves the venue at 2:30 AM on Friday and Saturday night.

Where to park

Parking is available on the street and in lots surrounding the venue. Nearby spots cost anywhere from $10 to $30; check this parking map on Echostage's website for details. If you're planning to park on the street, bring cash. The nearest ATM is located inside the strip club Stadium Club--and it charges a whopping $6 convenience fee.

You can also try Parking Panda. The app lets you reserve and pay for a spot in advance--typically for about $10 on New York Avenue.

Where to eat and drink

Panda Gourmet (2700 New York Ave., NE; 202-534-1620): This Szechuan/Shaanxi restaurant occupies a brightly lit corner of a Days Inn, just a six-minute stroll from Echostage. Don't go for the ambience or service; go for the flavor bomb that is the mapo tofu, the wontons in chili oil, the mouth-searing dan dan noodles, and the stir-fried cumin lamb with dried peppers. This is our top pick in the area--plus, they've got beer.

Zion Kitchen (1805 Montana Ave., NE; 202-636-9097): Just an 11-minute walk from the show, Zion Kitchen serves Nigerian cooking, including a particularly good goat stew. The place is only open until 8 PM, so it's best for an early dinner.

Flip It Twice (1544 Rhode Island Ave., NE; 202-269-2980): Stop by this no-frills spot for omelets, waffles, sandwiches, and homemade desserts like cakes and pies. It isn't exactly a showstopper, but it'll do the job in a crunch.

MGM Roast Beef (1905 Brentwood Rd., NE; 202-248-0389): It's about a ten minute drive from the venue and closes at 6 PM, but if you're early to a show, stop by for hand-carved-to-order ham sandwiches.

Askale Cafe (3629 12th St., NE; 202-758-0077): Also located about ten minutes away from Echostage, Askale Cafe offers Ethiopian cuisine in a laid-back setting.

Union Market (1309 5th St., NE; 301-347-3998): You could always stop by Union Market on the way to the show and grab some oysters from Rappahannock Oyster Bar, a sandwich and beer from Red Apron Butchery, or brisket from The BBQ Joint.

Echostage, by the way, stocks a full bar. As far as prices go, a Corona can goes for $6; a Stella Artois costs $7.

Posted at 05:35 PM/ET, 07/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph courtesy of Washington Nationals.

1. Jim Gaffigan

Wolf Trap, August 12

Jim Gaffigan doesn’t need to go far to find material: He and his wife share a two-bedroom apartment in New York City with their five children—a situation that inspired his new TV Land sitcom, The Jim Gaffigan Show. This comedian (and Georgetown grad) brings his standup act to Wolf Trap this month. $30 to $60.

2. Furia Flamenca

Dance Place, August 1-2

Ideal Stage: A pop-up at the Alhambra with oud players, sherry, and mucha paella.

Spirit Animal: Jessica Rabbit’s long-lost Andalusian cousin.

M.O.: Sultry arm movements, finger-snapping, and copious ruffles.

Tagline: Showcasing the often overlooked Middle Eastern roots of flamenco.

$25 to $30

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Posted at 04:35 PM/ET, 07/29/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Bonus: These are all really cheap. By Emily Codik
Pick your own blackberries at Homestead Farm in Poolesville. Photo by Shutterstock.

Try the lunch buffet at Woodlands in Fairfax

You could take your date to Le Diplomate for a brunch of oysters and boudin noir. Or you could venture instead to a strip mall in Fairfax, where there's a killer south Indian restaurant serving endless amounts of dosas, paneer butter masala, and bhelpuri. On weekends, from 11:30 AM to 3 PM, the buffet costs $10.95 per person and includes everything from curried okra to tamarind rice. Pro tip: Keep an eye out for those dosas. They taste best when they haven't been sitting out long; pounce as soon as they're brought out to the buffet.

Catch a show at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage

Romantic outings at Jazz at the Garden usually involve standing in a drink line for 20 minutes then pushing and shoving your way onto a tiny strip of lawn, where you can hardly hear the music. Here's a better idea: Check out Millennium Stage, where the concerts are free, and the venue has chairs! Finish up the evening with a leisurely stroll on the terrace, taking in those stunning views of the Potomac.

