This busy week features multiple Capital Pride parties, new pool parties, a concert by underground soul sensation (and one-time Arrested Development singer) Dionne Farris, a tasting of cult BrewDog beers from Scotland, an arty warehouse celebration that runs the gamut from live music to breakdancers to a graffiti-painting robot, a return performance by D.C.'s one-time "American Idol" Sy Smith, World Cup viewing parties and a rare show by hometown psychedelic stoner rockers Dead Meadow.
And that's not even including our very own baseball-themed Going Out Guide happy hour.
Wednesday, June 9
Inventive Scottish brewers BrewDog gained notoriety with beer geeks for a pair of absurdly strong beers called Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismarck!, which clock in at 32 and 41 percent alcohol respectively and are closer to a fine port than your average ale. (They also created Nanny State, a hoppy 1.1-percent alcohol brew, to deal with the potential backlash.) All this hype can get in the way of the facts: BrewDog makes some very good (and very hoppy) beers, including the malty Punk IPA, whisky-aged Paradox Stout and the lighter Trashy Blonde. They can be hard to find around D.C., but that won't be the case on June 9,
10, when ChurchKey hosts a BrewDog tasting with brewery founder James Watt. There will be ten beers available for purchase, including three different cask-conditioned versions of Paradox aged in Smokehead, Isle of Arran and Springbank whisky barrels. On draft, choose from Bashah, Punk IPA, Dogma, Devine Rebel, Tokio, 5AM Saint or Zeitgeist. Expect to pay $7-$10 for a full serving of most of the drafts (or $4 for a four-ounce taste), or $11 a glass and $5.50 for a taste of any of the casks
It was 35 years ago that the Capital Pride Festival premiered in Washington, and what started as a Dupont block party has turned into a 10-day gathering with a gigantic parade, club events, seminars and a street party on Pennsylvania Avenue. Celebrate Pride's growth at a 35th anniversary party at Donovan House that moves between the ground floor Zentan restaurant and the rooftop deck and pool. Expect DJs, speakers and the Potomac Fever a cappella group to set the mood between 6:30 and 11 p.m. A $10 to $20 donation to Capital Pride is requested at the door.
The relationship that many soul fans have with Dionne Farris is akin to a whirlwind love affair - one that ends abruptly, leaving you reliving the moments that swept your breath away. In Farris's case, those moments would be her work with Atlanta hip-hop group Arrested Development, her 1995 album "Wild Seed, Wild Flower" and the song "Hopeless," a breezy lament from the soundtrack to the 1997 film "Love Jones." Farris was bending genres in modern black music when artists like Me'Shell Ndegeocello seemed to be making a way for a new R&B. While fans instantly tuned in to Farris's mix of blues, folk rock, jazz and soul, the music business wanted her to fit in a neat box. So, she took some time off and focused on family before quietly creeping back onto the scene with indie releases in 2007 and 2008. With another album dropping this year, it seems like she's ready to reunite with all of her devotees who never stopped carrying a torch. Catch up at Liv, the dance club above Bohemian Caverns.
She's made a name for herself in L.A., made a bit of coin on American Idol and shared stages with Chris Botti and Whitney Houston but Sy Smith will always be a hometown D.C. girl. This Howard University graduate wows audiences with jazz, R&B and soul and sometimes references her roots with a bit of go-go. You've got two chances to catch her at Blues Alley before she heads back west.
A visit from husband/wife duo Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby is becoming an annual event, and it's worth marking as a minor holiday. Eric will forever be known for his hit "Whole Wide World" and Rigby's claim to fame is her 1996 album "The Diary of a Mod Housewife," but both have discographies overflowing with sharp, smart songs. Since getting married a few years ago they've teamed up for two albums of fuzzy, homespun garage-pop and on their most recent effort they don't even showcase their immense songwriting talent. Instead they offer up inspired covers of the likes of Abba and Jackie DeShannon, taking cheery songs and turning them into appealing, world-weary dirges. The past two shows have featured plenty of old favorites in addition to the new material, along with some great stories from their respective careers. It'll be like the best never-aired episode of "VH1 Storytellers" ever, at the Black Cat.
