Wednesday, July 22
Weeknight pool parties just never pull the crowds the weekend events do. Maybe it's the hassle of bringing a swimsuit to work, or that people don't want to get their hair all chlorinated and dried out after a dip if they plan on going out again. Still, we're betting that tonight's "Dive In Movie" at the Capitol Skyline Hotel's large outdoor pool should draw a pretty good crowd. Sixth and I is hosting a screening of "The Big Lebowski," which you can watch while floating in the pool or lounging in a deck chair. The film begins at sundown; arrive early for a "Big Lebowski" costume contest and in-pool bowling. The cover charge -- $10 in advance/$12 at the door -- includes a free White Russian, of course.
Of all the gay clubs that were forced to close to make room for the Nationals stadium, only Ziegfeld's/Secrets has managed to reopen, and it's making the most of its new, expanded location. Tonight is the second installment of the monthly "So You Think You Can Dance?" amateur dance contest, and if you've ever seen the go-go boys at Secrets, you may have guessed that this has very little to do with Fox's "American Idol"-like talent show. Instead, the would-be dancers strut around the stage wearing only undies -- contestants receive a pair of briefs from one of designer Andrew Christian's barely-there lines -- to win a $500 cash prize. Signups begin at 10:30 and the contest starts at 11; nude male "professional" dancers perform before and after the competition.
Thursday, July 23
Scythian (listen) is Washington's most electrifying bar band -- four immensely talented classical musicians who've decided their fiddles were meant to play Irish reels, rebel songs, Pogues covers and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" instead of classical scores. Between songs, they lead packed crowds in drinking games, dance contests and good-natured fun. While Scythian has three studio albums to its credit, none capture the energy of its performances -- which is why the band's new release is a live CD. Every time Scythian plays Fado, there's a Red-Line-in-the-morning-size crush at the bar, and the crowd happily sings along to every word. Catch the album release party tonight; for $15 you can take home the album as a souvenir of your evening.
Have you ever been walking down the street and been drawn in by a band you can observe through a bar's front window? On numerous occasions on U Street or in Adams Morgan, we've often been pulled in by jazz combos headed by guitarist Pete Muldoon or funk bands helmed by keyboardist Will Rast. Both players are often the catalysts for many local talents coming together in novel combinations. Tonight's Phonic Insemination features the two of them joined by Nate Jolley on drums in a Soulive-like organ trio at Dahlak.
Washington's lauded hip-hop edutainer Asheru hosts the opening reception at Flashpoint for M3: MCs, Mics and Metaphors tonight with DJ Munch on the mix. The exhibit brings together artists from varying media and disciplines to capture the aesthetic of the MC. Since this promises a high concentration of Washington's creative set all in one space, we're hoping some actual MCing will jump off.
We're just going to throw this out there: EFN Lounge -- the Shaw nightspot formerly known as BeBar -- now hosts a weekly "Golden Girls"-themed happy hour on Thursdays. From 5 to 9, all drinks are two-for-one, clips of Sophia, Rose, Blanche and Dorothy play on the TVs, and you can answer trivia questions correctly to win prizes. It sounds ... like no other happy hour in D.C., actually.
Even though it still says TBA on the Fort Reno schedule for the first slot of Thursday's show, the bill is still a guaranteed winner. Benjy Ferree is the one of two confirmed acts, and if you haven't fallen in love with his swaggering, glammy live show yet, well, here's yet another chance. Word is that local King of Cool Kid Congo Powers will be joining Ferree for this set. This is the third to last Fort Reno show of the year (and it's the Night of 1,000 Cakes potluck), so you're running out of chances to enjoy the free tunes.
Friday, July 24
Fabolous has had a pretty successful career since he came out of Brooklyn in 2001. Nine of his first 10 singles landed in the top 20 of Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks chart, and four of those made the overall Billboard Top 10 -- most recently 2007's "Make Me Better." Despite his legal troubles -- getting shot outside Diddy's New York nightclub, police twice finding illegal guns in his car and discovering 500 pounds of marijuana on his tour bus (which Fabolous wasn't on at the time) -- his streak continued. Earlier this year, "Throw It in the Bag," the first track from his forthcoming "Loso's Way" album, hit number 10 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. You'll hear that and other tracks from "Loso's Way" at Lux tonight, when Fab hosts an album preview party. The flyers and promoters are boasting that Carmelo Anthony, Clinton Portis, Michael Beasley and "all of their celebrity friends" will be in the house, but we suggest you just worry about getting on the guest list: either print a pass from promoter Taz Wube's site or e-mail your name to S.Jones@DejaDirect.com by 4 p.m. Friday for VIP admission.
