Inside D.C. entertainment

Archive for April 2011

DCTV Viewers' Choice Awards: Voting begins Sunday!

April 29, 2011 - 01:45 PM
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Did you watch any District of Columbia public access television in the last 12 months? Did you see a program you especially liked? Help it win a Viewers' Choice award!

Beginning May 1, you can visit DCTV's website and vote for your favorite shows in categories such as news, health, and "enrichment."

The entertainment race is especially stacked with good stuff, including a fiery episode of the soap Anacostia, area hip-hop artist/activist Supa Tim's hip-hop show Da Cipher, and Breeze Country (see the clip above) the awesome hand-dancing bonanza that films at Daniel "Breeze" Clayton's Capitol Heights events center, MJ's Meeting Place.

Voting is open through June 1. And the nominees are...

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Tbd Picks: The Real Inspector Hound

April 29, 2011 - 01:15 PM
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Photo by Michael Bailey

The Real Inspector Hound at Metrostage

Critiquing a play about self-indulgent theater critics who are critiquing a play is a bit too meta for comfort. But it's not as meta as the evening becomes for Moon and Birdboot (Ralph Cosham and Michael Tolaydo, respectively) the two theater critics who have settled into their seats for an Agatha Christie-spoofing whodunit without realizing that they play a different sort of critical role in the evening's performance. The pair provide extemporaneous commentary about the play as it progresses, but their ulterior motives are soon revealed: Birdboot is sleeping with the actresses, conflicts of interest be damned, and Moon, a low-on-the-totem-pole critic, is preoccupied with professional jealousy of the first stringer, Higgs.

Meanwhile, before them, an overwrought melodrama is unfolding: A madman is on the loose near an isolated mansion, and a dead man lies in its parlor. Is the murderer tennis tart Felicity (Kimberly Gilbert), wealthy widow Cynthia Muldoon (Emily Townley), mysterious Canadian Magnus (John Dow), attractive cad Simon (Doug Krehbel), or the housekeeper, Mrs. Drudge (Catherine Flye)? These actors all look like they're having a great time playing their archetypes to the hilt (except for the four men who rotate through the role of the dead body — they must remain motionless for the duration of the play). But after the Inspector Hound (David Elias) arrives on the scene, things get murky for Moon and Birdboot. A ringing phone draws them into the play, and they replace two of its actors in the second act, with disastrous results.

Tom Stoppard's 1962 play deftly skewers lazy writing in both theater and journalism, with the actors reciting ridiculously heavy-handed foreshadowing ("Well, I think I'll go oil my gun," says Magnus) and the critics brainstorming bloated writing ("Je suis, it seems to be saying, ergo sum," says Moon). But there's room in the play to contemplate some of the heavier topics we laugh at the pair for their pretension in referencing, such as self-determinism, and the meaning of fiction and reality. If analyzing a play for the topics that its characters are ridiculed for analyzing is also a little too meta, we can stick to Birdboot's assessment: "A rattling good evening out. I was held."

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Transformers: Dark of the Moon trailer: D.C. barely gets destroyed!

April 29, 2011 - 11:52 AM
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Lightning. Whatever.

Chicago gets its guts ripped out in the new trailer for Transformers: Dark of the Moon. D.C.'s barely in it -- just from 1:06 to 1:11. How nice for Chicago! Let me ask you this, Chicago: Did you devote anywhere near the amount of energy to covering the filming's stop in your city that we did? Of course not! (Note: I haven't checked this.)

Would Chicago have:

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'American Idol' tour comes to D.C. in August

April 29, 2011 - 10:30 AM
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Yeah, so two of these people won't be on the tour. But the other 11 will. AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Still upset that Pia Toscano was eliminated from the current season of American Idol? Well, you'll get to see/hear her again when the American Idols Live! tour comes to Verizon Center on August 19. The top 11 season 10 contestants will perform; tickets go on sale May 13.

The tour has announced all of its summer dates; full Idol-riffic release is below.

Washington, D.C. - AMERICAN IDOL will heat up arenas across North America, when AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE! returns for another summer jaunt, showcasing performances by this season’s top 11. The tour commences in West Valley City, UT at the Maverik Center on Wednesday, July 6 and includes a date at Verizon Center on Friday, August 19 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 13 at 10:00 a.m.

AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE! 2011 lineup promises to be the most memorable yet given the diverse and daring talent on the roster, and it’s hitting markets all across North America with 45 dates confirmed. The top 11 comprising the tour—Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, Jacob Lusk, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Naima Adedapo, Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano, Scotty McCreery, Stefano Langone and Thia Megia —are primed and pumped to give fans a night of unique and unforgettable performances.

AMERICAN IDOL remains the #1 rated show in America, watched more than any other programming, and it’s because of the amazing talent. This year, iconic judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez went through a tight race to narrow the contestants down for America to decide who will be the next big star. Their wisdom, candor, and sense of humor continue to propel the show along at a lightning pace.

Watching AMERICAN IDOL at home is always enjoyable, but seeing these artists live is an experience. Past tours have featured current pop luminaries such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, David Cook, Adam Lambert, Lee DeWyze and so many more. Every summer the tour keeps IDOL alive in arenas everywhere allowing the audiences the chance to get up close and personal with their favorite contestants. This top 11 will have crowds on their feet singing along to every word.

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Royal Wedding: Dispatches from the Ritz-Carlton Watch Party

April 29, 2011 - 05:56 AM
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It is 5 a.m., and everyone is wearing hats. Feathered hats. Straw hats. Flowered hats. Tiny hats. As Kate Middleton prefers, fascinators. I'm at the Ritz Carlton's Royal Watch Party with approximately 250 other women who are dressed to the nines before the sun has even come up, all to eat scones with clotted cream and gasp over ohmigod, the wedding of the century. A report:

5:36: I arrive at the Ritz and am greeted by a harp player. And camera crews. The decorations in this room, for the enjoyment of those watching someone else's wedding, are nicer than the decorations that most of the people in this room will enjoy for their own weddings.

5:52: There is a glimpse of Kate Middleton's sleeve in the car. The entire room gasps.

6:01: Dress designer revealed: Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. Curiosity sated, a longer line forms at the breakfast buffet.

6:08: A woman at my table remarks that she has a crush on Prince Harry. A spoilsport, I inquire about that whole Nazi costume thing.

6:18: Prince William has difficulty fitting Kate's ring on her finger. A chill falls over the room. Wedding ruined! Oh, no, there it goes.

6:33: "This is as every wedding day should be." Expensive? "A day of hope." Ok, that too. You have probably ascertained by now that this is not the same breathless coverage you can expect from other liveblogs, like our sister site WJLA's.

6:37: Royal Wedding Watch brunch menu: Bangers, scones with clotted cream, bagel with lox. They are all delicious. They're temporarily out of the black pudding. Is Prince William's bald spot looking bigger?

6:42: People I hope to talk to here as soon as everyone's done eating: The women who have brought bride-and-groom-dressed pugs, the woman who stapled bags of British tea to her hat (she can probably reuse that for another occasion!), the dudes wearing kilts who have undoubtedly figured out that this is an excellent place to pick up girls.

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TBD Picks: Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

April 28, 2011 - 01:14 PM
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A 2009 production of 'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind' at Woolly Mammoth. (Photo: Colin Hovde)

"Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind": The Neo-Futurists at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

There's a moment in the short play, "About a buck-seven," when the Neo-Futurists get serious about the future of the arts, in a bleak premonition. Just a few weeks after their host theater, Woolly Mammoth, sent out an email urging donations to fill a budget gap left by recent congressional cuts, the five players of this Chicago troupe presented a short vignette about the value of art, and lack thereof of money. Company member Bilal Dardai spoke movingly of having to beg for money to be an artist, while billions of dollars were poured into the war. Speaking of the depreciation of the Iraqi dinar, Dardai said, "When society changes, the art remains art. The money doesn't remain money."

Aside from this glimpse ahead, the Neo-Futurists remain firmly rooted in the present. That's been their goal since the troupe was founded in 1988: to present "non-illusory" theater, in which actors play themselves and there is no suspension of disbelief required of the audience. Dardai warmed the crows up by saying that "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind," their collection of 30 plays to be performed in 60 minutes, may not look like a play. "It will probably not look like Clybourne Park," he added.

