Photo: Dakota Fine
Photo: Dakota Fine

FotoWeek DC 2017

From November 11-19, DC will play host to the 10th annual FotoWeek by Foto DC, an expansive festival focused on the medium of photography. Whether you’re a journalism nerd interested in award-winning news shots or an art geek who enjoys deciphering what images represent about society, this weeklong series of events provides numerous opportunities to enjoy and learn about breathtaking visuals. In preparation for the week, we spoke to festival executive producer and programming coordinator, Svetlana Legetic.

On Tap: Why do you think it’s important for an entire week of programming and events to be dedicated solely to the medium of photography?
Svetlana Legetic: Photography is the most accessible of art forms and the one that connects to everyday life the most. At the same time, in 2017, photography is an amazing storytelling tool allowing more people to connect to current topics and issues than ever before. DC has a thriving working and amateur photographer community, and transforming the city into a photography playground is a great way to celebrate that.

OT: What do you expect people to take out of these exhibitions, galleries and talks, whether they be photographers or just people who are fans of impactful visuals?
SL: The festival is supposed to provide something for everyone, whether people are more interested in photojournalism, fine art or say, social photography. We have programs targeted specifically at photographers themselves (workshops, portfolio reviews, etc.), but the main goal is for the community to engage with the artists and their work, and get more insight into the stories covered.

OT: Do people have to know a ton about photography to get the full experience?
SL: Not at all. You really just need to be interested in beauty, storytelling and the human/world condition, and you can enjoy it.

OT: What is an event you’re looking forward to most?
SL: Obviously, everyone should come to the opening party. I also love the nighttime projections every year at the Holocaust Museum – such powerful work – and our FotoTalks at FotoWeekCentral. And Arthur Jafa at Hirshhorn. There’s so much to choose from. Personally, the weekends are my favorite. [They’re] a great opportunity to hop around exhibitions and events and make a day out of it, plus most events are free and open to the public.

OT: How many local photographers will be showcased?
SL: Dozens of local photographers are showcased, from the FotoWeekDC competition winners to Women Photojournalists and White House Photographers’ annual shows to our FotoTalks and group shows by IGDC and more.

For locations, times and prices, visit www.fotodc.org.

FOUND-feature-article-700x300-700x300

Found in Space: An Intergalactic Adventure

Not so long ago – 17 years to be exact – in a galaxy that’s actually right here, humans went into space and never left. Since November 2000, humans have lived and worked in space every moment of every day. To celebrate humans’ continuous presence in space, the National Air and Space Museum and Brightest Young Things hosted Found in Space last Saturday, November 4.

As an after-hours event, something about going to the Air and Space Museum in the dark seemed appropriate. Walking through the entrance, I was greeted by strobe lights, nearby pounding club beats and people dressed in their best space gear, including someone completely encased in an astronaut suit of balloons.

To start my intergalactic adventure, I veered towards the IMAX theater where the 16-minute Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), a famous 1902 French silent film created by Georges Méliès, was played. The film was revamped with color and a new, original soundtrack by AIR.

Shortly following the film was a presentation by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Bobak Ferdowsi, who discussed all the missions that involved sending robots to different planets in our galaxy and beyond. A scientist known for his funky hair (he was sporting a partially blue mohawk on this occasion), he cracked jokes about Matt Damon not actually having been on Mars while wowing viewers with sun backlit pictures of Saturn. Audience members were also reminded that to keep these missions going, people’s excitement and engagement about space was vital.

After my IMAX experience, I helped myself to a complimentary, grapefruit-infused SKYY vodka soda. Other options included SKYY specialty cocktails and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Wandering through the exhibits, I passed photo booths that transported people to space, makeup artists painting galaxies on faces and even had a space creature walking on stilts sneak up behind me as I took a picture. People danced in both wings of the museum as they helped themselves to Killa Cakes and Sasya samples, or grabbed cotton candy and snow cones.

My Air and Space Museum adventure ended with a walk through favorite exhibits open during normal hours like “Exploring the Planets” and “Golden Age of Flight,” where I was once again blown away by the vastness that is space and humanity’s incredible journey into the last true frontier.

Experience your own intergalactic adventure at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, free and open seven days a week from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (DC): Independence Avenue at 6th Street in SW, DC; 202-633-2214; www.airandspace.si.edu

Photo: Kris Northern
Photo: Kris Northern

Catharsis on the Mall: A Vigil for Healing

Civic Responsibility.

Leaving No Trace.

Radical Inclusion.

These are just a few of the 10 Burning Man principals that inspired several individuals in DC to create Catharsis on the Mall, a vigil based on First Amendment rights and the desire for immediate political and social change. The third annual Catharsis will take place on November 10-12, following the art theme of “Nurturing the Heart.”

