Inside D.C. entertainment

Archive for May 2011

New releases: Death Cab for Cutie, Eddie Vedder on the uke

May 31, 2011 - 04:30 PM
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New music to buy/stream/steal.

Death Cab for Cutie, Codes and Keys

The Internet says: "In contrast to the live-in-the-studio immediacy of Death Cab’s previous album, “Narrow Stairs,” the new album is about turning the studio into an instrument – a hive of sound that suggests background noise from a distant freeway or a disturbance just over the horizon." (Chicago Tribune)

Watch: "You Are A Tourist"

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Studies: Dudes who look at art are happy, lovestruck, not suffering from dementia

May 31, 2011 - 04:18 PM
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Three recent studies, one misleading headline! But hey, here's some good news for art lovers who are: male, elderly, or depressed.

DUDES: A study has found that cultured men who go to museums, ballet and theater are happier than their philistine counterparts. Partaking in the arts correlates to lower levels of stress and improved mental health, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology learned.

Cuypers his colleagues collected data on the activities, life satisfaction, perceived health, anxiety and depression of 50,797 adult residents of Nord-Trondelag County in central Norway. Controlling for factors such as income and education, the researchers found that cultural participation is good for well-being for both genders.

"Men seemed to get more of a percieved health benefit from being involved in different receptive cultural activites than women did," [study author Koenraad] Cuypers said, adding that in both genders, there was a dose-response effect: The more activities a person participated in, the happier they tended to be.

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From 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot' to Hasidism: Zev Zalman Ludwick

May 31, 2011 - 04:13 PM
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Zev Zalman Ludwick today (photo courtesy Z.Z. Ludwick)

Twenty-five years ago today, Robbie Ludwick, the bassist for the metal band Steelwynch, headed down to the Capital Centre from Silver Spring to see Judas Priest. What happened when he stood in line to get in was etched on the hearts of a certain class of underground film fans forever, as captured in this scene in the anthropological documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot.

 

"That was, like, 25 lives ago for me," says Ludwick, 47, who now goes by his Hebrew name, Zev Zalman Ludwick. He's calling from Wheaton, where he repairs violins at Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center. Like many musicians who've gotten older, he hasn't quite kicked the habit of having a day job. But instead of pounding out bass lines in metal bands, which consumed Ludwick for many of the past two-and-a-half decades, he now spends his nights pursuing a different goal: Becoming a rabbi.

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Girls Rock! DC announces location, dates for 2011 camp

May 31, 2011 - 02:45 PM
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Girls Rock! DC, the local group that nurtures the musical talent and general awesomeness of young women in the area, announced today that its annual camp for girls will take place August 8-12 at the Mary McLeod Bethune Public Charter School.

The showcase concert that ends every Girls Rock! DC camp will take place August 13.

The camp hosts 60 girls, ages 8-18; those interested must submit applications for the 2011 session by Friday, June 10. Scholarships are available. Full release below.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Girls Rock! DC, a local organization aimed at establishing a supportive, inclusive and creative space for girls to develop their self-confidence and musicality, is hosting their fourth week-long girls' rock camp this August. The camp will run daily from Monday, August 8 through Friday, August 12 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and will be held at the Mary McLeod Bethune Public Charter School in Northeast Washington.

Founded in 2007, Girls Rock! DC is run by an all-volunteer collective of D.C. metro area musicians, teachers, artists and community organizers. The annual camp, for 60 Washington area girls ages 8-18, will focus on teaching the girls how to play bass, electric guitar, drums, keyboards, turntables or vocals (no prior music experience is necessary). Most importantly, the camp aims to give young women a safe place to create music, friendships, and a healthy self-image.

Aside from daily lessons in the instrument of their choosing, the girls will also form bands and DJ crews, coached by volunteer local musicians. Each group will perform an original song or DJ set live on stage at a local venue at the culmination of camp. The Camper Showcase will take place on Saturday, August 13. Past showcases have been well attended by the press and public with over 500 attendees.