What follows is a madcap hour of music, physical comedy and short sketches, some of which verge more on the brink of performance art than theater. In "Hold me while I read the news," company member Caitlin Stainken requests a member of the audience to help her do just that – and when she reads something tragic, her volunteer must comfort her. But the blend of social commentary vs. absurdist humor is tipped slightly more towards the latter, with skits like "Get on Your Ass and Lasso," which ropes an audience member into a suggestive dance and "Late Evening Dry Land Dolphin-Based Book Club," in which humans discuss To Kill a Mockingbird and dive through hoops. But because the Neo-Futurists change up the "menu" of the show each night, you might see an entirely different set of plays, determined by a roll of the dice.

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Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day: My kids review a concert

April 28, 2011 - 12:44 PM
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With all respect to my fellow parents who ate lunch at 10:45 today and who are desperately tossing office supplies at their children in hopes of getting SOME work done, I'm not a big Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day guy. I think the chances of my kids learning something from watching me weep at my desk compare unfavorably with the opportunities afforded by Alexandria's public schools. And frankly, their interest in my office plummeted after a coworker who always kept lollipops on her desk got laid off.

So I decided to take them to see Queen last night instead. Well, not Queen exactly, but Gary Mullen & the Works, a Queen tribute band that was performing at Strathmore. I picked that show because they love Queen's Greatest Hits I & II. Well, really Vol. I: Vol. II has too much disco for their taste. They are heshers.

Strathmore gave us tickets. The kids, 6 and 3 years old respectively, took naps to get ready. I agreed to give them earplugs and identify them only by birth order to get my wife to go along with this.

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Lil' Mo on her new album, her theater experience, and life after radio

April 28, 2011 - 09:30 AM
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Lil' Mo, the R&B star who joined local radio station WPGC 95.5 as an afternoon host last year, parted ways with the station last week, ending her successful program, The Lil' Mo Show. The singer can’t talk about the specifics of the split, but wants fans to know that while she enjoyed her time at PGC, she is ready to refocus on her music.

“I won’t speak about WPGC, because that’s business, but I will say it was a great platform,” she says. “People heard me speak, and there is no better experience than to be heard. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. But it's time to do what I was called to do."

After a four year hiatus from music, Mo is promoting a single, "On the Floor," and readying both a mixtape and a new album, P.S. I Love Me.

"I released the single last year as a feeler, but we re-released it because, you know, it takes time for things to grow on people. I didn’t know Jennifer Lopez has a song with the same title! Not trying to be funny, but I think mine is better, because I sing a lil' better, but if we did a remix, and she came up with a dance for it, I think that would be a go," Mo says, laughing.

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Smithsonian censorship panel rankles critics, curators

April 27, 2011 - 07:15 PM
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A two-day Smithsonian forum devoted to learning from the Hide/Seek controversy ended with little gained, other than the realization that the public's desire for a satisfactory atonement for the censorship of David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire in My Belly" may never be met. Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough, who made the decision to remove the film after conservatives objected to a brief image of ants on a crucifix, stood by his choice in his first public address in Washington. After an artist attempted to hang a sign that said "CENSOR" around his neck, he did not return for the second day of discussions.

Former Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik and Hide/Seek co-curators David Ward and Jonathan Katz provided the strongest voices of dissent among panelists in an otherwise tepid series of discussions about the cultural repercussions of the November removal of the film. It's no surprise that the two-day event lacked passion: It was being hosted four months after the controversy's peak, and two months after the exhibition about gay identity in art had closed. The seats were mostly empty on the second day, and there were no organized protests, as there were for the January Board of Regents meeting. "Better late than never," said Johnetta Cole, director of the National Museum of African Art, and the moderator for a panel.

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How fucked is Metro? Web developer seeks algorithmic answer

April 27, 2011 - 04:04 PM
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As any regional Twitter fiend knows, expressions of profanity have a very close relationship with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA/Metro). They're on a single track, so to speak.

And that may explain why the brand-new website howfuckedismetro.com is killing it on visitors today. According to site founder Joey Brunelle, the site has gotten in excess of 6,000 hits since it went live around midnight.

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Is Chris Cooley qualified to be a tour manager?

April 27, 2011 - 02:52 PM
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Chris Cooley (Photo: AP)

Redksins player Chris Cooley is serving as the "official tour manager" for Zep Fest, the three-day celebration of all things Led Zeppelin that goes down at National Harbor over Memorial Day weekend. The job mostly consists of introducing the acts, but still: what does this dude know about music? Football? Sure. Pottery? Hell yes. But music festivals?

