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Posted at 6:54 PM ET, 06/ 9/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Amanda Blank opens for Santigold at a sold-out 9:30 club concert Wednesday, then plays an 18-and-over after-party at DC9 the same night. How cool is that? (Courtesy of Blacksmith Management)

Capital Pride is in full swing with RuPaul and a late-night party at the Hirshhorn, but we've got a packed week of other events, too -- happy hours for charity, cool art openings, Bob Dylan on the big screen, crazy L.A. punks Mika Miko, a chance to hear of one of the world's top electronic DJs for free, gambling with rugby players and much, much more.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Wednesday, June 10
Happy hour never seems to last long enough. Just as you start to enjoy the drink specials and the company of your friends, you look at the clock and notice there's 12 minutes left. Well, what if happy hour ran from 5 to 10 -- and you got to help children with AIDS? That would be pretty ace, and it's a reality tonight at the BourbON Happy Hour at the Glover Park branch of Bourbon. A $5 donation to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation lets you stretch drink specials for three extra hours -- that means $3 draft beers and $4 rail drinks and selected bourbons -- and lets you enter a raffle for restaurant gift cards, beauty products and other prizes.

When you think of "summer movies" you think of big blockbusters. Explosions, hunks, babes, car chases, robots, spaceships, aliens, etc. You probably don't think -- documentaries! But we roll a little differently here in D.C. Silverdocs drops anchor here each summer, and you better believe that most of the entries there will be more worth your time than "Land of the Lost" or some movie with John Travolta in it. And the newest summer movie series -- NoMa Summer Screen -- is also getting into the documentary swing of things. Rock docs, in particular. The series kicks off in fine fashion today with "No Direction Home," which chronicles Bob Dylan's career in the 1960s, which was only the most creative/genius period of anyone ever. Hyperbole? Nah. Seriously, if mankind beats the odds and this planet still supports life in 500 years, the kids in school will be studying Dylan like they do Shakespeare. Not to mention the documentary was directed by Martin Scorsese and the reclusive Dylan even sat down for interviews. So bring a blanket and hope the rain holds off.

Amanda Blank (listen) has some pretty sweet connections for someone who has yet to put out a record of her own. She's part of Philly's Spank Rock posse, so she appears on cuts with Diplo, pals around with M.I.A. and even scored a spot opening for electro-new-wave buzz singer Santigold on her latest headlining tour, which stops at the 9:30 club for a sold-out show on Wednesday night. So though Blank opens the night at the 9:30, she's doing double duty by performing down the block at DC9 at the concert's official afterparty, which also features local DJs Lil 'El and Manulita. This is a much more intimate space, and it's also a rare 18-and-over show to capitalize on the 9:30's all-ages crowd. Admission is $10.

Dark Meat (listen) is spectacle rock at its finest. Imagine a dozen or so drugged-out, Captain Beefheart-loving hippies invading a children's birthday party and you have a rough idea of what it's like to see the Athens, Ga., group. There is churning psych rock madness, enhanced by a full horn section of bleary-eyed weirdos skronkily bleating their lungs out. There will be all varieties of party favors launched from the stage -- streamers, balloons, confetti. The last time the band played at the Red & the Black, a leafblower was prominently involved. The music can't help but be somewhat of an afterthought, but there's a reason the show isn't at Palace of Wonders. Being able to see a band with more than a dozen members play in a room that only comfortably holds a few dozen people is a rare opportunity. This much is certain -- you won't see anything else like it for a long while.

Only two more work days until the weekend, and if you can't wait for Friday happy hour to blow off steam, Eyebar's offering a summer special that includes open bar for women from 10 to 11 and cheap drinks for everyone from 10 to midnight. (Think $2 shots, $3 Coronas and $5 mixed drinks for starters.) DJ Geometrix (hip-hop) and DJ Chris (Latin) spin dance music on two floors. But the real reason we like this party is it's a spur-of-the-moment kind of deal -- there's no need to RSVP on a Web site, print out a Web page or send an e-mail to get on a list or any of that. Just show up, dress nicely and be at least 21. That's it.