Camper applications are available at www.girlsrockdc.org/registration/ and must be received by Friday, June 10 to be considered. Scholarship funds are available for a significant portion of our campers. We are open to all youths who identify as female, regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, size and/or ability. We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or any other discriminatory behavior. The camp week volunteer information sheet and application is also available online at www.girlsrockdc.org.

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Sneak peek: Artisphere's new murals

May 31, 2011 - 02:15 PM
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Jim McCusker installs artist Linda Hesh's mural

Here's a sneak peek at two new murals installed at Artisphere that will be unveiled to the public tomorrow, June 1. They're by local artist Linda Hesh, who is known for creating text art that makes a statement (One of her popular pieces was the "for" and "against" benches at the 2010 "Bilateral Engagement" show). Hesh has installed two sayings on windowpanes of Artisphere workspaces: "Art Every Day" and "Live For Art." It is a semi-permanent installation, and will be on display indefinitely.

"The [Artisphere] building is open every day – that's not in their tagline or anything," says Hesh, of her inspiration for the piece. She also plays with the the word "live" as a homograph. "They feature live art, so it could be read live for art, but could also be live for art ... everyone here [in the Artisphere] is living for art."

The installation also provides "Art Every Day" decals to visitors, who are encouraged to stick them anywhere and document their placement on the Artisphere Facebook page (And don't worry, business and property owners – they're decals, not stickers, so they peel off). The third component of the installation will happen at Pentagon City Mall tonight, when 62 table tops will have the words "Art" "Every" and "Day" installed on them individually. Visitors will get the message when the look down on the food court from above.

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Your Boy Fuse on sipping liquor for the pain

May 31, 2011 - 11:30 AM
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Maryland-based rapper Your Boy Fuse recently released his sophomore album, Compassionate Compositions, a project filled with introspective tracks about his life. "I was looking in the mirror, looking at my trials and tribulations, and my patterns," the artist says.

The first video to come from the album, which was released last month, is for "Sip the Liquor," which examines the inclination to drown one's troubles in hooch. With the track, Fuse has contributed to the vast collection of hip-hop tracks about getting blistered in order to escape ones problems (see Mobb Deep's "Drink Away the Pain," etc. etc.)

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TBD Picks: The Tennessee Williams Continuum

May 31, 2011 - 09:30 AM
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Photo by C. Stanley Photography

The Tennessee Williams Continuum, presented by the Washington Shakespeare Company at Artisphere

"The land of the cocaloonies" could be a metaphor describing where Tennessee Williams' characters go once they lose their grip on reality. It's actually the setting for the second of the Washington Shakespeare Company's double-billing of two Williams plays – an imaginary, absurd place where an Indian and a German actress share a dormitory space and battle the terrifying cocaloony birds to ensure their survival at the hands of a cruel landlord. "The Gnadiges Fraulein," an absurd dark comedy, is as violent as it is hilarious, and was considered a major departure for Williams. It flopped on Broadway, but the WSC presents a winning production.

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D.C. remembers Gil Scott-Heron, Sean Kingston hospitalized: Music links

May 31, 2011 - 07:00 AM
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While you were recovering from the holiday weekend last night, some of D.C.'s finest musicians were paying tribute to Gil Scott-Heron, who died on Friday. Cornel West Theory, Maimouna Yousef, Head-Roc, DJ Underdog, and others performed at the music-and-poetry-filled event at Bohemian Caverns--audio/video of the night should be available soon, organizers said.

Singer Sean Kingston was seriously injured in Miami this weekend, when he ran his jet-ski into a bridge. Yesterday, Kingston was still in critical condition, but had been moved from a trauma unit to an intensive care unit in a Florida hospital.

In much less sad music news, over the weekend, pro-Wikileaks hackers posted a fake story to PBS.com saying that rappers 2Pac and Biggie Smalls were recently found, alive and well, in New Zealand. Well, PBS wants us to believe it's fake.

When the problems of the world get you down, just #blametreysongz for everything.

