Inside D.C. entertainment

Archive for February 2012

Tonight: 'They Call it Myanmar' and Raymond Bonner

February 29, 2012 - 01:33 PM
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Shot over a period of two years, They Call it Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain is an intimate look into the lives of those in the second-most isolated country in the world. "I didn't want to make a political film," director Robert Lieberman says. "I want to put a human face on the country." He'll be at the screening tonight at the E Street Cinema. 7 p.m.

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Tonight: Seven years and 70,000 miles worth of songs

February 29, 2012 - 01:43 AM
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(Photo: Doug Levitt)

Singer-songwriter Doug Levitt spent seven years traveling 70,000 miles by Greyhound. On his journey, the D.C. native began writing The Greyhound Diaries, stories of fellow travelers struggling to get by, which became an EP and a book. Levitt told DCist he was inspired by Works Progress Administration–era projects: "I thought that maybe I could set out on the road and write songs and stories largely about folks struggling to get by." He presents his stories at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. 6 p.m. Free.

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Tonight: Leap-year comedy at the Riot Act

February 28, 2012 - 01:00 PM
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In case you forgot, there's an extra day this month, and Riot Act Comedy Theater's Open Mic Showcase is celebrating with a Leap Year Edition. The weekly showcase, hosted by Andy Klein, features comedians Elias 'The Hitman' Clark, Tracy Locke, Bob Sood, Jon Eick, Uncle Tony and more. 8:30 p.m. $10.

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The Zagat guide is finally free, kind of

February 28, 2012 - 10:54 AM
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A cheery man, clearly experienced in the robotic art of street marketing, greeted me outside the Rosslyn Metro this morning, offering free copies of Zagat. Though his enunciation was flawless, he was peddling half-truths. What he handed me was not the famed restaurant guide but rather an advertising card encouraging me to "Tell the world what you think. Rate DC & Baltimore restaurants," and directing me to this website.

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Tonight: Eleanor Holmes Norton leads a conversation on civil rights

February 27, 2012 - 01:45 PM
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Eleanor Holmes Norton (Facebook)

"Two Living Legends of the Civil Rights Movement" is a conversation between former NAACP chairman Julian Bond and Congressman John Lewis, moderated by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. The three of them, who met while working on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, will discuss the civil rights movement then and now, "such as Occupy and the women's movement, and the effects those movements have had on American life," Holmes says. Busboys and Poets (14th & V). 8:30 p.m.

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Media Monday: Meet the collateral damage from the FishbowlDC fracas

February 27, 2012 - 09:47 AM
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"I’m not going to be like some wilting flower," Betsy Rothstein says. (Flickr/twid)

Last week we witnessed the most aggressive media pile-on in recent memory, as a number of journalists, including me, accused FishbowlDC editor Betsy Rothstein of everything from objectifying women to not understanding the definition of "provocative" to being, essentially, a misogynist for writing that three attractive women reporters' were going for a "sexpot look" with their "sexy" and "provocative" Twitter avatars. Somewhat lost in the hullabaloo was Rothstein's clearest offense: shoddy journalism. Nevermind that the reporters' avatars were, in everyone's opinion but hers, utterly benign; Rothstein's reporting didn't even back up her claim.

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Weekend planner: Oscar parties, Megatron, and Fiander Film Festival

February 24, 2012 - 02:45 PM
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Going to bed and waking up in the middle of May is strange, but hey, it's Friday! Oscar parties, Decepticons and film festivals for your weekend pleasure. 

MUSIC, THEATER & SLAM POETRY

Louder than a Bomb at the Dunes. Benevolent Media presents a fundraiser to help stage the city's first-ever Louder Than a Bomb High School Poetry Slam Festival this summer. The evening features live performances by D.C.'s youth poets, excerpts from Louder Than a Bomb, a documentary about the world's largest teen poetry slam, a silent auction and frozen treats. Friday. 7 p.m. $10 suggested donations. 18+.

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Female at FishbowlDC goes for sexy pot look

February 24, 2012 - 11:09 AM
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Forget about Boys Before Flowers. Washington has its own crop of would-be sexy roses on the loose. And an unusual trend is developing among gossip reporters of the XX persuasion. They’re using provocative, sometimes sexy photographs of woody perennials for their Twitter accounts.