Black Cat DJ nights can have a lot of overlap -- oh, look, here comes another '80s electro remix! -- but we guarantee that No Control stands out from the crowd. Where else are you going to hear Minor Threat, Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, D.R.I., the Germs and Crass on a Friday night, let alone jump around and slam dance to them? Punk rockers old and young will get a kick out of hoisting a glass to Agnostic Front -- but be wary of doing so if/when "Straight Edge" comes on. There's no cover for the all-ages event.
Saturday, July 25
Marvin Gaye Park is a charming patch of greenery tucked into an area on the eastern border of the city that's generating a heightened sense of community. The Capital Hip-Hop Soul Fest is a product of that trend, migrating the stars of the U Street urban arts scene across the river and joining them with some of Baltimore's talents. This year's line-up balances established names with a slate of up-and-comers in a setting more accessible than the nightclubs where most of the action usually takes place. Highlights include poetry duo The 5th L, whose cadences overlap storytelling, theater and MCing; and Head-Roc's funk-rock outfit Godisheus.
Get an activity packed dose of hip-hop tonight with freestyle ciphers for MCs, a graffiti art demo and performances from the D.C. rap underground at two venues for the price of one. Liv hosts Graffiti Rhapsody, where artists will create and auction off work on-site before a live band jam session. Take your wristband two blocks down to Expo and get in free to check hip-hop performances from the Fif, DJ Fireman and a slate of artists so varied that organizers dared to call it The Circus.
Feats of strength aren't just for Festivus anymore. The Battle of the Biceps at the Bullpen this afternoon has a triple crown of strongman (and strongwoman) competitions: arm wrestling, fastest-pitch and keg tossing contests. (Only men can enter the keg-tossing, however; "We just thought the ladies would prefer to arm wrestle," said organizer Maggie Pitts.) The contestants who have the best scores in multiple categories will receive trophies and bragging rights. There are still places available for anyone who'd like to participate -- send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a three-to-four sentence bio, your weight and hometown, plus a photo for the Web site.The afternoon features classic rock, '80s hits and Top-40 covers from local band Sick Feed, plenty of drink specials, including $5 frozen margaritas, flip cup tables and corn hole beanbag games. Whether you're showing your guns or not, you're still making a difference: the $10 cover charge benefits Community Lodgings, an Alexandria charity that provides housing to homeless families.
Sunday, July 26 Consider Sunday's indie-pop throwdown at the Black Cat a convenient time-traveling exercise through the genre. Opener Cotton Candy features Mark Robinson -- local hero, founder of seminal Teenbeat Records, member of genre godheads Unrest -- doing his usual catchy thing, this time with more blips and bleeps than guitar. The Ladybug Transistor was a '90s college radio staple, peaking with 1999's "The Albermarle Sound," a lovely amalgamation of '60s-influenced chamber pop. And headliners Crystal Stilts have grabbed the torch and are running with it in a very shambolic fashion, with loads of reverb, of course.
Tuesday, July 28
There's something about July that foments revolution -- The U.S., Argentina and Belgium are among the countries that celebrated their independence days this month. Today, it's Peru's turn, marking 188 years since separation from Spain. Celebrate Peruvian Independence Day with a refreshing pisco sour -- the national drink of Peru -- at a party sponsored by the Peruvian Embassy in Poste's lovely courtyard. (The pisco sour, one of the world's great cocktails, mixes pisco, a liqueur made from fermented grapes, with egg white, simple syrup, bitters and either lemon or lime juice.) Even better: pisco sours are $5 all night. The $5 admission benefits Coprodeli, a Peruvian charity that offers job training and education to disadvantaged families.
The Horse's Ha is one of those bands that you may need to spend a bit of time with, but it's an investment well-worth making. The Chicago group ain't exactly Chickenfoot, but its supergroup pedigree does boast members of bands such as odd, creepy indie rockers the Zincs, twangy Freakwater and spacey Eleventh Dream Day. Each of those bands has a distinctive sound, so it's no surprise the same holds true for the Horse's Ha. The band plays refined, classy, violin-heavy songs that sound like the soundtrack to a movie that takes place in the woods; you get both an inviting and foreboding sense. The Smart Brothers open at Iota.
-- Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson
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