Inauguration Nightlife Agenda
This week's column features some of the biggest names in hip-hop, legendary DJs from both sides of the Atlantic, all-day burlesque shows, dirt-cheap inaugural balls and many cool events.
Thursday, Jan. 15
A few weeks ago, Fritz told you about Capitol City Brewing Company's InaugurAle and its special commemorative pint glass. Well, it's not the only brewpub
cashing in on celebrating Barack Obama's election. Tonight, the District ChopHouse unveils its Barack Bock, a strong, malty lager made with American hops. The first beer flows from the taps at 5, and special commemorative pint glasses will be sold for $7.50 each, or $11.50 if you want them filled with beer. If you can't make it tonight, move quickly -- Chophouse management isn't sure how long one tank of the beer will last.
Friday, Jan. 16
By now, we all know that Jay-Z and Barack Obama are admirers of each other's work. The president-elect copped the "dirt-off-my-shoulder" move during a speech last April and said that Jigga's "American Dream" was on his iPod. Jay-Z, meanwhile, campaigned for Obama and dropped his name in freestyle verses. So it's only natural that a week of galas and events at Love celebrating Obama's election kicks off with Jay-Z's American Dream Gala, a semi-formal event hosted by the man who has dubbed himself "the hood's Barack." There's no promises on whether Jay will perform, but this is going to be a festive night, with the doors (and the bars) open from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. Get advance tickets and you can skip (some of) the lines.
Last month at the 9:30 club, Nadastrom (listen) had the misfortune of being sandwiched between Blaqstarr, the Diplo-anointed master of Baltimore Club, and Tittsworth, D.C.'s own globetrotting, remixing party DJ. And you know what Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom did? They wrecked the place. Juggling on four turntables, they blended electro beats, Soul II Soul vocal snatches, rave-worthy drum buildups and banging keyboards, all punctuated by air-horn blasts. The packed crowd loved -- and danced to -- every minute. The duo is headlining the latest edition of Hometown Heroes at the Trinidad and Tobago Association tonight, along with Chicago-born Terry Thompson (of the UK's hot Code Red label), who will be dropping deep underground house. Tickets are $10 and the party goes late.
Saturday, Jan. 17
Norman Jay has been a DJ in London for almost three decades, moving from spinning at legendary early-'90s warehouse parties and helping introduce the UK to house and "rare groove" music on pirate radio to spinning on his own BBC show, running a soundsystem at the Notting Hill Carnival -- the biggest street party in Western Europe -- and working with Giles Peterson to launch the Talking Loud label. He's done so much for dance music, in fact, that Queen Elizabeth II honored him by making him a member of the Order of the British Empire for "deejaying and services to music" in her 2002 Honours List. In short, he's a godfather. But tonight's appearance at Eighteenth Street Lounge will be Jay's very first visit ever to Washington. In short, do not miss it. DJ Moose kicks off the night.
Like our own Sam Burns and Mandrill, Danny Krivit has been spinning records longer than most DJs in this area have been alive. And all of us who have ever searched for a perfect disco break or blended a four-to-the-floor beat on two decks have a connection to his work. Venerable names from New York's club scene like the Roxy, Danceteria and Studio 54 have a Danny Krivit imprint in their historical records. And since 1996, Krivit has been a part of the Body & Soul team who brought soulful dance music to a new generation of fans. For Shift tonight at the Loft, Krivit teams up with Ron Trent (listen), a titan of Chicago's house and techno scenes. Local stars Chris Burns and Double o7 will also be running with the big boys tonight. Admission is $15 before midnight and $20 after.
Remember all those scenes of people around the world celebrating Obama's victory on election night? Apparently Americans aren't the only ones getting into the spirit this weekend. The thawing of American-French relations continues tonight at Russia House, where the Alliance Francaise, France-Amérique magazine, Bistrot du Coin and others are teaming up for Soiree Obama, with Parisian DJs Jr Le Saint and John Houseback spinning. The dress code is "Glam Chic" and the cover is $20 when you RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by 6 on Saturday.
