Nightlife Agenda: David Guetta, bar-hopping Santas and Dimitri From Paris
This week, chart-topping DJ David Guetta performs at Fur, Santas go barhopping in Georgetown, "Office Space" fans polish their Bill Lumbergh impressions for a special screening, Rich Medina and Dimitri From Paris visit U Street, Comet Ping-Pong hosts a funky dance-off, the Walkmen perform at the 9:30 Club and the Black Squirrel gets festive with cookie decorating and Great Lakes Christmas Ale.
Wednesday, Dec. 1
Free Energy is doing things the old-fashioned way. Sure, the first five seconds of the band's song "Dream City" is featured in a number of Flip commercials (the dog on a skateboard, the kids shooting hoops from the top of a roller coaster). But the Philadelphia five-piece is mostly gaining fans by zig-zagging across the country. When the big-riff, long-hair rockers hit the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday night, it will be their sixth stop in D.C. in the last 16 months. Some local bands haven't gigged that often. With each trip to the city the band seems tighter musically, looser in their behavior and less like classic rock revivalists and more just a really rad band that likes guitar solos.
Their combined height make them the Olajuwon and Sampson of the DJ world, but Rich Medina's and Stretch Armstrong's bonafides in the music game are as impressive as their physical statures. Medina was at the vanguard of fueling the revival of Afrobeat and goes left with funk, soul and rarities when other DJs play it safe. Armstrong partnered with Bobbito Garcia to create what is widely considered the best hip-hop radio show in history, and he has moved into the dance world to be a major club DJ in his own right. The Twin Towers throw down at U Street Music Hall.
We're spoiled for options when it comes to art and music in this town, so it's easy to forget that creativity happens in spaces where IDs don't get checked at the door and the music is paired with community engagement. BloomBars has been an incubator for the types of events that develop new artists, provide a neighborhood gathering place and encourage activism. Like all altruistic ventures, they need dough, so the Bohemian Caverns complex is hosting the Liv for Bloom benefit featuring a slate of all-star artists, including soul vocalist Ayanna Gregory and singer-songwriter Courtney Dowe.
Thursday, Dec. 2
When she's not stalking local comedy club stages, Hilary Buckholtz runs "I'm Remembering," a Gen-X treasure trove of Punky Brewster video clips, photos of old Coleco arcade games, and tributes to both James Spader and collectable Smurf figurines. But the coolest (and most cringe-inducing) parts of her blog involve reader-submitted photos: Kids rocking vintage She-Ra Halloween costumes, hosting a Cabbage Patch Kids birthday party or proudly holding that He-Man set they just got for Christmas. (You will say "I had one just like that!" out loud several times while reading.) Buckholtz brings "I'm Remembering" to life during "Show and Tell" at the Wonderland Ballroom this week, so expect first-person growing-up tales from Seaton Smith, SM Shrake and other local storytellers, plus vintage Garbage Pail Kids cards and Happy Meal toys, snack time with Fruit Roll Ups and Shark Bites and neat-o '80s trivia questions and music between performances.
David Guetta has the rare honor of being a club-rocking French DJ and dance music producer that people who don't go to megaclubs have actually heard. I don't care if you've never heard of Ibiza and can't name a single Tiesto track -- you've danced to "Sexy Chick," Guetta's collaboration with Akon; the Guetta-produced Black Eyed Peas hit "I Gotta Feeling"; and Kelly Rowland's "When Love Takes Over," which won Guetta a Grammy for best remix. But he's more than a pop producer: DJ Magazine rates him as the world's #2 DJ. Guetta's newest album, "One More Love," dropped this week, and it features Rhihanna, Kid Cudi, Estelle and even a Madonna remix featuring Li' Wayne. He's off on a celebratory tour that includes a stop at Fur. Get tickets in advance, and arrive early. Pleasurekraft will warm the club up, but Guetta's going to make it explode when he takes to the decks around midnight.
