Inside D.C. entertainment

Archive for December 2011

Where to spend New Year's Eve in D.C., and stories about past celebrations

December 30, 2011 - 06:48 AM
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New Year's Eve is the most over-hyped party night of the year — there's an overabundance of glitz, and the questions of what to wear, how much to throw down on a party and who to kiss at the end of the night adds so much expectation. Sometimes the best place — or the safest — is lying on the couch in sweats, watching a romantic comedy and cradling a cup of tea. Whatever you decide, here's a list of parties that sound like a no-frills good time, plus a few personal NYE stories to remind you of the perils and triumphs of venturing out. 

ALWAYS REMEMBER: THINGS ARE WORSE IN FLORIDA

It is written in Revelation that when Christ comes back to Earth, "He will lay hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bind him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled." Modern Biblical scholars take this to mean that Christ will send Satan to downtown Orlando for a New Year's Eve block party hosted by Clear Channel and an army of tired young women who came here for the sunshine from places like Boise and woke up 10 years later with underwater mortgages and live-in boyfriends who would all have Grammys if Lou Pearlman had not been framed by those boys he molested.

My kind of party, in other words, and exactly where I spent New Year's Eve 2009. A group of eight of us got drunk in a DoubleTree north of the party, and then we were there in the middle of it all. A member of the Clear Channel street team wearing a plaid skirt with black-and-blonde hair and a tattoo on her left boob sold us tickets. Our gay friend Art, who has a microchip in his arm in case he is ever kidnapped by drug lords, told her that he loved her. "I am alive," I shouted into the night before plunging into an open doorway in search of Jagermeister. English, whose real name is Steve (he is from England), was in one of the bars, and we had a round together. Later I decided to run back to the hotel, because I knew I was going to die and wanted to do it alone. Back in the room, an Indian man was moaning in his sleep. I stole several oranges from the lobby and waited for my soul to leave my body. When it did not, I went outside to smoke cigarettes and a ragged minivan pulled up and two people in orange vests hopped out, followed by Art, who they found wandering by the baseball stadium. Art almost found love on Michigan Ave., but then the cabby just drove him in circles. Pat got ripped off, too, by a rickshaw driver who charged him $40 and dropped him off by a pond. The girls were at a 7-Eleven with a man in an unmarked car who said it was impossible to get from downtown Orlando to uptown Orlando without first paying him $100, so I drove there and got them. It was a good New Year's Eve. —Mike Riggs, associate editor at Reason

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Dan Zak is a good sport

December 29, 2011 - 03:34 PM
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Last week, TBD published an accounting of around-$10 gifts we sent out to various Washington-area swells. Someone finally wrote back! The Washington Post's Dan Zak sent a kind note acknowledging our gift of Jewel's A Night Without Armor, which we figured the author of this piece might find enlightening.

You can read it below, and make sure to see Zak in person tomorrow afternoon at the Newseum!

Confidential to my boss: Does this mean I can get my expense report paid?

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Forget New Year's Eve -- there's rocking to be done!

December 29, 2011 - 01:16 PM
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black cobain
Black Cobain performs with Wale on New Year's Day.

Yeah, we all know what Saturday is, and at this point, we've all seen a million event guides telling us all the great shows going on to celebrate New Year's Eve. Well, maybe you couldn't find a sitter, or maybe you don't have someone special to smooch at midnight, or maybe you actually like staying home to watch the New Year's Rockin' Eve -- just to see how Dick Clark's doing this year. Whatever your excuse, there are tons of shows this weekend besides those blockbuster Saturday night events.

West Goes East

Thursday, Dec. 29, at Jammin' Java, $12

Perhaps to counter all those "Best of 2011" lists that start flooding our RSS feeds as early as November, the duo West Goes East (Mark Williams and Justin Sheehy of Jonasay) is having a CD release show with three days left to go in 2011. Take that, all you rock critics who start talking about the album of the year in March! (Also: What's a CD?) There's still plenty of new music being released even as the year winds down!