According to community organizer Sanam Emami, Catharsis on the Mall’s mission is “to create an art-driven event that brings the community and individuals who are committed to healing together for a social purpose.” Joshua Carroll, who is on the board of directors and one of the main organizers of the event, says one of the reasons the Catharsis organizers chose DC is because of its political and cultural movement background.

“The National Mall is a place that has a lot of historical significance in terms of cultural movements and cultural change,” Carroll says. “And in many ways, it’s a heart – a focal point – of the political and cultural movements that are sweeping the country right now and have been in place for a long time.”

Catharsis media spokesperson Natalie White says this year’s theme is about trying to create a safe space for women, and giving women’s rights a platform.

“What we really need is an amendment to the United States Constitution that says women have equal rights,” White says.

The vigil will explore this year’s theme through many avenues including art displays, lectures, musical performances and discussions that will facilitate the recognition and healing of wounds in individuals and society.

Originally, the event organizers had planned to place a 45-foot-tall statue of a nude woman on the National Mall, but the National Park Service rejected the permit. Instead, Catharsis plans to feature 26-foot-tall projected digital portraits, set to cover two sides of a scaffold. According to The Washington Post, the Park Service is in the final stages of issuing a permit for the newly proposed structure.

Carroll says people can expect all kinds of art, a golden dragon that will serve as the center stage for musical performances, and workshops and discussions pertaining to self- and women-empowerment. Musical groups Future Clear Pyramid, Meso Creso, JunXion and Ultimate Fantastic will play as well.

The vigil will then build to the weekend-long event’s most important moment: the Temple Burn. A nondenominational sanctuary, the Temple Burn is a place where people can leave personal notes or artifacts to burn and represents letting go, moving on and carrying the experience of Catharsis with you long after the event has ended.

Catharsis on the Mall begins on Friday, November 10 at 11:11 a.m. and ends Sunday, November 12 at 11:13 a.m., and will occur around the clock. The event is free and open to the public.

Catharsis on the Mall: 2 15th St. NW, DC; www.catharsisonthemall.com

This story was updated on November 6 regarding the National Park Service denying Catharsis a permit for a 45-foot-tall statue on the National Mall. 

Graphic: Alanna Sheppard
Graphic: Alanna Sheppard

Inside the Smithsonian Latino Center

To prime myself for an afternoon at the Smithsonian Latino Center, I spent the morning on Independence Avenue between the Hirshhorn and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum enjoying the contrast between the chic couples that tended to favor the former and the ragtag herds of school kids that inundated the latter.

I arrived at the SLC, located a few blocks from the National Mall on one of the upper floors of the Capital Gallery building, to interview SLC Director Eduardo Diaz and Director of Public Programs and Exhibits Ranald Woodaman about how the center planned to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Diaz, in the ninth year of his tenure, said the anniversary would be a time to be “sober about the work that needs to be done.” He speaks with a slight accent, though he was born in the U.S., and insisted that now is not the time to “rest on our laurels.”

Diaz said his top priority is turning the Smithsonian into a Latino-serving institution, and the way to do that is by establishing Latino presence within the Smithsonian, which is done through his “Three P’s” – people, programs and place. They are lacking with respect to that final “P,” and though Diaz hopes for a Latino Museum on the National Mall at some point, he cedes on that front. (Any Latino Museum on the National Mall is contingent upon legislation first passing in Congress.) Instead, he fixes his focus on people, which refers to leadership and professional development programs, and others like public access resources, such as the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum or even forums held at the DC Historical Society.

The leadership and professional development programs seem to be the biggest boon for the SLC, as well as for the community. The SLC runs programs ranging from one for graduating high school seniors to another for emerging scholars, and others for everything else in between. The program for graduating high school students is the Young Ambassadors Program, and its attendees have a 97 percent graduation rate from college. The reason for the high rate, according to Diaz, is that the real work of these programs is to develop a relationship between the SLC and attendees. After the program ends, the SLC keeps in regular contact and continues to support the attendees with further opportunities. Whether they go into museum work or not is beside the point, Diaz said. What matters is that they are aware of the SLC’s work and that they support it, and that the SLC continues to support them as well.

Walking down the halls of the building, the support from program attendees was already made apparent in that most everyone I was introduced to went through one of the SLC programs, including Woodaman. His purview includes workshops and lectures rather than professional development programs. At first glance, that sounds par for the course for museum work; however, the ethos of his direction is not what you would expect. He tries to steer clear of the paternalistic tenor of a traditional museum experience, and instead means to share the SLC’s authority with communities – to empower them.