Bluebrain's location-specific album, meant to be listened to while wandering the National Mall was released on Saturday. Even Wired wrote about this first for music and technology. The National Mall is now available as an app in the iTunes store.

And finally, yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the death of go-go legend Lil Benny. R.I.P

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Weekend shows: Taj Mahal, Scream, Daylight, and lots of military bands

May 27, 2011 - 04:30 PM
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Washington City Paper reports that bluesman Taj Mahal is replacing funketeer No. 1 George Clinton, who is ill, at a free "Hometown Holidays" concert in Rockville this weekend. Not exactly the same vibe, but Taj Mahal is definitely not a bad replacement--Mahal's cover of "Bourgeois Blues," and Parliament's "Chocolate City" kinda share a similar sentiment, no? Rockville Town Center, 1-10 p.m. FREE.

The fifth anniversary of daytime dance party Daylight is at Liv on Sunday. Support them so they can keep throwing weekly parties! Liv, 2001 11th Street, NW. $15.

Bailey's Crossroads punk pioneers Scream are at Black Cat tonight. $15.

Also this weekend: plenty of music from military bands for the Memorial Day holiday: The Wolf Trap summer season "blasts off" with fireworks and The President's Own United States Marine Corps band on Sunday (the event is free, but capacity is limited); B.B. King, American Idol Pia Toscano, and the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters also perform Sunday, at the National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, but your best bet may be to watch the concert on PBS.

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Memorial Day in D.C.: Your own personal Zep Fest

May 27, 2011 - 04:15 PM
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This is a completely staged photo.

The hammer of the gods fell on Mark Boudreau’s dream of thousands of people getting the Led out at National Harbor this weekend. Slow ticket sales and an unclear strategy for paying bands doomed the Arlington man's Zep Fest, which had been scheduled to take place at National Harbor this weekend (instead: try the Peeps store!)

But just because the Yardbirds, Vanilla Fudge, and the guy I used to buy records from at Penguin Feather back in the day won't be juxtaposing themselves with the smooth jazz that blasts out of NatHarb's outdoor speakers, you don't have to suffer through a Page-and-Plant-free Memorial Day Weekend. Here are some ideas for constructing a Valhalla of your own.

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Spend Memorial Day weekend at a play about the world's worst terrorists

May 27, 2011 - 03:50 PM
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It won't take Team America or the Navy SEALS to defeat this team of terrorists. The B-Team, the subject of the titular play presented by Landless Theatre company, aren't very good at the whole jihad thing. They're based in Buffalo, N.Y., where there aren't exactly many politicians or heads of state. Their leader's hands are paralyzed in a permanent thumbs-up position. Also among their ranks: "A militant homophobe, a bombmaker seduced by capitalism and a Jew who really hates his mother." And despite their hatred of all things Western, they enjoy chicken McNuggets.

The play was written by Dave Holstein, a writer for the Showtime series "Weeds." It's great luck that the production, directed by Bob Bartlett, has opened in the same month as the death of Osama bin Laden (which also influenced the current show at Theater J!) and the predicted end of the world.

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Relive every cloying moment of the movie 'Serendipity' at new restaurant

May 27, 2011 - 02:40 PM
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D.C.'s getting its very own Serendipity 3, the New York restaurant known for its frozen hot chocolate and the thoroughly unbearable 2001 film of the same name, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Did you totally love that movie? I'm sorry. Anyway, if you did, you can now relive every cloying moment of the meet-cute of two people so foolish that they're meant only for each other, when the restaurant opens this weekend.

Meet a potential paramour while browsing through the Barney's Co-Op in Georgetown. Accidentally try to buy the same sunglasses. Suggest a meetup at Serendipity 3. Eat ice cream together. Both accidentally leave your sunglasses at the restaurant. Realize you are DESTINED TO BE TOGETHER. Go out again that night, to Jazz in the Park. Realize that the freckles on your partner's arm totally match the pattern of our Metro map. Ride Metro together. FATE. Decide that you two are a perfect match, but through a series of superstitious nonsense challenges that last several years, must find out if you should "really, really be together" by making it impossible to find each other. Write your number on a $5 bill. Have your paramour write his/her number inside a copy of Game Change at the Georgetown Barnes and Noble. Agree that you're really meant to be together if you choose the same time to transfer to the red line later that evening. Get caught up in delays on the orange, and then miss your window for TRUE LOVE forever.