Thursday, June 11
As documented in the June Mixtape, Thursday is one of the busiest days in recent memory when it comes to live music. There are nearly a dozen solid options, but for pure fun it will be hard to beat L.A. punks Mika Miko (listen) at Comet Ping Pong. The group plays slapdash, funky, fierce punk rock. Straight up. Nothing experimental or intellectual or fancy. Punk rock. The good stuff. Rarely will a song eclipse the two-minute mark, and once it ends, another blast of energy immediately follows. Singer Jennifer Clavin doesn't use a proper microphone; she does her shouting through a modified telephone while pogoing across the stage. (Well, in this case of Comet, the "stage.") And be sure, there will be plenty of shouting. "I don't like your widow's peak!" "I want a turkey sandwich!" You know, things us normal folk can relate to. Strange Boys (listen), who play excellent ramshackle, sock-hop garage-pop of their own, make this a can't miss twin bill. Unless, you know, you're seeing one of the other 39 shows in town.

Lee Burridge (listen) is a delight for lovers of dance music and a challenge for critics. On mix CDs and during his live sets, Burridge wanders from deep house to techno, dropping in breakbeats, funky beats and whatever else he thinks will keep the crowd moving. (The man really knows how to keep the audience in the palm of his hand.) He can't be pigeonholed, and that's why we love to steer people to his annual D.C. visits. Tonight at Muse Lounge's weekly Electric Caberet is a remarkable deal: RSVP on Facebook and you can see Burridge for free if you're at least 21 and arrive by midnight. (Don't use this "free until midnight" promise as an excuse to slack, though -- there's an open bar from 10 to 11.) Those under 21 are also invited to attend, but they'll have to pay $10, as will the grown folks who arrive after 12:01.

The monthly Hipster Overkill party at Steve's Bar Room is one of our favorite throwdowns in D.C. -- listen to DJ Tru and Dimitris George's new mix to get a taste -- and since we hate waiting 30 days for a fix, we're glad that the duo is debuting a new weekly event at Policy called Stimulus. Expect a fun, fashionable blend of electro, Top 40 remixes, Baltimore Club and other aural goodies, and we assume the trendier-than-thou crowd will show up in droves. (Don't let crowd bias put you off, though -- you'll be fighting for space to dance.) Doors open at 9 and there's no cover, so try to arrive before midnight to dodge the capacity bullet. Dress code: "Bright Colors + Sunglasses."

Friday, June 12
Over the last few years, Washington audiences have gotten used to the edgy new school of side show acts -- strip tease, sword swallowing, guys having concrete blocks broken over their chests with sledgehammers -- without really getting a taste of vaudeville, the turn-of-the-century acts like comedians, ventriloquists, magicians that so amused your great-grandparents. But that's changing in New York, where groups like Vaudeville Nouveau are reincarnating the genre. It's about entertaining as much as shocking -- they have jugglers and escape artists alongside the dancers. Vaudeville Nouveau is on the road and making a stop at the Palace of Wonders tonight (where else?) and if you think you've seen enough of the old sideshow standbys, you might want to head out to H Street and get a glimpse of something new -- er, we mean, something old. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 10.

Bill Callahan has been making thought-provoking, head-scratching and awe-inspiring music for nearly two decades. When he used to go by the Smog moniker, he wrote a song called "Cold Blooded Old Times" that has a lyric about "cold-blooded clarity." That's a good way to describe his musical vision, too. He doesn't mince words. He tells it like it is, using his distinctive, deadpan drawl. He's recorded for seminal label Drag City for his entire career, and he often gets overlooked, at least when compared to fellow troubadour-types Will Oldham (Bonnie "Prince" Billy) and David Berman (Silver Jews). But Callahan's brand of bittersweet folk is just as appealing. His new album, "Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle," is more of the plainspoken majesty that we've come to expect. Catch him at the Black Cat.

Town is getting ready for Capital Pride's final weekend, with DJs, a drag show and the legendary Ru Paul performing live.

Only two weeks until the annual D.C. Caribbean Carnival, so the Crossroads is starting the Countdown to Carnival tonight with DJs spinning island hits, live music from Peter Humphrey and the Oasis Band and giveaways of the new Soca Gold 2009 compilation CD, which features percolating, pan-filled party hits from across the Caribbean, with contributions from award-winning singers like Trinidad's Bunji Garlin and Barbados's Edwin Yearwood. That's the type of music you'll be hearing all night; arrive early for a happy hour with two-for-one drinks and a free Caribbean buffet from 4 to 8.