Woodaman told me about a night at Busboys and Poets put on by the SLC as an example. The SLC invited “old school Latinos” to get together and simply share stories. The idea behind the evening, and other such events, is to turn lay people into “citizen-historians,” so to speak, and to inspire non-museum professionals to collect stories from their communities and preserve their neighborhoods regardless. The point that Woodaman made is that for there to really be a shift in understanding of Latino culture, that effort has to extend beyond a gallery space and has to make the museum work, (i.e., the work of preserving history and culture), a collective, participatory thing. Woodaman still hopes for a museum space, because it would allow the SLC to tell what a “fairly remedial stories” to the broader museum-attending public (90 percent of whom are white). But Woodaman and Diaz continue to plumb these atypical methods in order to turn the Smithsonian into a truly Latino-serving institution.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the SLC presents the Sones de México Ensemble at the Concert for Tomorrow’s Ancestors this Saturday, November 4 at 3 p.m. at the National Museum of the American Indian. The ensemble formed in 1994 in Chicago, and have since become a premier folk ensemble specializing in Mexican son music, with an emphasis on the different regional styles of son – from huapango and gustos to chilenas and son jarocho. And on Sunday, December 3 at 2 p.m., the Pasatono Orquesta Mexicana will perform in the National Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard. The eight-piece ensemble formed in 1998 when eight ethnomusicologists decided to do whatever they could to preserve and disseminate traditional Oaxacan folk music.

For more information about the Smithsonian Latino Center, visit www.latino.si.edu.

The Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery: 8th and F Streets, NW, DC; www.npg.si.edu

The National Museum of the American Indian: Corner of 4th Street and Independence Avenue, SW, DC; www.nmai.si.edu

Photo: Courtesy of Living Classrooms
Photo: Courtesy of Living Classrooms

Living Classrooms Foundation Hosts 10th Annual Fall Benefit

Living Classrooms Foundation, an organization that strengthens community education using historical surroundings, is celebrating 10 years of their fall benefit, Night at The Point. Join them tonight with a performance from The Wailers, a number of participating local restaurants and as many as 1,000 guests in attendance all on the DC waterfront. We caught up with Living Classrooms’ Michelle Subbiondo about tonight’s event.

On Tap: How has Night at the Point changed over the last 10 years?
Michelle Subbiondo: Over the years, it has really grown from a small celebration to one of our highly anticipated annual events. This year, we moved the location down the river to Buzzard Point, and renamed the event Night at The Point. We are still expecting a fantastic evening of music, food and celebration with over 20 DC restaurants. We have students in our Queen Beez Program, a girl’s empowerment program that uses music as a means of expression and leadership development, for a special performance at the event.

OT: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s event?
MS: The Wailers! We were so fortunate to secure a legendary band like The Wailers for this year’s event. Their fanbase spans all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles, and I think their set is going to be really memorable. Some people may not know that many of the original band members have been touring for years since Bob Marley passed, still bringing the same energy and spirit to their classic songs.

OT: Why did you decide to book The Wailers for this event?
MS: Every year, we try to find a band that brings a certain spirit to their performances – someone who will get the crowd excited and dancing, and make for a memorable evening. In years past, we’ve booked some local acts that have the same grassroots background as us who we think have the potential to really explode. This year, since it’s our 10th anniversary, we wanted a headliner that would get our supporters as excited for the event as we are, and I think The Wailers have the ability to build anticipation.

OT: How much have you raised in the past? What is this year’s goal?
MS: Last year, we raised about $150,000, and we are hoping to exceed that number this year. We are also hoping to raise critical dollars, specifically, for DC children to experience our outdoor nature retreat, Camp Fraser, in Great Falls, Virginia. Each year, fifth grade students from throughout DC visit the camp for a once-in-a-lifetime meaningful watershed education experience. Many have their first experience with nature there. Our goal is to send every fifth grader in the District to Camp Fraser for environmental STEM education.

OT: What exactly will the funds go to?
MS: Proceeds from Night at The Point will be used for the continued delivery of our handson education programs, including our shipboard environmental STEM education program that takes place on our historic vessel; our enrichment program Queen Beez that mentors young girls through writing and recording original hip-hop music videos; environmental and restoration education that takes place on Kingman Island; our award-winning student robotics team; as well as many in-school programs, job trainings and public programming that take place in various “living classrooms” around the DC area.

Night at the Point is Friday, October 20. Tickets are $110-$120. 

Night at The Point: 200 V St. SW, DC; www.livingclassrooms.org

Wharf_Grand_Opening_101417 (34)

The Wharf Kickoff Celebration Weekend

The Wharf’s Kickoff Celebration weekend was four days of live music, fabulous food and fun at the Southwest Waterfront as DC celebrated the long-awaited opening of The Wharf. The District’s newest destination featured free live entertainment, restaurant openings from DC’s hottest chefs, debuts of iconic shops, waterside activities and games, and fireworks! Photos: Tatiana Herrera and Mike Kim

Photo: Michael Loria
Photo: Michael Loria

OPUS 1: Surreal as the Succession of Days

Before the Chrysalis Stage, Enchanted Forest and Lightning Cloud, one had to pass beneath an arch reading “The Journey Begins.” And thus it began, though for such a commanding piece of signage one might have expected a longer journey in duration. This was the OPUS 1 event at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday, billed as a “surreal sensory journey.”