Get two pints worth of beer at Port City for $10. Photo by Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Eat Puerto Rican food and drink beer at Port City Brewing in Alexandria

On Friday nights, the Borinquen Lunch Box food truck slings Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, and slow-roasted pork shoulder from Port City Brewing's parking lot. From 7 to 9 PM, there's live music inside the brewery. Share a side dish of alcapurrias--plantain fritters stuffed with beef--then wash it all down with a $10 flight of beer while taking in the tunes. Each tasting brings six glasses with four- to six-ounces of beer, so it's quite the great deal.

Explore Roosevelt Island

This 88-acre park, connected to Arlington via footbridge, offers a city escape that's a little more special that the customary trek through Rock Creek Park. Walking around the island doesn't involve any strenuous climbing, so it's perfect for dates who want to spend time outdoors without turning into a sweaty mess.

Take a group dance class at Salsa with Silvia

Salsa with Silvia's dance school occupies what appears to be the owner's basement. Pay no mind: What it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in smooth hip motions. Weekend group dance classes range from salsa to Argentine tango to merengue and bachata, and pupils are encouraged to switch partners throughout the lesson, so it's a great ice-breaker for dates. First-timers pay $12 for a class and $17 each time after that. (Sign up in advance. Salsa classes in particular tend to get packed.)

Live a little! Rent a canoe. Photo by Emily Codik.
Rent a canoe at Burke Lake Park

If your date is in the mood for a walk, Burke Lake Park has a great nearly five-mile trail. However, renting a rowboat and exploring the gorgeous 218-acre lake might be a better way to spend the afternoon. (There's also great fishing. The lake is stocked with walleye, yellow and white perch, catfish, and more.) Non-Fairfax residents pay $10 per car for entry; rowboat and canoe rentals cost $10.50 for a half-day, $16 for a full day plus $1 each for life preservers and $5 for a single launch fee.

Visit 52 O Street Studios during Open Studio weekend

About twice a year, this four-story warehouse showcases its artist studios with a cool open house event. Sauntering through these walls usually involves close encounters with handmade knitwear, art installations, custom furniture, and photography. During the rest of the year, the building hosts openings, film screenings, and workshops. Follow the space on Facebook to stay up to date on events.

The 40-minute trek to Rocklands Farm is totally worth it. Photo by K-Town Studio Photography, courtesy Rocklands Farm.
Pick blackberries at Homestead Farm then drink wine at Rocklands Farm in Poolesville

Start the day at Homestead Farm, a 230-acre chunk of land, where you can pick your own blackberries, peaches, and zinnias. (The flowers are gorgeous and cost only 40 cents a stem.) In the summer, at the market on-site, you can buy peach smoothies and house-grown zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes--heirloom, cherry, and sungold. During the fall, expect hayrides, pumpkin patches, and hot apple cider.

Round out your visit to Poolesville with a stop at Rocklands Farm next door. The winery offers tastings in a rustic barnyard setting for about $7 a glass, and on weekends, it's a great spot for lunch. In the past, they've served burgers and pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven.

Daikaya’s noodles come from a Japanese supplier who makes them using a custom recipe, then ages them before they’re shipped. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Hit up Daikaya's ramen shop and izakaya

Anyone who's been to Daikaya for ramen knows the waits can be incredibly long. Here's our advice: Leave your name with the hostess then head upstairs to the izakaya (a sort of Japanese pub), date in-hand. Grab a seat at the bar, and order a cocktail and a few skewers while you wait. Once you get a ring from the hostess, the bartender will take your unfinished drinks downstairs. Try the vegetable ramen, teeming with Brussels sprouts, snow peas, and wood ear mushrooms.

Check out Phillips after Five at the Phillips Collection

The Phillips Collection stays open late on the first Thursday of every month. In August, there's a summer road trip-themed bash ($12, 5 to 8:30 PM) that sounds extra date-worthy. Food trucks, like Red Hook Lobster, CapMac, Carolina Q, and Z-Burger, offer dinner, and Right Proper Brewing Company provides the brews. Gallery talks and vintage jazz tunes round out the night.