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TBD ArtsBook: McKenna, Dower leave; Capitol Steps stick around

December 29, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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emerson college cutler majestic theatre
Emerson College's Cutler Majestic Theatre (Photo by Bryan 'B Rosen' Rosengrant/Flickr)

• "Arena Stage announced Wednesday that major components of its 2 1/2-year-old American Voices New Play Institute are relocating to Emerson College in Boston," writes Peter Marks.

>>David Dower, who helped build the program, is going to Emerson, as is Polly Carl. They're taking a few parts of the program with them:

>>"What will leave with Dower and Carl are the institute’s online projects, run for the industry as a whole: the New Play Map, the live-streamed New Play TV and HowlRound, a journal of provocative essays on American theater edited by Carl that has become a lively and popular digital forum."

>>The theater's playwright-in-residence program will remain in Washington.

>>Patrick Healy writes: "Some other theater companies and artists had questioned and criticized the institute’s independence from Arena in the past, Mr. Dower said, creating “a perception problem” that Arena executives were using the institute to promote their artistic viewpoints and interests, such as hoarding new work at Arena."

>>In the Boston Globe (under the yowchy headline "Emerson to launch theater center with program snagged from Arena Stage"), Geoff Edgers notes that the college's coup is even more complete: "What’s more, Emerson gets Dower and Carl without picking up the bill. Their work is already funded, through 2014, by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation."

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Can D.C.'s fashion incubator elevate the local style scene?

December 29, 2011 - 06:00 AM
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“D.C. has long been in a style recession.”
– Elle.com

We get it. D.C. style stinks. Except that it doesn’t, because to make such a statement about an entire city’s sense of style is preposterous. (“Washington has no style”? Compared to whom? And using what measure?) As long as a few women in suits and sneakers roam the Metro, D.C. will always have "bad style."

The woman-in-white-sneakers trope particularly riles up Christine Brooks-Cropper, the president of the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce.

“Did you ever think she wants to be comfortable and is going to put heels on in the office?” she fumes.

Brooks-Cropper has been fighting the D.C.-has-no-style mentality, which she says is responsible for holding back D.C.’s flourishing fashion scene, since returning to the District in 2007. Her latest endeavor in the fight to legitimize local design: launching the D.C. Fashion Incubator, a studio space and mentoring program that will start in 2012.

Modeled after programs in Chicago and Toronto, the incubator will provide space, equipment, some materials, technical and business training, and guidance to a handful of local fashion designers. For a modest, below-market-rate fee ($250 a month, which will go mostly toward equipment upkeep and providing a stipend to class instructors), designers will have round-the-clock access to the space at 760 N St. NW, a cheerful white room lined with sewing machines and shelves of fabric. Next door is an office space that the incubator residents can use for business meetings. Brooks-Cropper is angling to get a space around the corner to use as a pop-up boutique, and she dreams of a 5,000-square-foot plant for manufacturing and retail in Southeast D.C. The project will be funded through grants, donations, sponsors, and public funds.

Launching such a broad project in the middle of a lousy economy might seem counter-intuitive, but Brooks-Cropper believes the weak job economy has made it easier for her to sell fashion to city officials. “I try to focus on job creation,” she says. “That’s really my main point”—persuading the public that a thriving local fashion industry adds jobs to a community, not a few frivolous fashion shows. “People are starting to get back to vocational skills," she says. "A lot of my attorney friends don’t have jobs.”

A call for applications to the incubator yielded an untold number of entries in December, and Brooks-Cropper says the quality of the designers has been “amazing.” Local designers at all stages of their careers were welcome to apply, including those with or without formal fashion education.

“Even the formally trained, they might need more of the business training,” she says, whereas the self-taught designers could benefit from pattern-making classes. Apparel and accessory designers were welcome to submit work to the committee, an independent panel that included a designer, a banker, a buyer, a writer, and a creative strategist. The winning 4-5 designers have yet to be announced.

Several local designers agree that the fashion incubator is a brilliant idea—they just wish they had heard about it earlier. Besides D.C.’s our-fashion-stinks complex, the local industry is challenged by a lack of networking and support, something the incubator could help cultivate for at least a few fortunate designers.