I arrived a few hours before sunset. At this time, the Hearth Stage, (i.e., Merriweather’s mainstage), was modestly attended. Someone onstage performed an improvised song. I pressed on from the Hearth, under the “Journey” arch and into Culinary Village, which looked enticing but was expensive. I patted the white chocolate macadamia nut Clif Bar in my pocket and, again, moved on. After Culinary Village was the Chrysalis Stage. Most of the crowd was gathered here. There was plenty of space to sit on the grass, and it seemed nice to be well-monied enough to have a grilled cheese from the nearby food truck.

Not much for pep bands though, I moved on to the Enchanted Forest. But before entering the woods, one had to pass beneath another threshold; this time instead of a sign, it looked to be Sauron’s other, lazier eye. If any journey were to begin, I felt it would be here. The eye had its own soundtrack, or sound effect rather, and after nightfall its shimmering blue light would be something to watch.

The lines to three separate installations converged beneath the eye; one led to the Lightning Cloud, another to a green screen labeled the Immersive Projection Program and a third to an egg-shaped installation called the Mutual Wave Machine. Eager to avoid lines, I kept moving, except I slowed my pace upon noticing the end of the tour.

Tucked behind the Egg Installation was another spot on the map labeled “Hibridos.” It was shaped like a bonfire space, only in the center of the circled-up logs was a table where a few performers were setting up. Their space was quiet, and I felt drawn to it. As I came over, one of the performers turned to meet me. He was smoking a clove cigarette but asked me if I had any rolling papers to share. No dice; I failed him. 

He was handsome in a wiry sort of way and had a heavy French accent. We sat and chatted awhile. I recorded our conversation but the information conveyed was mostly programmatic, with the most interesting part inaudible (he stuck his tongue out at me in a cheeky sort of way). His name was Vincent Moon and for his installation, he would VJ (video jockey) footage he shot over the past year in the Amazon, while his partner would make music from the field recordings they had done there. (I wouldn’t realize it until the following day, but Moon was actually the founder of a video podcast series called “Concerts à emporter,” which I’ve followed for years. Small world.) 

The next couple of hours were packed. On the Chrysalis Stage, the Brooklyn Raga Massive performed Terry Riley’s In C, and then the Sun Ra Arkestra put on a bombastic show. The performers I met put on their installation made from footage shot in the Amazon. And back at the Hearth Stage, EXO-TECH was performing for two or three ecstatic dancers. The EXO-TECH performance was a bit loud for some of the kids playing tag on the lawn – they covered their ears and hoofed it back to the Enchanted Forest.

For these kids, I imagine OPUS 1 was a surreal experience, though I imagine it had as much to do with the new spaces to explore and the number of other kids there as anything else. But for us adults wandering through the anticlimactically small installation setup, it was just a free evening in a pleasant place with neat things to see.

For more information about OPUS 1’s installations, click here.

Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pky. Columbia, MD; 410-715-5550; www.merriweathermusic.com

Photos: Courtesy of Congressional Cemetery
Photos: Courtesy of Congressional Cemetery

Headstones and Hooch: October in Congressional Cemetery

Nestled in the heart of DC near the former DC General Hospital and the Anacostia River are 30 acres of rolling green hills, shaded by ancient trees and filled with birdsong. Established before the Civil War, Congressional Cemetery is an active green space, off-leash dog park and the resting place of more than 65,000 people. It’s the perfect spot for picnickers, history buffs, art appreciators and anyone who loves Halloween.

Older than Arlington Cemetery, Congressional is filled with beautifully carved headstones and sculpted angels, as well as the best spot outside of the Tidal Basin to experience the cherry blossoms, which bloom in a canopy over a path leading to a small and charming chapel. Markers range from simple names and dates to funny epitaphs.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, nearby residents used it like parkland. Children played, dogs frolicked and couples courted. After World War II, public parks were established and funded by government agencies, and the cemetery fell into disrepair. Urban decay and the space’s dereliction made it perfect for criminal activity.

But in the 1990s, local dog walkers came to the rescue. They reclaimed the space, eventually raising money and establishing a nonprofit to restore and care for the historic site. Not only is it pup-friendly, the cemetery has also become a favorite spot for runners.

“People can have a really fulfilling experience in the space that brings them joy,” says Kelly Carnes, who discovered the cemetery while walking her pooch. “The best way to respect the dead is to celebrate living.”

October, of course, is one of the best times to visit. As the leaves change and the weather cools, get into the Halloween spirit by going on special night tours. You just might run into the specters of First Lady Dolley Madison, composer John Philip Sousa and silent screen film star Mary Fuller, but the hundreds of politicians underfoot might be the scariest ghosts of all.

Soul Strolls takes place on October 20-21 and 27-28 at $22 per ticket, with beer, wine and cider available for purchase. This year, the public vault will be transformed into a Prohibition era speakeasy featuring craft cocktails for sipping in and around the building. Purchase a VIP ticket, and after the tour, your guide will admit you to the pop-up bar where you can mingle with some of the lawmakers and lawbreakers of the 1920s.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, participate in the seventh annual Dead Man’s Run 5K on October 7 at 6 p.m. for $40 per runner.