We're not sure when "Office Space" became a fetishized movie a la "The Big Lebowski" or "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," but in a town as wonky as Washington, we're not surprised that the tale of an underappreciated cube dweller turned computer-smashing gangster has struck such a nerve. Example A: The Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse's Bi-Annual TPS Report Managers Meeting, an "Office Space" festival that includes trivia and costume contests, a Bill Lumbergh impersonation contest and a prize for the best "O face." (If you don't understand the last line, then you might want to just go ahead and skip to the next item.) Tickets are $12, and doors open at 7. The fun begins at 7:45.
Friday, Dec. 3
The Walkmen have successfully transitioned from indie upstarts to elder statesmen, an impressive feat in a time when bands often have a shelf life of only a few months. The New York-based, D.C.-rooted quintet has never strayed far from its reliable formula over the course of a decade together, playing moody dirges that ebb and flow. Sometimes the songs become wild romps; other times they remain laid-back and languid. The band sounds especially at ease on its new album, "Lisbon," yet another sterling collection in a consistent career. Upstart indie-pop group Tennis opens at the 9:30 Club.
Fritz has a thing for Belgian Christmas beers, but the hottest seasonal beer in Washington this year is the Great Lakes Christmas Ale from Cleveland, Ohio. Every time it's on draft at the Big Hunt, the Black Squirrel or Meridian Pint, it has flown out of the taps. If you haven't tried this spiced amber holiday brew -- rich and sweet with honey, cinnamon and ginger -- then circle Friday on your calendar. The Black Squirrel is hosting a special Great Lakes Christmas Party with Great Lakes Christmas Ale ($6.50 per pint), paired with such holiday desserts as bread pudding and eggnog custard. Meanwhile, upstairs in the loft, there will be a cookie-decorating party, which should get really interesting after a couple of pints. Doors open at 6:30, and Miami of Ohio plays its conference championship game at 7.
It's official: Late-night museum parties are the new '80s prom-themed parties. Looking for a way to get younger people to check out the same-old museum spaces? Open exhibits after work, hire a DJ, bring in a cash bar and hope that some of them come back during daylight hours. The latest museum to jump on the bandwagon is the Newseum, whose first after-house event is All Access, a joint promotion with the cool kids over at Brightest Young Things. The $15 ticket ($20 at the door) includes access to all exhibits, ranging from the Berlin Wall to great Sports Illustrated photography, DJ Autorock spinning party tunes, films, a talk about nuclear disarmament, mistletoe and other surprises. Food and cocktails come from Wolfgang Puck Catering -- he runs the adjacent Source restaurant -- and you'll pay $5 to $7 per drink. You might even learn something before it's done.
If you don't work at the Department of Transportation, you might not have been to Hamilton's, a pleasant two-story pub tucked down Second Street NW. It's nothing fancy but is just the spot for cheap brews and bar food -- burgers, tater tots, pretzels -- and a bunch of TVs. The $1 cans of PBR on Friday are pretty close to legendary. Hamilton's celebrates its fourth anniversary this week with $1 PBRs, $2 Tuaca shots, $3 Grand Marnier shots and $4 drafts all night. The always-reliable DJ Sharkey spins hip-hop and dance beats from 10 to close.
Saturday, Dec. 4
The Santa Stumble is one of our favorite holiday traditions. Revelers dress as Santa, Mrs. Claus, reindeer, elves and the Grinch, then hop between Georgetown bars, spreading holiday cheer and raising money for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Fund. Here's the deal: Meet at the Third Edition between 4 and 7, wearing some sort of seasonal costume. Make an optional donation to charity. At 7:30, the whole crew -- usually numbering in the dozens -- takes off for Rhino Bar, delighting and baffling crowds along Wisconsin and M. At 10, the party heads for Garrett's, where the night wraps up.