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TBD ArtsBook: RIP Helen Frankenthaler

December 28, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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helen frankenthaler
Frankenthaler with George W. and Laura Bush in 2002, when she received a National Endowment for the Arts National Medal of Arts Award. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Kriston Capps writes a very fine remembrance of Helen Frankenthaler, the New York painter he and others credit for accidentally inventing the Washington Color School. Frankenthaler experimented with bare canvases in the early '50s (usually artists cover canvas with gesso or another primer that prevents paint from seeping into the cloth in unexpected directions), and her 1952 painting "Mountain and Sea" was influential to Morris Louis and Kenneth Nolan. Frankenthaler died Tuesday; she was 83. "Her work was profoundly untroubled, lyrical and unapologetically beautiful," Philip Kennicott writes.

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Best D.C. concert tweets of 2011, Part I

December 27, 2011 - 09:20 AM
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Twitter! You can use it at concerts. And many rock critics do. Herewith, an initial survey of some of the funniest short observations from Washington-area shows this past year. Want to nominate something for the next parts of this series (and spare me the task of reading an entire year of one person's tweets, which I assure you IS NOT A LOT OF FUN, TECH-WISE)? E-mail me!

TWEET CASE STUDY: CHRIS KLIMEK

Klimek writes for the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, and DCist, so he gets plenty of practice killing it at live gigs. Choosing three tweets from this prolific funny person was this writer's greatest Dec. 27-based challenge so far.

 

So @930Club staff made my date to Marketa Irglova check her knitting needles on the way in. I expect this happens at every Irglova gig.
Nov 29 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

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TBD ArtsBook: Maurice Chevalier at Seven Corners

December 27, 2011 - 09:00 AM
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Maurice Chevalier in Gigi
Pardon me, my good man, can you direct us to Hong Kong Palace?

• RIP Patricia Gates Lynch Ewell, who as Pat Gates was among the first female DJs in the D.C. region. She was 85. "In addition to spinning records," Matt Schudel writes in her obituary, "she conducted interviews from a studio set up behind windows in a music store at the Seven Corners shopping center. Her guests included dancer Fred Astaire; singers Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme; and actors Charles Laughton, Maurice Chevalier and Tyrone Power."

>>Ewell went on to Voice of America and was later U.S. ambassador to Madagascar.

>>ArtsBook is going to spend the rest of the morning in the glow of a mental image of Maurice Chevalier at Seven Corners. Anyone have tapes of these interviews? Here are some great photos from what appears to be Ewell's page.

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Weekend planner: 'Twas the night before Christmas

December 23, 2011 - 06:00 AM
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The Park at Fourteenth

After weeks of deadlines, wading through crowds at the mall, watching the bank accounts drain, wrapping gifts, packing the year's sentiments in handwritten cards, and still to come, all that good ol' family time ahead, we're more than ready for a drink, or two, or five, on this long weekend. As lovely as this time of year may be, the stress and reminders of how dysfunctional our lives and families are, are usually exacerbated around the holidays. Which is why we've compiled a party planner for you this weekend.

Party the nights away with some words of advice — don't drink and drive, if you're prone to losing things while drunk, have someone else hold onto your phone (this advice courtesy the girl who had her iPhone stolen last weekend), get on the guest list for clubs ahead of time, so you don't waste money on cover charges + you're not waiting in ridiculous lines (but it's Christmas, so the clubs probably won't be as crowded as other weekends), and last, but not least, make a point to be with those who matter to you. It is the holidays, after all.

The List

• Nightsmith's X-Mas Party at Current/Rosebar. Fri. RSVP for free entry until midnight.

"We'll bring the mistletoe" Christmas Party at The Park. Fri.

Hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan featuring RZA, Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, U-God and Inspectah Deck at State Theatre. If you're still having trouble with Christmas gifts for music lovers, RZA's developed a new headphone series that provides a listening experience where "you might actually orgasm." Fri. 8 p.m. $55.