“There are so many reasons why I love this race,” says Catherine Collins, who has participated in the last five Dead Man’s Runs. “Everyone’s attitude is amazing, and they are there to have fun and be a little scared. I love all the great costume ideas people come up [with].”

The route takes runners through the cemetery and along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Following the race, a DJ spins while runners and their fans snack on giant soft pretzels, enjoy beer and dance to spooky tunes.

Congressional Cemetery is open from dawn to dusk daily. The cemetery also serves as an off-leash dog park, so a friendly dog or two might join you! Learn more at www.congressionalcemetery.org.

Photo: Phillips Collection
Photo: Phillips Collection

Renoir And Friends

Imagine the scene of your last great party. Maybe it was sometime in the summer, in an outdoor setting, surrounded by friends and more than a few empty bottles. That doesn’t sound too farfetched, does it? It turns out that even the greatest artists in history have shared those moments with friends.

“Luncheon of the Boating Party,” a painting by French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, will be on display at the Phillips Collection from October 7 through early January as part of the first exhibition in two decades focused on the classic painting.

Renoir and Friends will feature more than 40 works of art from collections around the world including paintings, drawings, pastels and photographs, all chosen to tell the story of the boating party. According to Phillips Collection Exhibition Curator Eliza Rathbone, we all need a little joyful art in our lives.

“It’s enormously colorful – the still life of bottles and glasses on the table shimmering with the light off the water,” Rathbone says. “It just has a joyful quality. It just feels uplifting and delightful and enormously pleasurable. Who wouldn’t wish they were there?”

And you don’t have to be an art aficionado to appreciate “Luncheon of the Boating Party.” Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, the painting is definitely one that makes even those most ignorant of art (myself being a card-carrying member of that exclusive club) think something along the lines of “Oh, I know that one.”

The painting has been reproduced around the world countless times. Not only is it a joyful scene, one that may seem familiar to anyone who’s wasted a summer day away with friends and booze, but it’s a beautifully colorful work, too.

“People may think they’ve never seen it, but they probably have because it must be one of the most loved paintings in the world,” Rathbone says. “I really think that’s true. I have walked into a hotel room in Helsinki and seen a reproduction of it on the wall.”

And the longer you look at “Luncheon of the Boating Party,” the more obvious the distinct personalities of its subjects become. My personal favorite? Look for the lady surrounded by interested men with her hands over her ears. Who hasn’t wanted to do that at some point or another?

“They’re quite individual too,” Rathbone continues. “One of them is wearing a top hat, one of them holds a dog, another leans over someone to join the conversation, another one looks at boats on the river…they all seem to have individual personalities. They’re people with whom everyone can identify in a way. Who hasn’t enjoyed such a situation?”

Don’t miss the Renoir and Friends exhibit, opening on October 7. And on November 2, head to Phillips After 5’s Fashion a la Renoir soirée from 5-8:30 p.m. Other events include a film screening of the 2012 film Renoir on October 12 and a book signing of Renoir: An Intimate Biography on November 9. Learn more at www.phillipscollection.org.

performing arts guide

Performing Arts Guide 2017

DC is one of the country’s top hubs for theatre, with more professional theaters and productions per year than most major cities save a few (not sure we can ever compete with NYC, but one can dream). Even still, our city strikes a near perfect balance between superb performances at iconic venues to edgier, more daring works at up-and-coming spots carving their own niche in local theatre. As the 2017-2018 theatre season heats up, we decided to not only pick out some of this fall’s most unique productions but also to expand our annual roundup to include other standout lineups in the performing arts – from standup and improv to dance and opera. Read our list of performances worth checking out between now and the end of the year, plus a few spots with ongoing programming in comedy, hip-hop and even burlesque.


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 26

An Act of God
In this sinfully hilarious comedy, God inhabits the body of David Javerbaum of The Daily Show – and boy, does he have a sh-t ton to say to us messed up mortals. Never without his loyal archangels, Michael and Gabriel, God delivers a new set of Ten Commandments so you can stop sweating so much in church. All jokes aside (for a moment anyway), Javerbaum is a 13-time Emmy Award winner. The New York Times calls An Act of God, “a gut-busting-funny riff on the never-ending folly of mankind.” There has never been a more pertinent time for humanity to be the butt of a skewering joke or two, so don’t miss the chance to die laughing at our sins. Tickets start at $40. Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington, VA; www.sigtheatre.org

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4 – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6