As it turns out, other than the fact that he once refused to engage safety robot Clicky in a rap battle, the tight end actually has some expertise in the area.

An examination of his musical credentials:

Songs of the Week

Cooley's "songs of the week" lists, which he posts to his personal blog during the season, are much beloved. In the past, Cooley has expressed a puzzling fondness for Jack Johnson and hated on certain Kanye West singles, but overall his musical tastes are pretty solid. (UGK! Ra Ra Riot! Warrant!). And he may be the first football player in history to be immune to the charms of the Pussycat Dolls.

Promotions experience

Cooley's father-in-law, Scott Oglevee, is an accomplished musician, who released an album, Lost in my Music, back in 2009. Cooley did a fine job promoting the project.

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Wolf Trap's 'The Inspector': The serious business of comic opera

April 27, 2011 - 02:43 PM
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OK, try this: spend five years planning three nights of opera. You'll be presenting the finished results in a barn. And, oh yeah, it's got to be funny. Any takers?

Tonight at the Barns at Wolf Trap, The Inspector will be performed for the first time (or the next-to-next-to-last time, depending on your perspective). Mark Campbell, who wrote the lyrics for the opera, says he likes the higher stakes.

"I always think it's funny when people say, 'Why don't you write serious work?'," he says. "Comedy is a lot harder to write than a strictly dramatic work."

Campbell's authority on this point is hard to contest. He also went through some stomach-churning moments before his last comic opera for Wolf Trap, 2004's Volpone, which like The Inspector he wrote with composer John Musto.

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The already famous hopefuls of 'The Voice'

April 27, 2011 - 11:32 AM
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Did you watch the new NBC singing competition The Voice last night? You know, the one where four celebrity coaches--Adam Levine, Cee-Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, and Blake Shelton--hear singers in "blind auditions" (their backs are turned to the artists), and then try to get the musicians to join their respective teams. No? Well, you missed some good stuff! 

We learned that Levine has never heard "Bless the Broken Road," and that people who don't listen to country music have no idea who Shelton is, or why he's qualified to sit on a stage with Xtina, Cee-Lo, and the dude who sings "This Love."

What you didn't miss was a whole lot of fresh, new talented voices. Talented, yes, but not exactly new. There were a few industry newcomers last night, including 16-year-old Xenia and adorable power singer Jeff Jenkins, but also a large percentage of contestants with established careers.

No one was expecting The Voice to feature tone-deaf train wrecks, a la American Idol, but the number of singers who are already (semi) famous was surprising.

Frenchie Davis

Davis, who sang Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," and will compete on #teamxtina,  is a D.C. native who was famously ousted from season 2 of American Idol after the show's producers discovered that she once modeled topless. But, Davis went on to become a well-known star of the stage, most notably in a run of Rent.

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Artist attempts to hang 'Censor' sign on Smithsonian secretary's neck

April 27, 2011 - 12:16 AM
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Artist Adrian Parsons is separated from Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough after Parsons attempted to hang a sign around his neck. (Photo: Maura Judkis)

Updated 11 a.m.

Artist and activist Adrian Parsons attempted to hang a "Censor" sign around the neck of Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough following a panel discussion about the National Portrait Gallery controversy at the Freer Gallery Tuesday night. Parsons approached Clough after the discussion had concluded, shook his hand, and tried to hang the handmade sign, but it was swatted away by the secretary. When he was pushed against a wall by a security guard, Parsons shouted, "Clough stands for censorship!" He was escorted from the premises by security and questioned, but no further action was taken against him.

The scuffle followed a tepid discussion in the opening day of "Flashpoints and Fault Lines: Museum Curation and Controversy," the Smithsonian-organized forum that comes months after a controversy about Hide/Seek, a GLBT-themed art exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery had closed. On Nov. 30, Clough ordered the removal of the David Wojnarowicz film "A Fire in My Belly," after it became the target of conservative criticism for its religious themes. The decision was met by a huge outcry from the art community, who demonstrated against the censorship. In the days following, Parsons protested the Smithsonian's actions by picketing in front of the gallery, and projecting the censored film onto the facade of the Portrait Gallery.

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New releases: Bootsy Collins, Of Montreal

April 26, 2011 - 01:30 PM
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It's Bootsy, baby bubba! (album cover)

New music to buy/stream/steal.