• Start some trouble with indie-rock band The Dance Party at 9:30. With The Static, The Silver Lines and Blackbells. Fri. 8 p.m. $15.

Latest tracks by thedanceparty

Bro Ho Ho: A Holiday Music Spectacular with Jesse Elliott (of These United States), Revival, John Bustine and Brandon Butler at Black Cat. The members of The Federal Reserve, a D.C. collective of like-minded musicians, come home for this special show. Fri. Mainstage. 9 p.m. $10.

• Toki Underground presents: VILLAINS DJ Xiao Yang at Rock & Roll Hotel. Fri. 9:30 p.m. Free.

Progressive House DJ George Acosta & Pete Moutso reunite at Josephine. Fri. RSVP for free entry until 11:30. $20.

George Acosta - Lost World 382 by George Acosta

 

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TBD ArtsBook: Top 10 lists take the field

December 22, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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• AS NOTHING IS GOING ON, IT IS TIME FOR BEST OF LISTS: Ryan Little's list of his favorite songs by D.C.-area artists this year includes numbers by Meredith Bragg, Oddisee, others. Louis Jacobson's list of the best photos seen in D.C. this year includes works by Louise Rosskam, Kaitlin Jensco, and more. Allison Stewart on music's best and worst moments is really funny. Mark Athitakis wraps up his year with great economy. Carol Ross Joynt picks the year's best parties.

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The Fancy Feast: Merry plastic surgery edition

December 22, 2011 - 06:00 AM
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Photo: David Shankman/flickr.

The Fancy Feast was rendered speechless by this Washingtonian article, which quotes several local plastic surgeons discussing the popularity of cosmetic procedures during the holiday season. Among the reasons why locals like to go under the knife during the season of Christ’s birth:

• Practical: People have enough time off work to recover from their blepharoplasty.
• Financial: Holiday bonuses mean cash for lipo.
• Academic: College students often “receive breast augmentation or rhinoplasty as a present from their parents and want their procedure done while on vacation.”
• Logistical: The cold weather allows an excuse to hide your post-surgery bruises and scars.
• Psychological: People want a new nose to accompany the new year.

Yes, a plethora of reasons why the region should spend this time traditionally devoted to family and religion instead getting sliced, diced, and hiding their mutilated faces indoors. Your loved ones will understand if you can’t go caroling or smooch your sweetheart on New Year’s Eve, lest you disturb your lip injections.

FANCY BLOGS AND BITS

In addition to alerting readers to this plastic surgery holiday onslaught, Washingtonian has named 10 fancy women as bloggers to watch next year. Each gave a piece of style advice, including "it's very important to stay true to who you are" and "don't be afraid to mix it up." (Washingtonian)

Attention, fancy expecting mothers. You might want to consider packing the following in your overnight bag for your child’s birth: dry shampoo to prevent limp locks post-delivery; a colorful pillowcase to make for more attractive post-labor photos; and of course a custom labor and delivery gown. “I know some people will think it’s a waste since it will possibly get ruined, but I want to feel like me and not like a bag lady.” Yeah! (Ask Miss A)

These gentlemen would like you to see more diversity in your ties. (TBD)

Glittarazzi’s Kelly Ann Collins is sick of strangers emailing her three times a day for more than a year; of drunks calling her in the middle of the night; and of receiving birthday presents from people she doesn’t know. I told you it isn’t easy being Glittarazzi. (Twitter)

From the always insightful commentariat at Apartment Therapy DC: Deweydefeatstruman96 lets Girl & Lamp have it about her childish “wood purists” comments. (Apartment Therapy DC)

Without a trace of irony in the middle of this economy, Washington Life's gift guide recommends Jimmy Choo coffee sleeves and a Gucci bicycle. It still manages to look stingy by offering nary a photo. (Washington Life)

Obama family Christmas portrait > All other family Christmas portraits. (White House)

SPEAKING of the First Family, some scrooges at Politico felt it appropriate to out the president on his gift for the girls, which he picked up while shopping in Alexandria. (Politico)