The Effect
You know the gut-wrenching, heart-pounding, mildly nauseous feeling you get when you know you’ve fallen for someone hard? What if you were told that feeling was only a side effect of a medication? Connie and Tristan are subjects in a medical trial for antidepressants. When they fall in love, differentiating between love and chemicals becomes increasingly difficult, especially in a situation that involves doctors, the tricky ground of acclimating to new medications and big pharma to boot. Showtimes vary. Tickets cost $20-$45. Studio Theatre: 1501 14th St. NW, DC; www.studiotheatre.org

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15

Assassins Presented by Pallas Theatre Collective
It’s always a bit jarring to watch a production of this classic American musical in DC. Grounded in Stephen Sondheim’s genius lyrics and wrenching musical composition, the show tells the story of America’s four presidential assassins and five would-be assassins. The actors speak and sing directly to the audience, making the play captivating and holding you on the edge of your seat as you uncomfortably consider the “other side” of the story, and find comedy in unexpected moments. Capital Fringe’s production, directed by Clare Shaffer, is sure to be a rendition worth seeing. Tickets are $25. Logan Fringe Arts Space/Trinidad Theatre: 1358 Florida Ave NE; www.capitalfringe.org

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7

Sam Morril at the Big Hunt
A nationally touring comic and former intern with The Colbert Report, Morril has performed on Inside Amy Schumer, Conan and The Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert. A frequent performer at New York City indie and underground shows, Morril is bringing his jokes to Underground Comedy, and there couldn’t be a more relevant time to go see him. His Comedy Central special, Class Act, became No. 1 on iTunes comedy specials, and a popular online comedy magazine describes his ability to make the “unfunny very funny.” So ignore your real problems and go see this rising comic while he’s in the area. Tickets are $15. The Big Hunt: 1345 Connecticut Ave NW, DC; www.undergroundcomedydc.com

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12

The Price
Often overshadowed by American playwright Arthur Miller’s other works like The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, The Price tells the story of Victor Franz, a man who returns home to settle his late father’s affairs. During the Great Depression, Victor gives up his chance to go to college in order to care for his father. Years later, in an attic of a soon-to-be-demolished home, overflowing with memories and dusty furniture, Franz must come to terms with the weight of the decision he made on behalf of his father. The Price premiered on Broadway in 1968 and has been produced there four times since. Various dates and showtimes. Tickets cost $91, but check Arena’s website for Pay Your Age/Under 30 Program and student deals. Arena Stage: 1101 Sixth St. SW, DC; www.arenastage.org

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8

Samson and Delilah
Before you rule out seeing an opera just because it’s an opera, give this one a chance. This performance tells the biblical story of Samson, an Israelite warrior who meets his downfall in the form of a beautiful woman who seduces and then betrays him. The French opera was written by Camille Saint-Saëns and couldn’t be performed until 15 years after it was written due to its “sensual” subject matter. Still not sold? The final scene is infamous for portraying a bacchanal which consists of a dance by Delilah intended to seduce Samson. You don’t have to be old and a millionaire to enjoy a damn good story. Tickets start at $54. George Mason University’s Center for the Arts: 4400 University Dr. Fairfax, VA; www.cfa.gmu.edu

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 15

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen (The Little Mermaid – the sad one) fairytale, The Red Shoes is a popular fairytale that tells the story of a woman who wants to do nothing more than follow her dream: to dance. She finds herself torn between a man who brings her fame and a man she loves. Filled with swing, waltz, ballet and all the glitz and glamour of the 40s, this drama is premiering in DC and is sure to make its way into your heart. British director Matthew Bourne has won a Tony Award for Best Director with his rendition of Swan Lake, so you know you won’t be let down when it comes to an emotional story. Show runs from October 10-15. Tickets cost $29-$129. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19

Antony and Cleopatra
Easily one of the most intriguing plays ever written, Antony and Cleopatra is so chockfull of sexual symbolism, it’s hard to believe the Bard ever got a reputation as highbrow. Antony is torn between his passionate affair with Cleopatra and his sense of duty – familial and military – to those who depend on him in Rome (including a wife). As if the characters and the story aren’t captivating enough, Folger will transform into a round theater with the stage in the center, offering a unique experience and view no matter where you’re seated. Pro tip: keep an eye out for the subversion of gender roles and the symbolism of the snake. You’re welcome. Various dates and showtimes. Tickets cost $35-$79. Folger Theatre: 201 East Capitol St. SE, DC; www.folger.edu

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13

Whoopi Goldberg
This iconic actress and hilarious comedian doesn’t let herself be limited. Goldberg is a known humanitarian, author and television show host, in addition to being funny AF and the best part of every movie. This multifaceted actress is bringing her wit, charm and jokes to a night of standup at the Kennedy Center. The decorated performer is also one of the few winners of an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award), so don’t miss out on the chance to see Goldberg’s charming personality in person. Nun costumes optional. Tickets cost $49-$125. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14