Bootsy Collins, Tha Funk Capital of the World

The Internet says: "Bootsy Collins has called his new studio album a “musical biography,” and insomuch as it outlines the influences that helped shape the flamboyant singer-bassist's creative worldview, “Tha Funk Capital of the World” lives up to its billing: Throughout this cameo-stuffed 17-track set, Collins and his pals (including Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Bela Fleck and Samuel L. Jackson) waste no opportunity to describe the formative impact of such funk-scene forefathers as James Brown and George Clinton, both of whom Collins famously backed." (The Los Angeles Times)

Watch: Collins talks about the project.

Buy/listen

Of Montreal, thecontrollersphere EP

The Internet says: "From the deafening thrash that kicks off “Black Lion Massacre”, of Montreal make it clear that they’re done fucking around." (Consequence of Sound)

Watch: No, it's not from thecontrollersphere, but Solange + "Sex Karma" never gets old.



Buy/listen

Of Montreal performs at the 9:30 Club on April 28.

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D.C. Jazz Fest: Jimmy Heath and Eddie Palmieri to be honored

April 26, 2011 - 10:45 AM
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Eddie Palmieri (publicity photo)

The organizers of the D.C. Jazz Festival announced this morning that saxophonist Jimmy Heath and pianist Eddie Palmieri will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at this year's event. The festival runs from June 1 through 13, at various locations around the city.

Heath and Palmieri will join such DCJF Hall-of-Famers as Dr. Billy Taylor and Ellis Marsalis. DC Jazz Festival executive producer Charles Fishman said in a statement that “[n]o words could adequately express how much Mr. Heath and Mr. Palmieri have impacted the jazz genre and community.” Full text of the release is below:

April 26, 2011, Washington, D.C.—The DC Jazz Festival(DCJF) today announced that its annual Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to two unique jazz legends: brilliant saxophonist Jimmy Heath, and celebrated Puerto Rican pianist, Eddie Palmieri -- both also renowned bandleaders and prodigious composers -- at its 7th annual festival, held June 1-13. Each year the DCJF honors jazz greats for their lifetime contributions to jazz and humanity. Past awardees include James Moody, Ellis Marsalis, George Wein, Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Dr. Billy Taylor and Dave Brubeck.

“We are thrilled to present this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to two distinguished artists in recognition of their indelible contributions to jazz. They have dedicated their lives to jazz as an art form, educational tool and unifying force,” said DC Jazz Festival Executive Producer Charles Fishman. “No words could adequately express how much Mr. Heath and Mr. Palmieri have impacted the jazz genre and community.”

A nine-time Grammy Award winner, Eddie Palmieri is renowned for his unique blend of jazz and Latin rhythms. His musical career spans more than 50 years as a groundbreaking pianist, composer/arranger, and leader of celebrated Salsa and Latin jazz orchestras, as well as smaller ensembles. Palmieri, a restless, yet instinctive artist, embraces the future of his music by unapologetically blazing a distinctive musical path. A true powerhouse of brilliance, known for his astute arranging skills and historic compositions, he has also generously mentored countless young musicians throughout his career. Palmieri and his 11-piece All-Star Salsa Orchestra will close the free Jazz on the National Mall extravaganza on Sunday, June 12.

The second oldest brother of the legendary Heath Brothers, Mr. Heath has long been recognized as a virtuoso instrumentalist, and magnificent composer/arranger. He has performed on more than 100 recordings with his own groups, as well as with jazz icons such as Dizzy Gillespie™, James Moody, and Miles Davis, to name just a few. Mr. Heath has and written more than 125 compositions, many of which have become jazz standards, The Heath Brothers will perform on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11 at Bohemian Caverns. A preeminent educator, he directed the jazz program at Queens College in New York for many years.

“At this year’s festival, we celebrate two jazz greats who truly represent what this rich and traditional genre is all about,” said Michael Sonnenreich, Chairman and CEO of Kikaku America International and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the DC Jazz Festival. “Mr. Heath and Mr. Palmieri serve as model ambassadors for jazz music around the world.”

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Helen Hayes Awards 2011: The definitive timeline

April 26, 2011 - 10:35 AM
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Helen Hayes Tribute Award winner Tommy Tune (l).