Belle writes about managing money and lights up the message board by saying that “like most women, I am not a financial whiz.” (Capitol Hill Style)

FANCY FASHION BITS

BYT has a lot of flesh-tone looks on its list of the 2011’s worst fashion moments. Also an excellent joke about leopard print. (Brightest Young Things)

Fashion lessons from classic holiday films include: invest in doily collars and tiered ruffles (It’s A Wonderful Life); flatter your curves with one bold color (Love Actually); sleek ballerina buns pair well with tailored coats (The Family Stone); look to Rosemany Clooney for hot to work a midi skirt (White Christmas). (Refinery 29)

Herndon bridal salon owner Miriam Liggett picks four gowns for Britney Spears’ upcoming wedding nuptials. (Washingtonian)

Pictures of people in good outfits, pegged to “how to break the rules of fashion” or something, which is beside the point: People in good outfits! (Fashion of Goodwill)

“Is this the ultimate bag for work AND weekends? We think so!” (Refinery 29)

Spandex is to blame for your fatness. (NPR)

Two ways to wear your sequined pencil skirt. (Capitol Hill Style)

FANCY RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

If you’re a Gentile dating a Jewish gal for only a month, do not get her eight gifts for the eight nights of Hanukkah; if you’re sick of being single this holiday season, try to meet people during holiday parties! (Fifty First (J)Dates)

LOSS OF A FANCY PERSON

Christopher Hitchens has died. That man knew how to make a nice cup of tea. (Slate)

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TBD ArtsBook: Lose your iPod, end up in the Post

December 21, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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pat benatar
Do you want to keep your love of Pat Benatar to yourself? Keep an eye on your stuff. (Photo: Associated Press)

Howard Schneider found an iPod Shuffle on Sligo Creek Parkway and then humiliated its owner by posting its playlist online (I have to admit, I did not read this post; after reading the hed I thought it was one of those non-local clicky things ArtsPost has been doing lately!). That didn't root out the owner of more than a few Pat Benatar AACs, so Ryan Kellett dove in and found the owner's Apple ID. She is happy to have her iPod back. 

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Surrender to the holidays this weekend

December 21, 2011 - 06:00 AM
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Margot MacDonald
Margot MacDonald will make you believe in snow. (Photograph by Brandon Wu)

While it was easy enough (for a while!) to avoid the holiday music that started playing before Thanksgiving, it's impossible to ignore it now that the yuletide season is officially upon us. While there are plenty of super-Christmassy shows this weekend (including the "Messiah" sing-along at the Kennedy Center), there are a few shows that will slowly ease you into the holiday spirit -- at least for a few days.

Margot MacDonald & Friends Holiday Party

Thursday, Dec. 22, at Iota, $10

Local singer-songwriter Margot MacDonald isn't kidding about the "& Friends" part of her holiday show: in addition to openers the Phillip Noss Band and Matt Hutchinson of Fools and Horses, she's going to be joined on stage by Rob Martino, Gideon Grove, Derek Evry, and Maureen Andary of the Sweater Set, among others. On this very crowded stage, MacDonald will be singing both modern and traditional holiday songs as well as a few originals. Onstage, she's probably going to bust out that looping pedal, and after the show, she's apparently going to be selling some handmade ornaments.

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TBD ArtsBook: Adios, Jose Frijoles!

December 20, 2011 - 09:51 AM
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Peter Marks writes about a kerfuffle at Shakespeare Theatre Company, which set its current production of "Much Ado About Nothing" in Cuba and renamed Hugh Oatcake and George Seacoal as Juan Huevos and Jose Frijoles.

>>Huh.

>>"The names were considered demeaning and even derogatory by Latino theater artists," Marks writes, "who wrote of their displeasure to artistic director Michael Kahn." Kahn's changed the names. Jon Fischer notes that Marks had criticized the names in his Dec. 6 review of the production and also that Rebecca J. Ritzel had, in Washington City Paper, pointed out that in this production only the lower class characters spoke with Cuban accents. "The name switch didn't work for two reasons," Fischer writes. "1) It turned a very specific joke about class into a very broad joke about ethnicity; 2) it wasn't very smart or funny. Sure, Shakespeare penned plenty of ugly depictions. But rather than using a specific ugly depiction, Shakespeare Theatre Company attempted to transplant the spirit of that ugliness to another time and place, and failed.