Posted at 04:02 PM/ET, 07/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Fresh T-shirts and bumper stickers promote a documentary about the station. By James Michael Causey
Nancy H. Showacre, who was married to the late DJ Bob “Here” Showacre, Adele Abrams, Ty Ford, and Jonathan “Weasel” Gilbert show off HFS merchandise new (Weasel's shirt) and vintage (everything else). Photograph by Deborah Jaffe.

Last Wednesday, dozens of former WHFS DJs and other personnel gathered at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club to unveil the beloved radio station's first bumper stickers and T-shirts in more than 30 years to promote Feast Your Ears: The Story of WHFS 102.3 FM, a documentary in progress by Jay Schlossberg.

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Posted at 01:54 PM/ET, 07/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here are the best events around town. By Emily Codik
A camera used by an Associated Press reporter while covering Vietnam from 1962 to 1975. Women who covered Vietnam will be at the Newseum this week discussing their experiences. Photo by Amy Joseph/Newseum.


MUSEUMS: What was it like for women covering the Vietnam War? This Newseum event, moderated by CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr, answers that question through the testimony of four journalists, including Edith Lederer, the first woman hired full-time by the Associated Press to report on Vietnam. Free, 7 PM.

MUSIC: Go ahead: Blame the German pair known as Milky Chance for creating the catchy folktronica tune "Stolen Dance," which is impossible not to bop your head to. Their second single, "Flashed Junk Mind," is equally as good. They sold out their first US tour--and tonight they're performing at Echostage with X Ambassadors as their opening act. $35, 7 PM.


MUSIC: Last year, Interpol released "El Pintor"--the rock band's first album since their self-titled release in 2010. Now they're back on the road, touring for the first time in years and hitting up Washington for a performance at Echostage. $40, 7 PM.


FILM: The Jane Austen Film Festival continues at Dumbarton House with an outdoor screening of Pride and Prejudice. It's the last evening for the series, so grab a picnic blanket and head over to Georgetown for a dose of Keira Knightly under the stars. Pre-registration for the event is full; be sure to get there early to score your own space on the lawn. 7:30 to 10 PM.

MUSEUMS: Everyone's favorite ball pit stays open late on Wednesdays throughout the summer. Stop by the National Building Museum's "The Beach" for some local craft beer, speciality cocktails, and a dip in a germ-free ocean of plastic spheres. $16, 5 to 9 PM.

This could be you at 7 AM on Wednesday morning. Photo courtesy Daybreaker DC.

PARTY: You could sleep in on Wednesday morning--or you can crawl out of bed and head over to Daybreaker DC at Dock 5 of Union Market for a early morning fete. Starting at 6 AM, there will be dancing, live music, tunes by DJ David Hôhme, yoga, and an assortment of juices, coffee, and tea. $20 to $35, 6 to 9 AM.

Posted at 10:17 AM/ET, 07/27/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
He's not exactly a big Mel Brooks fan. By Benjamin Freed
Mel Brooks's expression is understandable. Photograph by Featureflash / Shutterstock.

Olney Theatre's production of Mel Brooks's 2001 musical The Producers only has three more performances, but it's not going to close without a bit of manufactured controversy. Audience members at Montgomery County playhouse are going to have to walk past a small coterie protesting the show's play-within-the-play, because, the demonstrators say, it makes light of Adolf Hitler and the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.

"I understand the intent is satire," says Jeffrey Imm, who is organizing the demonstration through his anti-discrimination group, Responsible for Equality And Liberty. "This is the point of morality: some things we have to recognize as absolute evil. When 6 million people are murdered, we don’t view it with knee-slapping, we view it with reverence."

In The Producers, which is adapted from Brooks's Oscar-winning 1968 film of the same name, two crooked Broadway producers endeavor to profit off a critical and commercial flop, which they believe they find in Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden, which portrays Hitler as a flamboyant dandy.

Even though the jokes in The Producers come at the expense of show-business types and Nazis, Imm is not impressed by its humor, or the original Broadway run's record 12 Tony Awards. Contemporary audiences, he argues, are no longer frightened by genocide.

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Posted at 05:40 PM/ET, 07/24/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()