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It's official: Betsy Rothstein hates attractive women journalists

February 23, 2012 - 03:25 PM
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Last December, FishbowlDC's Peter Ogburn accused the Daily Caller's Michelle Fields of showing off her cleavage in a video for the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation. Except Fields wasn't showing off her cleavage at all, and instead was wearing a modest raspberry shirt that hid her breasts entirely. But why worry over such details when you can write "One Small Step for Michelle Fields, One Giant Leap (Backwards) For Womankind"? That was only the beginning of Fishbowl's obsession with Fields' looks, and now editor Betsy Rothstein — one of the angriest people in D.C. — is widening her scope to take aim at any female reporter who dares to be attractive.

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Tonight: Saul Williams isn't angry anymore, and journalists try to be funny

February 23, 2012 - 02:00 PM
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Saul Williams (Facebook)

Saul Williams, the noted poet-actor-musician, recently released Volcanic Sunlight, his first spoken-word album that "did not come from anger. I wanted to maintain the edge and urgency in my music without having to come from anger." The album was recorded in Paris, where he's resided the last two years. He performs with CX Kidtronik at Black Cat tonight. 8 p.m. $18.

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This weekend's concerts: European alternatives

February 23, 2012 - 12:34 PM
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Estelle in repose. (Facebook/Estelle)

The cancellation of tonight's Twilight Sad show at the Rock & Roll Hotel, due to the band's visa issues, marks the third time in a year that a Scottish band has had to cancel or reschedule its D.C. date. OK, fine, two of those times it was the same group, Mogwai. Bottom line: Bands from Scotland with D.C. tour dates are cursed (plan ahead, We Were Promised Jetpacks!). Thankfully, there are other European bands playing around town this weekend.

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The 21 most annoying, overused sayings on Twitter

February 23, 2012 - 11:00 AM
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(Flickr/Rob Boudon)

If you've spent any time on Twitter, you'll recognize the locutions below. They were funny or useful once, before everyone started using them. Now they're unbearably annoying. It's time all of us — yes, including me — stopped using the following words and phrases.

For the edification of Twitter virgins, I've included definitions and examples.

21. Protip

Here's a tip from me, a professional.

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Tonight: Silent slapstick films and Estelle

February 22, 2012 - 02:13 PM
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An evening of silent films and slapstick comedy graces the Alden Theatre, featuring the Classics of the Silent Film: The FIRST Kings of Comedy. Screenings of Charlie Chaplin in The Pawn Shop, Harold Lloyd in High and Dizzy, Buster Keaton in The Goat, Charley Chase in Dog Shy, and Laurel & Hardy in You're Darn Tootin' will run with an introduction and commentary from film historian Bruce Lawton. 8 p.m. $10/$6.

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Atomic Music: In this laptop age, a shop where the guitar is still king

February 22, 2012 - 12:31 PM
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(Facebook/Atomic Music)

It's been a while since Washington was a guitar town.

From the sample-heavy club music of Thievery Corporation to burgeoning national hip-hop stars like Wale and Tabi Bonney to the Moombahton sound colonizing nightclubs around the world, the local music scene is far more friendly to laptop heroics than Marshall stacks these days.

But the instrument that first put D.C. music on the map of most rock fans in the '80s and '90s, from Fugazi to Clutch to the Dismemberment Plan, still has pride of place at Atomic Music, the long-running store for working musicians in Beltsville, Md. Rows of amps and a two-tiered wall of guitars, ranging from the familiar Stratocasters to off-beat, no-brand instruments, dominate the store.

Buying and selling secondhand instruments and accessories has been the store's focus since 1994, when co-owner Luis Peraza began selling his own collection with partner and fellow Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School grad Eric Schwelling. "I had a few guitars and he had credit — which I had none of," Peraza recalls. Their first store in College Park, founded when Peraza was 27, was about the size of the foyer of the current store.

Drummers and keyboardists can still find what they're looking for at Atomic, but the flip from Fugazi to Fat Trel hasn't affected the store as much as changes in the economy and technology. According to the National Association of Music Merchants, the recent recession caused U.S. sales of music products to fall from a 10-year peak of over $7.5 billion in 2005 to a low of under $6 billion in 2009.