New York's Libation party is a space where acrobatic dancers find a zone grooving to deep Afro-Latin rhythms. If you aren't devoted enough to make the Thursday night trip up north, get a rare taste of Libation resident Ian Friday at Saturday Soul Sessions tonight. The releases on Friday's Tea Party Music (listen) label powerfully distill Friday's sound of uplifting nu-soul backed by the power of the drum.
Sunday, Jan. 18
Daylight's post-election session was emotionally charged. It's not often that a dance party breaks down in the middle, everyone holds hands to say a prayer and then jumps right back into the groove. With all of the visitors in town looking for the real soul, the family reunion/block party vibe should go up several notches. This is Washington's real old-school party, not the kind where you hear the same Frankie Beverly, Cheryl Lynn and Gap Band sequence over and over again, and its afternoon time slot means you can sleep in, dance, go home for a disco nap and go back out and do it all over again.
Monday, Jan. 19
Want a preview of what the crowds are going to be like at the inauguration or along the parade route tomorrow? Head over to the ultra-hip Commonwealth boutique between 6 and 9 this evening, where D.C. standard-bearer Wale (listen) and former UGK rapper Bun B (listen) are hosting a pre-inaugural party, alongside local DJ Jerome Baker III. There will be special Stussy and Commonwealth T-shirts on sale, along with drinks and hors d'oeuvres. The announcement says "EARLY ARRIVAL SUGGESTED" and that's no joke, as anyone who went to see the Clipse at Commonwealth a few months ago can attest.
Burlesque, belly dancers, sword swallowers, fire-breathing daredevils and carnival acts around the clock. That's the agenda at the Palace of Wonders on Monday and Tuesday, where Inauguration Feast of Flesh variety shows run from noon to 4 a.m. and feature a number of regulars from the bar, including Tyler Fyre and Thrill Kill Jill of the awesome Lucky Daredevil Thrillshow. Fire, sharp objects and dancing -- how can you say no? There's a new show every hour on the hour, and the second-floor museum will be open for tours, in case you've never seen oddities like the five-legged dog or "ancient" Peruvian mummies. No matter when you drop in, the cover is $5.
We're adopting the title of the Second Second City this week, with all the Chicago artists coming to D.C. to celebrate the election of the junior senator from Illinois. Dance fans know that Chicago is the city that gave us house music, and tonight's Househeads for Obama at Bourbon takes it back to where it all began: DJs Wayne Williams and Alan King of the Chosen Few, who were spinning disco and what became house at clubs like the Loft back in the late '70s and early '80s. These two are known for spinning before thousands at outdoor shows in the Windy City, so to see them go back to back in the intimate confines of Bourbon -- and for just $10 -- is too good to pass up. Doors open at 9 and the music goes "until."
When Karizma (listen) plays, dancers have fits and DJs pay attention. They take mental notes, marvel, admire, and sometimes, when that competitive bug hits them, they might get their feelings hurt. That's because Baltimore's storied decknician is as fearless as he is technical and as aggressive as he is soulful. His programming and technique are often daring, but the transitions are so expert that it always makes sense. Karizma anchors the Yes We Did party at the Loft tonight, featuring New York's Doc Delay and Brendan Bringem, and for the home team, Sam "The Man" Burns and the Dirty Bombs crew.
Stevie Wonder and the Obamas are mutual admirers. DJ Spinna and Stevie Wonder are also big fans of each other. Spinna and Bobbito are doing another Washington edition of their hugely popular Wonder-full party at Liv tonight. Stevie has been known to drop in and address his adoring fans during these joyous celebrations of his music. And we know Stevie will be in town for the president-elect's big day. Not that we're not drawing any conclusions. We're just saying, ya know.