Tango Buenos Aires: The Spirit of Argentina
The Andes Mountains and the Plaza de Mayo are two reasons to visit Argentina at some point in your life, but if you’re anything like me and a trip to South America is not in the foreseeable future, then mark your calendar for this. Take a trip through the evolution of tango with the dancers of Tango Buenos Aires. This isn’t a show to remind of your own two left feet, but an exploration of music and a historically and culturally iconic form of dance. And if just sitting on the sidelines isn’t your thing, join a free dance lesson before the show starting at 6:30 p.m. The lesson is free with a ticket to the show, and couples are encouraged. The show is at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $30. George Mason University’s Center for the Arts: 4400 University Dr. Fairfax, VA; www.cfa.gmu.edu

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21

UrbanArias: Shining Brow
You are most definitely familiar with the crushing feeling when one of your artistic heroes says, does or is accused of doing something indefensible. Or even when someone famous you don’t like gets a pass on morally reprehensible behavior – looking at you, NFL fans – just because they’re good at what they do. People warn you against meeting heroes for a reason. But when it comes to art, we tend to make excuses for brilliant people who behave badly, as if genius is some sort of curse. This opera explores the life of iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright, his affair and his “enormous self-regard.” Tickets cost $39-$42. The Paul Sprenger Theatre: 1333 H St. NE, DC; www.atlasarts.org

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27

The Adventures of Peter Pan/Synetic Theater’s Vampire’s Ball
The cast, crew and producers at Synetic Theater are masters at their craft, which is to say that year after year, they take traditional productions and make them magical by removing dialogue. That’s right – body movement, choreography, music, sound, lights and raw emotions set the stage and rule the show at Synetic, creating an audience experience that is unique to say the least. In keeping with its magical, mysterious vibe, the theater will hold its 11th annual Vampire’s Ball right before Halloween. Tickets to the ball include a performance of The Adventures of Peter Pan, plus a post-show party with dancing, an open bar, and, of course, a costume contest. Tickets are $25-$70. Synetic Theater: 1800 South Bell St. Arlington, VA; www.synetictheater.org

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3

Mean Girls
You can’t sit with us! But you can sit in National Theatre to see the new musical adaptation of the now classic teen movie about friendship, revenge and navigating the perils of high school life (let’s be real, life in general), that starred post-Parent Trap and pre-arrest LiLo. With a Tony-winning director, comedy from Tina Fey, original music from Jeff Richmond (30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and lyrics by Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), this has got to be even better than the movie. Mean Girls comes to National for its world premiere before heading to Broadway next spring. Tickets are $48-$108. The National Theatre: 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.thenationaldc.org

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5

Metro Tap Roots
There is nothing quite like the sound of taps clicking and shuffling lightly across the stage, or across the concrete, or anywhere, really, to set the rhythms in your soul to moving. Now in its third annual showing, Metro Tap Roots is a celebration of the DC area’s vibrant and rich history of the art of tap dancing. This year, Roots will be performed in collaboration with renowned African-American poet Nikki Giovanni. The show is inspired by Giovanni’s children’s book, The Grasshopper’s Song: An Aesop’s Fable Revisited. Tickets are $15-$30. Dance Place: 3225 8th St. NE, DC; www.danceplace.org

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4 – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2

Top Girls
Keegan Theatre is a hidden gem among DC’s playhouses. Surrounded by brownstones and tucked away on a narrow, tree-lined street, the venue has a magical way of transporting you to another world even before a show begins. Keegan is known for its unique and challenging productions, and Top Girls should be top among them. Directed by Amber Paige McGinnis, Top Girls is as relevant now as it was when written in 1982. According to Keegan’s website, “the play presents complex questions about a feminism which mimics aggressive, oppressive behavior and success which can only be achieved by abandoning family ties to force a way to the top.” Tickets are $35-$45. Keegan Theatre: 1742 Church St. NW, DC; www.keegantheatre.com

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5

Kevin Smith
Do we really have to write a lengthy litany of reasons for you to go see Kevin Smith? Probably not, but we’re going to pontificate anyway for the sake of gratuitous self-gratification, and because we really enjoy Mr. Smith. Basically, the man is a creative force of nature, stemming from his 90s hit Clerks, which sparked his celebrity and his film career. The homemade movie about dudes shooting the sh-t in a gas station kicked off his filmography and then sprawled into multiple movies set in his “View Askewniverse,” podcasts, television shows and of course, his live standup. Well, I guess it’s not technically standup, but it’s titled “An Evening With,” which is sort of misleading because it sounds like something you’d put in your calendar for a Tinder date. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s not the case (Smith is married, ladies), but hanging out at the Lincoln while Smith says cool sh-t sounds good enough for us. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35. The Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC; www.thelincolndc.com

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12

Dance Metro DC
Since 2005, Dance Metro DC has been committed to a mission of strengthening and supporting the field of dance in our region – advocating for artists, promoting exhibitions, and educating and providing a network for dancers from all disciplines. This fall presentation continues that mission, showcasing the work of dance artists that have been commissioned by the organization. Tickets are $15-$30. Dance Place: 3225 8th St. NE, DC; www.danceplace.org