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What will become of the Peeps dioramas next week?

May 27, 2011 - 12:30 PM
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See 'Spinal Peep,' winner of the WaPo diorama contest, at Artisphere until Tuesday. (Photo: Courtesy of Artisphere)

Artisphere has 23 of the Peeps dioramas, from the annual Washington Post "Peeps Show" contest on display through Tuesday, so if you're in town this Memorial Day Weekend, and have a thing for cute scenes crafted from marshmallow treats, this is your last chance to see the displays in person. But, what happens to the Peeps after Tuesday? 

They go back to their owners, says Annalisa Meyer, spokesperson for Artisphere. "This is it, so everyone is going to be picking them up," she says.

And if the owners neglect to pick up their artfully arranged compositions made from candy bunnies and chicks, or simply don't want them back? "We get to keep them," Myer says.  "After a couple of days, we'll assume people don't want them."

Then what? Trash the dioramas? Or a Peeps-eating party, perhaps? "I don't think we could get rid of them," Meyers says. "I think we would keep them for a while, and see how long they would last." Meyers says that considering the Peeps are edible foodstuffs, they've held up "pretty well." There were at the Washington Post for a while, they came here May 7, so they've been around since the beginning of April."

Artisphere has the winner of the contest: "Spinal Peep," a play on the movie Spinal Tap, and finalists, including an all-Peeps recreation of Lady Gaga's 2011 Grammys entrance.

"People are endlessly fascinated by them." says Meyers. All of the visual arts displays at Artishere are free, so Meyers says if you want to see the Peeps this weekend, just come on in, stop by the front desk to get a handout that will let you take a "Self-Peep" tour, and then go get your gawk on. And, if you want to linger a while, Meyers says there are many other free exhibits and programs going on this weekend to check out as well.

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TBD Picks: The Sweater Set at Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

May 26, 2011 - 04:30 PM
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Warning: On first listen, the music of the D.C duo the Sweater Set (with their cute name and fondness for the uke and glockenspiel) might inspire you to bake a batch of gluten-free cupcakes or knit a colorful iPhone cozy. But upon closer inspection, there's an edge to the twee sound of Strathmore artists-in-residence Maureen Andary and Sara Curtin--a group called the Sweater Set that releases a song called "Cop a Feel" can't exactly be all sugar and spice. The longtime friends and collaborators, who got their start singing in a D.C. church choir as teenagers, play Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage tonight. If you can't be there in person, watch the performance online, at 6 p.m.

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TBD Picks: Lloyd at the Park at 14th

May 26, 2011 - 02:59 PM
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Lloyd hasn’t had much luck with record labels. In March, he signed to Interscope/Zone 4, his fourth home as a solo artist, after Murder Inc./The Inc., Sho'nuff, and Def Jam. The former N-Toon singer's fourth studio album, King of Hearts is due out on July 5.

To promote it, the 25-year-old's been hitting D.C. venues pretty hard. He performed recently at WPGC’s Birthday Bash at the 9:30 Club, and tonight, he will perform at the Park at 14th, for Beny Blaq Entertainment’s The Park Live series.

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Daytime dance party Daylight celebrates five-year anniversary

May 26, 2011 - 01:30 PM
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The party people at Daylight. (Photo: Courtesy of Bill Source)

Back in 2006, when Bill Source was looking to launch Daylight, an evening dance party that gets started while the sun is still up, people didn't really get it, he says. The concept was pretty simple, though: He wanted people to be able to listen to classic dance music (disco, early '80s, old school house and funk), spun by himself and partner DJ Divine on Sunday nights, and get home early enough to get a good night's rest and be fresh for work on Monday.