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This is what a 'hipster' apartment building on H Street looks like, apparently

February 21, 2012 - 04:55 PM
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(AVA H Street/Facebook)

The H Street boom continues! Next up is "AVA H Street," an apartment complex at 318 I St. NE that's about to begin construction. Jeff Wood, development manager at Arlington-based AvalonBay, tells DCmud the hole's been dug, and that the 140-unit building is on schedule for December occupancy.

But, this being the fashionable H Street corridor, AVA H Street won't be anything like its buttoned-up counterparts in Northwest (yeah, I'm looking at you, Mt. Vernon Triangle). Instead, the building will have "colorful facades and prominent branding." In other words, you'll know it's the AVA because the word "AVA" will be plastered all over the façade, and highlighted with fluorescent green. Also, the building has a Facebook page, so obviously it's a hipster joint.

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Tonight: Opera for moviegoers, and the weirdness of quantum mechanics

February 21, 2012 - 01:17 PM
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Puccini's Il Trittico, a collection of three brief operas from the Royal Opera House, screens at "Opera in Cinema" at the West End Cinema. Sung in Italian, the stories Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi range from heartbreaking drama to satire. The Independent writes, "The accepted wisdom on Puccini’s trio of one-acters, Il Trittico, is that Gianni Schicchi is the masterpiece, Suor Angelica of very particular and questionable taste, with Il Tabarro, all shadow and melodrama, bringing up the rear." 7 p.m. Italian, subtitled. Tickets online.

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Media Monday: Which reporter is Media Matters' top lackey?

February 20, 2012 - 08:55 AM
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(Flickr/MJmerry)

The Daily Caller's seemingly endless series on conservative-media watchdog Media Matters for America, while largely met by silence or derision, prompted the Post's Erik Wemple to write:

If the Daily Caller really wants to call this an “investigation,” then the least it can do is a few searches on Google or Nexis... Why not just rely on the public record? Why not just look at a reporter’s clips and determine whether s/he overuses Media Matters material?

The Caller seems uninterested in Wemple's advice, preferring instead to hype its publication of a Media Matters memo it "obtained" — even though, as Dylan Byers notes, Politico published wrote about it nearly a year ago. So I've taken it upon myself to do the Caller's dirty work. Full disclosure: Best as I can recall, I have never received a single email for Media Matters, and the only time I've ever mentioned the liberal organization was to call its "Drop Fox" campaign "useless."

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Weekend planner: West Bank graffiti art, Sticky Fingers' secrets, and Mos Def

February 17, 2012 - 01:10 PM
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Bethlehem, you've been Banksy'd. (Flickr/St. Dekker)

In divided nations, large murals and graffiti art are often a reminder of the oppression, violence and suffering the people have endured. In the West Bank barrier, for instance, Banksy depicted a girl frisking an Israeli soldier and a flak-jacketed dove in the crosshairs. William Parry documents such art, and his conversations with Palestinians, in a new book titled Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine, which he'll be discussing tonight at Busboys and Poets at (5th & K). Friday. 6 p.m. Free.

The rest of this weekend's events, after the jump.

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This weekend's concerts: Release Me!

February 17, 2012 - 11:56 AM
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They play the rocks musics. (Facebook/Since Antarctica)

The music industry follows predictable cycles: Winter is a slow period for new album releases, but they pick up as the weather gets warmer. It's not quite spring yet, but there are a ton of new-release shows this weekend, proving that the album isn't dead yet — or, at least, that it doesn't take much to get bands to throw a party.

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Comparing 'Atlantic' staff retreats: St. Barts or Atlantic City?

February 17, 2012 - 09:30 AM
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(st-barths.com)

Buzzfeed broke the news yesterday — and, yes, get used to reading those words — that David Bradley, owner of Atlantic Media Company, is flying 20 senior executives and editors (plus their spouses) to a retreat at the "posh French Caribbean destination" of Saint Barthélemy, otherwise known as St. Barts. Bradley's paying for it himself, rather than using company funds, but still, "Editorial staffers being left behind on the St. Bart's trip grumbled to BuzzFeed that the money could be put to better use." Or perhaps they're just bitter that last year, their retreat was in Atlantic City.

But is a volcanic island resort in the Caribbean really that much better than the rundown gambling den of the "armpit of America"? Since I've been to neither place, there's only one way to find out: by comparing TripAdvisor's top 5 "things to do" for each location.

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