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31

The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens
Chicago’s legendary comedy troupe The Second City is bringing Christmas to the Kennedy Center like never before. Twist Your Dickens is the perfect show to wipe away any holiday blues that may come your way. You’ll meet new versions of the characters from Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, and won’t be able to think of Scrooge, Tiny Tim or the three spirits in the same way again. Audience participation will round out this parody, so be ready to join in and become a part of the satire. While all in good fun, the show is recommended for ages 16 and up. Tickets are $49-$69. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12 – WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 13

Hip Hop Nutcracker 
If you feel like getting into the holiday spirit, but are tired of seeing the same shows year after year, this one is for you. Hip Hop Nutcracker gives whole new meaning to “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” with a cast of a dozen all-star dancers spinning the turntable on this Christmas classic. Jaw-dropping hip-hop choreography, special guest MC Kurtis Blow, an onstage DJ, electric violinist and digital scenery bring Tchaikovsky’s score and the story of Clara and her nutcracker to new light in a contemporary urban setting. Tickets are $28-$58. The Music Center at Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD; www.strathmore.org

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 14 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31

An Irish Carol
Opening your presents right after midnight or waiting until everyone is done with brunch, copious amounts of eggnog or a total lack thereof, buying ugly sweaters for the pup or detangling the cat from the Christmas tree – everyone has their own versions of holiday traditions. And this year, Keegan Theatre needs to be on the agenda. Set in modern times, An Irish Carol tells the familiar story of a man who puts material success ahead of everything else and must rethink his life when faced with voices from the past. So, ditch the crowded malls playing Mariah Carey on loop and add a new routine to your holiday season. Showtimes and dates vary. Tickets start at $35. Keegan Theatre: 1742 Church St. NW, DC; www.keegantheatre.com

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21 – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 23

Judah Friedlander at DC Improv
You may know him from 30 Rock or Wet Hot American Summer, but even if you don’t know who Judah Friedlander is, if you don’t even like comedy shows (who are you, anyway?) and even if – perhaps especially if – your soul is black and no humor penetrates it, don’t miss the opportunity to see this master comedian at work. He is the World Champion of comedy. He was a strong contender for the 2016 presidency. He wrote a book about how great he is. Basically, when he gets here, he’s going to out-DC the city in a hot minute, and will make you pee-laugh while doing it. Tickets are $20. DC Improv: 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.dcimprov.com

ONGOING

Big Duo Improv Comedy Night
This monthly improv comedy show brought to you by comedy duo Big No No is the kind of lowkey laugh that even the staunchest of comedy haters can enjoy. In the chill atmosphere of everybody’s favorite coffeehouse/bar/hipster hang Colony Club, Big No No’s Sam and Michael (who have been working their own two-man routine since 2013) gather two new comedy duos each month for a themed show before rounding out the evening with their own skit. It’s a really nice reprieve from the real world. Go for the laughs. Stay for the friendship. Free. Colony Club: 3118 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.colonyclubdc.com

Fantasie Fridays at SAX
Enter through reclaimed, gilded church doors into a world of decadence and debauchery (irony not to be missed), and find yourself in a tiny Versailles. The SAX is two floors of ornate adult wonderland catering to the art of cabaret where, “beginning with dinner, the evening slowly gathers energy as guests are treated to continuous live entertainment, where ballet meets burlesque meets Cirque de Soleil.” On Friday nights, a cast of aerialists, pole performers, belly dancers and more take the stage to create a phantasmagoric evening where the lines of the real and the imaginary blur. Fridays; inquire for more details. SAX DC: 734 11th St. NW, DC; www.saxwdc.com

Hip-Hop at the Kennedy Center
One of the most iconic performing arts centers in the country is providing a space for hip-hop artists and lovers to celebrate everything hip-hop culture. On November 5, enjoy the Words, Beats and Life competition, an event dedicated to breakdance and graffiti. If breakdancing is going to end up with you breaking something, show up for In The Beginning, a silent dance party that is free and doesn’t require tickets. If Throwback Thursday is your favorite day of the week, then don’t miss the chance to hear music of hip-hop trailblazers who helped define the culture as we understand it today. Various dates and showtimes. Ticket prices vary. The Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

Underground Comedy
The Big Hunt is one of DC’s oldest and most popular “dive bars.” And if you take a deep dive down into the establishment’s basement (affectionately known as “Hell’s Kitchen”) on a Wednesday through Saturday night of any given week, you’re guaranteed at least a laugh or two with your cheap beer and bottom shelf liquor when Underground Comedy, “DC’s premier independent comedy production company,” takes over the mic. Wednesdays and Thursdays are reserved for the best of DC’s standup comedy community, while Friday and Saturday shows feature comedians from around the country, including national headliners. Ongoing Wednesday through Saturday, tickets run from free to $15. The Big Hunt: 1345 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.undergroundcomedydc.com