Eyebar is dead, long live Eden. The rebranded two-story club shows off its new look and new rooftop deck tonight at a special party hosted by -- who else? -- the Backstreet Boys. (No, seriously. The "I Want it That Way" Backstreet Boys.) Catch local hip-hop hero Dirty Hands on the roof, and DJ Chris spinning Latin beats. Admission is free, with an open bar for women between 10 and 11, though you'll have to pay $20 if you want to get into the VIP area where Backstreet will be hanging out. Get those tickets here, or arrive early to guarantee that you make it past the crowds.
Thursday, June 10
The second Thursday of the month means Going Out Guide Happy Hour, and this month, we're
cashing in on enjoying Strasburg mania by taking you out to the ballgame. Between 5 and 7, we'll be at the Bullpen, directly across from the center field gates of Nationals Park. We'll have our own private area, so join us for free hot dogs and peanuts, $4 drinks, and umpteen free games of Corn Hole (go on, challenge Steph). We'll raffle off two pairs of tickets for the grand finale of the DC Jazz Festival and a $50 gift certificate to Jetties. And then at 7 p.m., we'll walk across the street and watch the Nats take on David's favorite team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Hint: Fritz will most likely wind up buying cheap $5 grandstand seats and then watching the action from the comfort of the Red Loft bar, which is the most economical way to enjoy the game.)
Fact: There are more to Cuban cocktails than the overplayed mojito and your grandpa's Cuba Libre, which you may know as rum-and-Coke. And when the weather is as wet and muggy as it has been recently, it's the perfect time to start looking for a new favorite tropical drink. There's a good chance you'll find one at Mie N Yu during a seminar called "When It's Cocktail Time in Cuba," hosted by award-winning mixologist Charlotte Voisey and the Museum of the American Cocktail. You'll learn how to make classic rum drinks from the '20s, when Americans escaped Prohibition by carousing in Havana, as well as new cocktails with modern twists. Bonus: You'll never again be that guy who orders a mojito and gets a death stare from a bartender. Tickets include samples of the cocktails, stories about the good old pre-Castro days, and hors d'oeuvres.
The hip-hop community has expended a lot of head-nod energy over the years rocking to Nick Tha 1da's beat creations and DJ sets at Lounge of Three. Just last month audiences were introduced to the DJ/producer's wonder twin Paige Hernandez as the siblings combined for Paige In Full at Flashpoint. With Nick providing the live soundtrack, Hernandez dances and flows through an hour-long hip-hop inspired autobiography. The pair are reprising the show at solSpace as part of the Can A Sista Rock A Mic festival.
Back in the day, Kingpin was known for its anything-goes-as-long-as-it's-good music policy: '90s hip-hop, '60s reggae, '70s funk, a smattering of go-go. Flash back to those carefree times when DJ Neville C, who used to rock the platters at Kingpin, gets in the DJ booth at Dodge City, the awesome new lounge and bar that has replaced Kingpin next to the Velvet Lounge. (Read Fritz's take on the bar's beer selection.) Get the Hell Out of Dodge is free and starts at 10. Dancing is encouraged.
Friday, June 11
Looking for something different and underground this weekend? If you're hip, like beer, love good flamenco/jazz/soul/house music, think breakdancers are cool, use Facebook, dig video art, want to see a robot do graffiti or learn to walk on stilts -- you need to head to the Long View Gallery for the grand opening party of Digital Capital Week, a ten-day festival of technology taking place across D.C. Here's what the opening has on tap:
1. Free beer from Silver Spring's Hook and Ladder Brewery and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
2. DJ Harry Hotter of the Beacon's Rooftop parties, avant-electronica duo BlueBrain and Paradise Movement spinning dance music with live percussion in two different rooms.
3. Live music from Kolai, Deborah Bond, flamenco guitarist Michael Perez and jazz singer Lulu Fall.
4. Photographers providing props and costumes and taking pictures you can use for your spiffy new Facebook profile.
5. A curated exhibition of nine video artists.
6. A demonstration of a robot that can spray graffiti.
7. Stilt-walking lessons.
8 A performance by Melissa Krodman, one of the choreographers behind the recent "Tactile Dinner" show.
The $20 ticket covers everything (including beer until it runs out) and is available from dcwopening-plp.eventbrite.com.