"I started looking around the city, and started to notice a lot of the parties were the same--same format, same radio music played," Source says. "You'd get maybe the top 20 songs, and then maybe a little bit of dancehall reggae, and that was it. It was the era of Lil' Jon, the Ying Yang Twins and crunk--that's when I really started pitching the idea to clubs here and there, but they weren't really understanding the format.

"It was the norm in Europe and New York," Source continues. "But as far as D.C., people were telling me that no one would come out before 10 o'clock at night. Now [daytime parties] are the trendy thing to do."

And as far as getting people to loosen up while it's still light outside, Source knew it would never be a problem. "If they’re at the bar, it doesn’t take much--I don’t care what time it is," he says. "It could be 9 o'clock in the morning."

Source (and his partners in the Tone Source Divine promotion crew) launched the party in April of '06 (to coincide with daylight savings time) at the now-closed H Street, NE, club Sanctuary. But he says Daylight really clicked once the people at Bohemian Caverns invited him to move it there, into the space that is now Liv.

Now, five years later, Source is throwing a big blow-out bash at Liv on Sunday to celebrate Daylight's five-year milestone but he is also considering whether or not to continue the party.

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Bin Laden death forced change to 'The Moscows of Nantucket'

May 26, 2011 - 11:53 AM
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Photo by Stan Barouh

When the death of Osama bin Laden was announced on May 2, some folks turned to Twitter. Some turned out in the streets in front of the White House. But Shirley Serotsky, the director of Theater J's The Moscows of Nantucket, turned to her script. The play, written by Sam Forman, contained a joke about Osama bin Laden that was made suddenly obsolete by the al Qaeda leader's death.

"I am afraid that the very first thing that I thought when I saw the news – from reading others' Facebook feeds about 15 minutes before Obama’s speech was – shit, now we’re going to have to change that line," wrote Serotsky in an email.

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Post-Classical Ensemble's 2011-2012 season announced

May 26, 2011 - 09:30 AM
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Today the Post-Classical Ensemble announced its upcoming performance season. The 2011-2012 calendar includes performances from guest artists, including Jeremy Denk, baritone William Sharp, flamenco singer Esperanza Fernandez, choreographer Igal Perry, and trombonist David Taylor. This is the experimental classical music ensemble's ninth concert season.

The ensemble will formally announce the season tonight, with a special program and performance at the Embassy of Austria; text of the release is below.

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Which 'Time to Kill' actor has spent the most time in fake court?

May 26, 2011 - 07:00 AM
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Photo by Joan Marcus

"British actors are to Shakespeare as American actors are to legal procedurals," writes Washington Post critic Peter Marks in his review of Arena Stage's A Time to Kill, based on John Grisham's first novel about murder and racism. If what Marks says is true, who's the John Gielgud of this new play's debut? While it's not uncommon to see Law & Order listed on an actor's resume, never before has it been so potentially crucial to their development for a role. In that case, who among A Time to Kill's cast has solved, committed or litigated the most fake crimes?

• Brennan Brown plays Rufus Buckley, the smarmy prosecution lawyer angling for a seat in the governor's office.

Crime Cred: Brown's most recent film is I Love You, Phillip Morris, the Jim Carrey movie about a gay criminal con-man who finds himself in and out of jail. He's also appeared in Damages, the Glenn Close show about a law firm's dramas. He's acted in Kidnapped, an NBC drama about – you guessed it – kidnappers. His resume also contains the phrase "All the Law & Orders."

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Artscape announces schedule of events

May 25, 2011 - 04:30 PM
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This afternoon, organizers of Baltimore's Artscape festival announced the schedule for the visual and performing arts event, which takes place June 15-17.

At a press conference, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts said that American Idol Fantasia Barrino, G Love & Special Sauce, and Matisyahu will headline Artscape's daily concerts. R&B singer Miguel, Grammy-nominated D.C. native Carolyn Malachi, and Nikka Costa will also perform on the music stages.

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the BOPA-organized festival. For a complete listing of all Artscape happenings, visit www.artscape.org.

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