Tuesday, Jan. 20
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Brightest Young Things crew knows how to throw a party. And it sure seems like the omnipresent bloggers have quite the shindig planned for Inauguration Day. Lots of today's events are scheduled to run from around 9 to 4. And the BYT party fits the bill, since it starts at 9:30. But here's the thing -- it's 9:30 a.m.. That's right, it will be a roughly 16-hour party at Bohemian Caverns. And they're doing it without Sparks! One of the highlights promises to be a performance by the human guest spot, Wale (listen). It seems like this would be the perfect night for Wale to hop around from party to party, dropping a verse here and another there, but this is being promoted as his only performance of the night. So make sure to come correct in your Nike boots. There will be some electro-mayhem courtesy of a pair of New York squads, Team Facelift (listen) and Team Robespierre (listen). Local avant-garde rockers True Womanhood (listen) will also perform. And there will be comedy acts and burlesque acts (apparently the inauguration gets folks in a burlesque mood), a beer pong tournament and that inauguration ceremony thing will even be showing on TVs. The ringleader of the evening will be Tig Notaro, who you might recognize from "The Sarah Silverman Program" (she plays the cop that Sarah thought she was in love with in that one episode) and since Silverman herself will be in town, maybe she'll even stop by. That's pure speculation, but isn't that just par for the course this week? Advance tickets can be purchased here for $20 and are going fast.
If you're looking to avoid the chaos of downtown, celebrate on the cheap and still take advantage of the 4 a.m. last call, Comet Ping Pong may be your best option. The Chevy Chase pizza joint will host a 9:30 club-level bill in its cozy and sounding-better-every-show back room, headlined by Eighteenth Street Lounge recording artist Federico Aubele (listen). The Argentine can do the mellow, singer-songwriter thing, but he enhances his songs with some beats, whether they're the dub or hip-hop variety, and you can expect to hear other sounds from all over the world. Some standbys of the Gypsy Eyes stable -- Vandaveer (listen), Revival (listen) and Brandon Butler (listen) will also perform at the free show.
Afrika Bambaataa (listen) already talked to the Post about Barack Obama's secret service name ("Renegade") being related to one of Bambaataa's early electro-hip-hop anthems, "Renegades of Funk," and you might get to hear it at the appropriately titled Funk 4 Peace Inaugural Ball at Modern tonight. The Bronx-raised DJ, a godfather of the early hip-hop scene, teams with locals Fort Knox Five (listen) .
Wonderland and BloomBars have made their names by providing eclectic, progressive entertainment without charging a cover. Tonight's Wonderball comes with a $69 cover charge, but that includes all you can drink from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., a commemorative T-shirt (selling for $25 on the Web site) and a special copy of the admittedly cool event poster. "Funky eclectic formal attire" is requested, and DC Funk provides the tunes.
It's not advisable to wear a tuxedo or a suit to the People's Inaugural Ball at the Rock and Roll Hotel -- you'll probably sweat right through it. DJs spinning on two floors include Baltimore heavyweights Blaqstarr and Scottie B, plus locals Meistro and Deep Sang of Dirty Bombs, Stereofaith of Feedback and Nacey of Nouveau Riche. Tickets are only $10, and the DJs go from 9 to 2.
Eighteenth Street Lounge is doing its part to tap into the massive influx of musical starpower descending on the city this week. Get ready for 12 hours of funk, breaks, house and international dance grooves tonight for ESL Presents Inauguration 2009. UK broken beat master Daz-I-Kue (listen) brings the jazzy and hard-edged sound of London's future music scene. Daz will share the decks with Nickodemus (listen) of Turntables on Hudson. With Nickodemus, anything is fair game, from Israeli klezmer beats to North African hand drums. Thomas Blondet and DJ DRM also hold down the main room accompanied by acid jazz pioneer Nappy G on percussion. But wait, there's more! King Britt (listen), whose prolific career stretches from abstract hip-hop to deep techno, headlines in the gold room.
--Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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