In what looks like the guiltiest pleasure of the week, the guys behind True Genius Requires Insanity and Educatorz.com are hosting "Friends: A Celebration of 50 Years of Teen Pop" at Wonderland. DJs Cold Case and TMY are promising David Cassidy, Elvis, Miley Cyrus, New Kids on the Block, the Jackson Five, Tiffany, Britney and all kinds of other cheesy goodness. You will dance. You will sing along. You will swear it's ironic. (It isn't.) You'll make eyes at some cute guy or girl. And best of all, the party is free. The needle drops at 10.
Most house divas provide the lungs and pipes to fuel dancefloor stompers with unforgettable vocal performances. While Ultra Naté has sung on a string of dance hits, she's also a house diva who commands the turntables. She holds court on the decks in her native Baltimore at her legendary Sugar parties and she's bringing some of that natural sweetener to U Street Music Hall. Codebreaker and Keenan Orr will warm up the room for the queen.
World Cup fever is hitting every segment of society. Even the dress-to-impress Shadow Room is getting into the spirit, dropping its usual strict dress code for a World Cup Kickoff Party, offering a free drink ticket to anyone who shows up before 11 wearing their favorite team's jersey. (Keep the rest of your outfit classy, though.) D.C. United's Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius are the hosts for the evening, and four national team jerseys will be raffled off throughout the night. Get on the guest list through www.shadowroom.com.
Saturday, June 12
Saturday is the busiest night of the Capital Pride Festival, thanks to the annual parade, which snakes through Dupont and Logan Circle neighborhoods beginning at 6:30. Once it's over, there are numerous official and unofficial after-parties around town, plus the usual barhopping on 17th Street NW. But of all the options, we're most jazzed about the "Homo Erectus - The Evolution of Pride" closing party at the Washington Hilton. The evolution of this 18-and-older party is no mystery: Take DJs from the city's hottest indie/alternative/electro gay and lesbian dance parties, and put them in a multi-ballroom hotel setting with a Teenage Caveman theme. Selectors for the evening include Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer of the fabulous Kylie-meets-the-Ramones Mixtape party, Junebullet of the rockin' She.Rex all-women night, DJ Majr of Cobalt's monthly Shift event, Ca$$idy from the electro-sleazy Garutachi, Natty Boom of the dance floor-friendly Anthology of Booty, DJ Rad from Wonderland's all-over-the-map Pink Sock, Miss Lesbanannie . . . and the list goes on. Put on your Captain Caveman costume and get down in the jungle-themed room, hot and heavy in the stalagmite-filled Bedrock Cave and prehistoric with a six-foot T. Rex-shaped ice luge. So much fun that the hotel is offering $99 rooms to help you sleep it off. Tickets are $25 in advance and more at the door, so get a move on.
But the Hilton party isn't the only game in town. The biggest dance party around is Blowoff, Bob Mould and Richard Morel's mammoth throwdown at the 9:30 Club, which finds the duo spinning electro, house, indie and funky techno remixes while the (frequently shirtless) crowd dances nonstop. Mould and Morel are at the top of their game behind the decks, but expect the vibe at the annual Pride party to be more electric than usual. Doors open at 11:30 and there's a $12 cover.
DJ-fueled pool parties are still positioned as D.C.'s favorite summer gatherings, with new events joining the existing Spike'd Sundays, Adult Swim and Donovan House. Liquid Lounge picks up where the Brightest Young Things party left off at the Capitol Skyline hotel every Saturday, with DJs spinning house music, live musicians, $5 beers and special cocktails, and plenty of room next to the huge pool to soak up some rays. This week's guest selector is Sam "The Man" Burns, one of D.C.'s leading soulful house DJs. Admission is $15, and the party runs from 2 to 9 p.m.
The new kid on the block is Swim Meet, atop the Embassy Row Hilton. The split-level rooftop deck offers great views of D.C., Rock Creek Park and Virginia, a bar, grill and plenty of room to stretch out, which pretty much balances out the small-ish pool. Today's kickoff party, sponsored by local streetwear line Durkl, features DJs Chris Burns and Stranger Than Paradise, free lunch between 1 and 2, and $4 beers. The World Cup will be on a projection screen when you want to take a break from the pool. Admission to the 18-and-over soiree is $10, or free before 2. The beats go until 9 p.m.