>>This was all first reported by Ray Sanchez at Huffington Post on Saturday. If I get time today I'm going to go through all the reviews of this show (it has been a steady presence in my reviews roundups) and see whether anyone else mentioned the problematic names.

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Good for the Jews to save Judaism on Christmas Eve

December 19, 2011 - 04:01 PM
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Rob Tannenbaum lives in fear of Drake.

The singer, a Jewish black Canadian, unites all of comedy's traditional practitioners in one gene pool, and if he decides to start doing shows on Christmas Eve, Tannenbaum and David Fagin are hosed.

Until then Christmas Eve belongs to Good for the Jews, Tannenbaum and Fagin's unique combination of music, insult comedy, and jokes that goyim laugh nervously and pretend to get.

Good for the Jews plays Jammin' Java on Dec. 24, and they wouldn't have to be out on such a cold night, so many miles from Tannenbaum's home in New York, if Hebrew school wasn't so freaking boring.

"It's a very joyless expression of Judaisim," says Tannenbaum. "It explains why so many unobservant Jews are abandoning the religion."

"The music that I write and sing," he says, "is the music I wish I'd been able to hear as a Jewish teenager."

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Not Q and Not U, but close

December 18, 2011 - 05:22 PM
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chris richards and john davis
Chris Richards joined John Davis onstage at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Sunday afternoon. The pair played some new songs.

 

 

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Weekend planner: Benoit and Sergio, Dystopia, Craft Beer Bar Mitzvah

December 16, 2011 - 02:00 PM
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Benoit and Sergio (Facebook)

FRIDAY

• Urban folk singer Justin Trawick drops You and I, a 10-track album recorded live in front of an audience. On the record, Trawick tells Washingtonian, "I like to entertain for the ADD generation...You’ll see me do a bluegrass song, then a waltz, then a rocking kind of song....My biggest worry is that people will become bored.” With special guests pop-rock singer Andy Zipf and acoustic-pop singer Amanda Lee at Artisphere. 7:30 p.m. $12.

• D.C.-born EDM DJ's Benoit and Sergio end their 2011 tour at U Street Music Hall. The iTunes "Electronic Breakthrough Artist" of 2011 dropped Let Me Count the Ways early this year. The unlikely pair, Sergio from Iowa and Benoit from Berlin, met at a birthday party at Napoleon's in 2008. On their sound, Washington Post's Chris Richards writes, "LCD fans still mourning that band’s breakup will love this stuff. The melodies are consistently sweet, the textures are warm and the rhythms are water-bed comfortable. Over plush pulses, Myers sings about fast women, being on drugs, being with fast women who are on drugs — all in that funny-sad-totally-serious-just-kidding deadpan that descends from Jonathan Richman." With Solomon Sanchez. 10 p.m. $10.

Everybody by benoitandsergio

Benoit & Sergio - Let Me Count The Ways (SPC-104) by ghostly

Dystopia: An artist talk and opening reception with artists Dana Ellyn and Matt Sesow at The Dunes. The two-person exhibition features new works inspired by Dystopian films, novels and themes — some are images of a totalitarian future while others exist as social commentary on current plagues. 7 p.m.

• D.C.-based rock band U.S. Royalty at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. Free.

U.S. Royalty - Equestrian from U.S. Royalty on Vimeo.

Holidays on Ice, a selection of holiday readings featuring essays by David Sedaris, opens at Rep Stage. The production runs until Monday.

 

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Have a metal weekend!

December 15, 2011 - 02:50 PM
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Korpiklaani
Korpiklaani: Not average folk.

There's something about cold weather that feels so perfect for listening to metal: maybe it's the bleak winters that pervade Norwegian black metal lyrics, or maybe it's just that "Santa" is an anagram of "Satan". Whatever the reason, there are many opportunities to throw some devil horns this weekend.