If the holiday season fills you with happy Norman Rockwell-esque thoughts of hearth and home, then do yourself a favor and go see the Rockwell exhibit at American Art this weekend. Do not go see Crack at Town. This hilarious, scandalously potty-mouthed variety show returns to Town for BudhaKwanzaRamFestivusXmaHanaSolstice, which promises to make fun of every major winter religious holiday. A combination of skits, songs, interactive games and gratuitious profanity, Crack is not for everyone, but if you're that type of person, you're in for a treat. Tickets are $10 for the Saturday night show, which starts at 10 and is followed by DJ Matt Bailer, and $8 for Sunday's 6 p.m. performance.
The stereotype of Euro dance music is frenetic and hyped, but Dimitri From Paris built his house empire on music fit for champagne, beautiful women and refined tastes. He's known for house, but his roots are in disco and classics. His debut, "Sacrebleu," was a loungey, cafe-on-the-Champs-Élysées affair, but he has also churned out dancefloor stompers for Salsoul and Yellow Productions. Dimitri's "Playboy Mansion" mix compilations are perfectly curated to serve as the soundtrack of the night that goes from prelude to all-out party to dénouement. The man who introduced house music plays at U Street Music Hall.
If you like it gloomy then there's no better place to be on Saturday than the Velvet Lounge. Brooklyn's Xeno and Oaklander will be making their D.C. debut, bringing some dark synth sounds with them. In the very underground cold wave scene, they are about as big as it gets. Which is to say you can see them at the Velvet Lounge. You can also see local synthgazers Screen Vinyl Image, who are always good for eardrum shattering mania. Downstairs is one of our favorite DJ nights, the hot, sweaty, old-school soul party Big Bad City. That should make for an interesting contrast.
The opposite of cold wave is probably whatever will go down at Comet Ping Pong when DJ Jonathan Toubin brings his Soul Clap and Dance-Off to town. The premise is simple: Toubin plays rare soul 45s and people dance. But it's a dance-off, not just a dance. So everyone gets in a circle and the brave ones -- or perhaps the drunk ones or the ones who just want to win the $100 prize -- show their best moves for a panel of judges, which includes Kid Congo Powers and Will Eastman. The MC is Ian Svenonious, which should make it even more of a party.
Sunday, Dec. 5
Think you know D.C. -- the bars, the bands, the culture? Prove it. The Going Out Gurus are hosting trivia night at Bedrock Billiards, throwing down five rounds of 10 questions each. The smarty-pantses in the room take home bragging rights, a $50 bar tab, DVDs and other prizes. The rules: Teams should be five people or less. No smartphones/cell phones/Internet access during the game. The first questions will be read about 8, so get there early and pick a great team name -- there will be a prize for that, too.
Jazz musicians have to hustle pretty hard to make a living. They often juggle music instruction, private events and club gigs. So when do they find time to really get in the wood shed, sharpen their skills and expand the vocabulary of their playing? During bop's genesis in the '40s and '50s, the leading jazz players of the day would move on to after-hours spots once their club gigs were over and jam out until the squares were rising for breakfast. The DC Jazz Loft aims to recreate that environment where musicians push each other's creativity. This installment at the
Red Lounge Red Door features players from D.C.'s free, straight-ahead and avant garde jazz communities including Matta Gawa and the Bobby Muncy Quintet. Performances start at 7 p.m.; after 11, all musicians -- including those in the audience -- are invited up to jam.
Sometimes you want to get grimy and intense to some dancehall; other times you may be moved by roots and culture to meditate on the struggles of the world. But for romancing, Lovers Rock is the reggae lane of choice. Get your fill of classic amorous jams from the likes of Sugar Minott and Louisa Mark as DJ IAM kicks off the weekly Lovers Rock Night at Patty Boom Boom.
Monday, Dec. 6
With Hanukkah underway, EntryPoint DC -- the Jewish Community Center's group for people in their 20s and 30s -- is hosting a pub-crawling Hannukah Happy Hour on the Hill at the Pour House and Hawk and Dove. You don't need to be a member to join hundreds of Jews from all over the D.C. area for discounted food and drinks and a couple of hours of socializing, but you do need to pay a $5 cover.
Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
| November 30, 2010; 5:31 PM ET
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