Hey, speaking of the World Cup ... though the games take place in the morning and afternoon, there are a couple of bar events you should pay attention to. Naturally, we're all focused on the 2:30 p.m. U.S. vs. England match, as are many of the bars around town. (Check back on Thursday for Fritz's big roundup of what various bars are doing for the tournament.) British gastropub Againn is hosting "Bangers vs. Burgers," with your choice of English bangers and mash or a U.S.-style burger and fries served with a beer shandy for $15. (Note that your choice of bangers or a burger counts as a vote for England or the U.S. in a ballot to see which country is better supported.)
In Arlington, Mister Days is teaming up with D.C. United to host a viewing party that benefits United for D.C., the team's non-profit charity organization. Donate $10 at the door and you'll get food and drink specials from 10 a.m. until the final whistle, plus be entered into a raffle for game tickets and other prizes.
Sunday, June 13
Warpaint plays at DC9 on Sunday. This band will be playing at venues much, much larger than DC9 very, very soon. We're giving you the Nightlife Agenda guarantee. The all-female, L.A.-based quartet scored a record deal with big indie label Rough Trade last fall and is putting the finishing touches on its full-length debut, which should be out this summer. The band plays dreamy, slow-moving songs with breathy vocals, bringing to mind bands such as Cat Power and Mazzy Star. When Warpaint is at its best, it succeeds like those influences in drawing listeners into its own hazy world. This is your chance to see them before things get big.
Lady Miss Kier is glamour, fun, camp and exotica wrapped in a statuesque, glittery package. Her aesthetic was shaped by the club kid era of Manhattan in the '80s, where partying was not just an activity but a performance of its own. She's best known as the voice and front-woman of Deee-Lite. She still contributes vocals to a few projects and rocks shows but these days you'll often find her wild costumes and wigs in the dj booth. Lady Miss Kier spins at U Street Music Hall for the Alt.DC.Pride closing party.
Monday, June 14
Few bands are harder to pin down than Pocahaunted. The Los Angeles group has issued more than two dozen releases over the past three years - limited edition cassettes, seven-inch discs, CD-Rs, the occasional full-length LP - has experienced a handful of lineup changes and has seen its sound undergo plenty of stylistic shifts, with hazy psychedelic jams being the closest thing to a constant. Recently the group has stabilized a bit. Hints of funk have always been present, but now they come to the forefront, creating an intriguing mix with the group's hypnotic, chanted female vocals. The band has never sounded better, so this show at DC9 is a good time to catch it, because who knows what phase will come next.
Tuesday, June 15
Dead Meadow has been melting faces with its psychedelic stoner rock for more than a decade. The trio has finally unleashed a live album, "Three Kings," which is mostly a showcase for the mesmerizing guitar madness of Jason Simon. It's always been the best way to appreciate the band, and since the band formed in D.C. there was hardly ever a shortage of opportunities to see them. Those chances have become scarcer over the past few years, and with Miami garage-pop standouts Jacuzzi Boys handling opening duties at the Black Cat, this is a show to catch.
Music production has moved away from the tactile into the realm of clicking, dragging, and manipulating pixels on a screen to make sounds. Some die-hards doggedly stick to their drum machines and samplers. In hip-hop, some of these machines are legendary and responsible for some of the biggest hits in the hip-hop canon. Many of D.C.'s subterranean trackmakers are still banging away on them in search of the perfect beat. Sample a whole buffet of beats at Bohemian Caverns during Attack of the Beat Machines, where local producers will be rocking their creations soundclash-style to determine who knocks the hardest.
Here's a not-so-secret about U Street Music Hall. The weekends are fun, but the weeknights are really the time to be there. Friday and Saturday nights you are greeted with long lines to get in, long lines at the bar and a packed dance floor that isn't always being used for dancing. But in the middle of the week, things are a little more low-key and that also seems to be when the top international talent comes through town. Last month Michael Mayer spun a great set on a Tuesday night and this Tuesday another German DJ standout, Pantha Du Prince, will be in town. His new album "Black Noise" isn't exactly filled with dance-floor anthems but it is filled with sparkling, elegant sounds and gently pulsing beats. We know that U-Hall's sound system can handle the boomiest, bassiest beats - now it will get a chance to show it can handle something more subtle.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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