Korpiklaani

Thursday, Dec. 15, at Jaxx, $18 advance / $22 day of show

Folk-metal is a surprisingly vibrant sub-genre -- and it sounds exactly how you might imagine: uptempo folk with a hard, metal edge. Korpiklaani ("Clan of the Wilderness") is a Finnish folk-metal sextet that originally started out as a folk band called Shaman. After changing their name (and changing their style), the group currently includes a violin(!) and an accordion(!!) alongside the traditional guitars/bass/drums lineup.

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TBD ArtsBook: Alexander Graham HELL YEAH

December 15, 2011 - 10:00 AM
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Alexander Graham Bell's boxes
Boxes placed in Smithsonian in 1881 by telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell opened for first time. Washington, D.C., Oct. 1927. (Photograph: Library of Congress)

• A MARVELOUS D.C. ARTS STORY: Megan Gambino on some recordings made at Volta Laboratory in Dupont Circle in the 19th century. "One March morning in 2008, Carlene Stephens, curator of the National Museum of American History’s division of work and industry, was reading the New York Times when a drawing caught her eye. She recognized it as a phonautograph, a device held in the museum’s collections....The article reported that scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, had managed the seemingly impossible. They played back the sounds. Using equipment housed at the Library of Congress, Carl Haber, a senior scientist in the lab’s physics division, took high resolution digital images of a phonautogram found in a Paris archive. Using computer software, Haber analyzed the images and extracted from the recording a 10-second clip of the French folk song 'Au Clair de la Lune.' Made on April 9, 1860, the sound snippet predates the oldest known playable sound recording— Handel’s oratorio, made by Thomas Edison and his associates in 1888.

>>"'When I read the article, I thought, oh my gosh,' says Stephens. The American History Museum has about 400 of the earliest audio recordings ever made."

>>I'm not gonna spoil the rest of it, but you can hear a few recordings from the early 1880s at the end of this post. What a kick!

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The Fancy Feast: Billy Reid no more edition

December 15, 2011 - 06:00 AM
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Billy Reid store that we will not have. Photo: StyleCaster/flickr.

BILLY REID, WE HARDLY KNEW THEE

Male fashionistas have been awaiting the arrival of Alabama-based fashion all-star Billy Reid on M Street in Georgetown for a year. Bad news, bros: Billy's not coming.

The CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award winner was planning to set up shop at the space now occupied by Riccardi, which has displayed a going-out-of-business sign for months. Now a member of Reid's PR team says the deal fell through, citing "legal issues between landlord and tenant."

Calls and emails to the building's management company went unreturned, and a gentleman who answered the phone at Riccardi declined to speak. Georgetown BID confirms that the deal is off but had no further details.

It's a sad loss for a shopping district that has developed a more elevated set of options for menswear, but all hope has not been extinguished. Reid's flak writes by email that "We are looking again, but nothing set..." The Fancy Feast is putting all its eggs in that ellipsis.

FANCY LOCAL BLOG ROUNDUP

Consider patronizing local improv performances, as “it will save on doctor bills as laughter cures what ails you!” (Ask Miss A)

After several disappointing nights at Sobe, Clarendon Nights discovers the thrills of white girls singing “Baby Got Back” at the restaurant’s karaoke night. (Clarendon Nights)

Belle wants to know what was the best gift you’ve ever gotten, and she doesn’t mean something lame like “love, or an engagement ring, or a child, or a good result on your cancer screening.” NO GOOD CANCER SCREENING RESULTS. (Capitol Hill Style)

Heather Bauer, author of Bread is the Devil, discusses the many Devils that plague her, including the restaurant breadbasket and her children’s PB&J sandwich crusts. (Pamela’s Punch)

Also on Pamela’s Punch, an in-depth look at the cupcake and Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson: “Move over ice cream…there’s a new sheriff in town, and the cupcake is not going anywhere.” Sounds like Heather Bauer has a new Devil to face.

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