Need a touchup before the weekend begins? EFN Lounge, which recently replaced BeBar on 9th Street, is hosting Martini and Manicure Night at happy hour today, with professional manicurists helping to raise money for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN. From 5 to 9, a manicure and martini combo costs $15, champagne cocktails are $3, and top-shelf drinks are two-for-one. Ten percent of all sales go to charity.

Saturday, June 13
As one half of New York's famed Turntables on the Hudson dance party crew, Nicodemus's globe-traveling club sets and remixes are like a babel fish of beats, translating everything from samba rhythms to klezmer to North African drums into one unified groove language. A very kinetic DJ, he's also one to watch in the booth; you'll see him bouncing in rhythm and literally dancing on the decks. Nicodemus (listen) is the featured guest at Eighteenth Street Lounge tonight.

Aniekan Udofia is the face of the D.C. art movement that mixes political themes with a hip-hop aesthetic. From murals around town to his live improvised painting at musical events, Udofia is as much a fixture in the urban arts scene as the DJs, vocalists, producers and musicians. As part of the Words, Beats and Life's Remixing the Art of Social Change teach-in, Udofia was commissioned to craft a completely new series of pieces. His Sickness 3 show opens at Dissident Display tonight with DJ 2-Tone Jones providing the beats and atmosphere.

Saturday is the biggest night of Capital Pride: the annual parade goes through Dupont and Logan circles, and the parties start almost immediately afterwards at places like Cobalt, JR's and Gazuza, where there's an all-night party for women hosted by A Different Kind of Ladies Night with sushi and drink specials. The fun thing is that there's pretty much a party for every taste.At the Hirshhorn, DJs Darryl Strickland, Will Eastman and Michael Adolphson will have the museum's outdoor courtyard and sculpture garden grooving until 2 a.m. for Pride After Dark -- The Last Dance. And for those who prefer their music without divas and thumping bass, there's the special Pride version of Mousetrap, with DJs Zach and Michael of the Black Cat's Homo/Sonic joining longtime DJ Mark Zimin for a night of Britpop and indie dance tunes. (Click here for a longer list of Pride events.)

Rugby players may look big and imposing -- after all, they take football-style hits without the pads -- but underneath, a lot of them are pretty nice guys. (Hang out at Solly's long enough and you'll get to meet a bunch.) Here's exhibit A: Every year, the Washington Irish Rugby team hosts a casino night and gives a portion of the proceeds to charity. From 7 to midnight at the Katzen Arts Center, you can play blackjack, roulette and craps to win fake cash, which can then be traded in for raffle tickets. (Prizes include vacations, a flat-screen TV, gift cards for local restaurants and classy bottles of booze.) There's an open bar, of course, free food and live Irish music. This year's beneficiaries are the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund and So Others Might Eat. Tickets are $65 in advance from or $70 at the door.

Sunday, June 14
Jonathan Richman (listen) is known mostly for two things -- fronting proto-punk godfathers the Modern Lovers and serving as the goofy Greek chorus in "There's Something About Mary." Those are certainly two impressive highlights of his resume, but it does shortchange what has been a unique and impressive career. Sure, "Roadrunner" will always be a classic, but Richman left his punk roots before punk even went big. By the late-'70s he was already into his career as a charming singer-songwriter-storyteller, the kind of performer who could get by on sheer likability even if he didn't pen clever and catchy tunes. He'll play nylon string guitar, do some herky-jerky dance moves, sing songs like "Here Come the Martian Martians" and "I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar." And you'll leave the 9:30 club with a smile on your face.

He had a unibrow. He rocked tight acid wash jeans with strategically placed rips, sometimes completing the ensemble with a matching jean jacket. But Al B. Sure's fashion choices, along with his nasal falsetto, were more than enough to drive the ladies wild 20 years ago when the new jack swing sound ruled clubs, airwaves and tape decks. The hits were serious. Of course there's "Rescue Me" and the slow jam classic "Nite And Day," but what do y'all know about that "If I'm Not Your Lover" remix with Slick Rick? Exactly. Al B. Sure is opening a new chapter as an artist, attempting to bring his sound out of nostalgia into the modern age with a new album on Hidden Beach Records (listen) and he'll be "in effect mode" with the Daylight crew this evening meeting fans and signing autographs.

-- Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson

By Fritz Hahn  | June 9, 2009; 6:54 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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Psst... Nickodemus spells his name with a K.

Posted by: textdoc | June 10, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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