6:18: I arrive, and immediately meet up with WeLoveDC's Patrick Pho for a night of live tweeting, beginning with the Chairman's Reception. We look down from the mezzanine to a nearly-empty red carpet figuring we're on the early side, but walk into a packed ballroom. Theater people are prompt. Oh hey, there's Helen Hayes Tribute Award winner Tommy Tune.

6:37: A chat with actor Derek Thompson (who is also a journalist for the Atlantic), and his co-star from Theater J's The Chosen, Joshua Morgan. Morgan is being honored with the John Aniello Award for best new theater company, for No Rules Theatre. Thompson, whose hair was dyed red for his role in The Chosen, tells me he has cut most of it off, and dyed it back to a dark shade of brown. It's his first Helen Hayes Awards.

6:43: Michael Dove, artistic director of Forum Theater, is a presenter tonight, and he warns me that he's going to try something "different." He and his company are too cool for school, they're about to ditch this reception and go to Old Ebbitt for booze and oysters. It's a Forum tradition.

6:48: Speaking of food, here's what's on the Chairman's Reception menu: salad with cherry vinaigrette, seasonal vegetables, honey BBQ short ribs, pistachio-crusted salmon, mashed potatoes, a variety of sauces. For dessert, fruit tarts and mixed berries in a wine glass.

6:54: Maurice Hines arrives. Because I would make a terrible paparazzo, I took this blurry picture of him hugging someone. Pho tells me that whenever he hears the name Maurice Hines, he thinks Duncan Hines. We stare longingly at the desserts. A crowd begins to gather outside of the Warner.

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RIP Poly Styrene: Arts links for Tuesday

April 26, 2011 - 06:24 AM
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Poly Styrene, the singer for X-Ray Spex before embarking on a solo career, died Monday. She was 53. Many tributes are sure to follow; Marianne Joan Elliot-Said inspired many geeky young people, both women and men, that they had a place in the music world. Guardian

"Despite her relatively short stint with the band, Styrene's overt feminism and mixed-race heritage marked her out among her punk contemporaries and won her legions of fans for generations to come. Beth Ditto, singer with Gossip, said: 'Poly Styrene [was] so ahead of her time. She recreated punk.'"

More.

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'Afterschool' to film in D.C. this summer

April 25, 2011 - 12:00 PM
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SoBlu productions, the filmmakers behind 2008's Jazz in the Diamond District, are set to shoot another movie in D.C. this summer.

Afterschool will follow a group of recent college graduates living in the DMV and figuring out what they want to do with their lives. In a press release, SoBlu described the move as an "updated 'Reality Bites' meets 'That ’70s Show' with an urban, post-college twist." SoBlu has a good track record of making solid movies about D.C.—Jazz in the Diamond District, which starred Wood Harris (best known for playing Avon Barksdale on The Wire), was a compelling look at one young woman's experience performing with a go-go band.

Full film synopsis for Afterschool after the jump; the movie is currently in pre-production, and is putting out casting calls via its Twitter account.

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Helen Hayes Awards: A pre-prom primer

April 25, 2011 - 12:22 AM
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It's prom night for D.C.'s theater scene: The Helen Hayes Awards, affectionately known as "Theater Prom," for all of the artists and administrators of local theater who get dressed up and dance. And rather than a singular king and queen crowned, there are dozens — the winners of the awards, which honor local and non-resident plays and musicals, and the technical staff who make the shows possible. First time at the dance? Me too. I'll be tweeting the whole thing with WeLoveDC's Patrick Pho tonight. But here's the latest Helen Hayes chatter to get you ready:

First, to remind you, here's a full list of the nominees. Arena Stage and the Folger Theater dominate the list.

But, of course, that means a few theaters were snubbed.

A prelude to the Helen Hayes Awards: The WATCH Awards, which honor local community theaters. They hand out way more prizes than the HHAs do, including multiple prizes for hair design.

Though they're often compared to the Tony Awards, the scoring for the HHAs is quite different. Nelson Pressley describes it succinctly in the Washington Post: "The Hayes Awards, always more celebratory than competitive, are free of unseemly Oscar- and Tony-style campaigning. Since the shows under consideration are closed, there’s nothing on the line but prestige, and the votes are already in: The ballots that create the nominees also determine the winners." Here's some more info on the process.

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