Is anything the same post-Nixon? Not really. But singer Barbara Foster was one of the first to put such sentiment to words and tunes when she released her song “San Clemente’s Not The Same (Mr. Nixon, You’re To Blame),” in 1969, bemoaning the effect of President Richard Nixon’s taking up part-time residence in the picturesque California beach town.
The song, which plays over the credits of the Penny Lane documentary “Our Nixon,” is all the more fun because it turns the knife with a smile. “You made our town your summer home/Crowned it with the Capitol Dome/Took a step out on the beach/Now Cotton’s Point is out of reach,” Foster sings, a familiar complaint for anyone whose access to previously public areas has been limited by a presidential detail.
This Saturday, Aug. 9, marks the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation, after which Roll Call After Dark will scale back the Nixon obsession. Until then, hum a few bars!
The art of the mix-tape lives, particularly when it’s so useful in wishing a fond fare-the-well to outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Brother blog Heard on the Hill compiled a Spotify list that could be used as a substitute soundtrack for the tribute video Republicans prepared for Cantor. We present the play list here as our tunes of the week, with our personal favorites coming from two disparate films: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “The Sound of Music.”
Portugese renditions of David Bowie, Ennio Morricone, Sven Libaek — the soundtrack of Wes Anderson’s 2004 film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” has its own unique vibe.
Some of the most memorable scenes in the film feature music that didn’t make it onto the 20-song, one-hour album, including the Sigur Ros wonder Staralfur.
If you want to hear some of the soundtrack, as well as its Icelandic outtakes, you could always head over to the Union Market drive-in movie summer session this Friday, which will feature “Life Aquatic” and all its Anderson- and Bill Murray-ness.
“Come on out tonight,” could be the unofficial motto for good-timing Memphis band Lucero, a band dedicated equally to touring and defying easy classification. Country? Sure. Punk? Why not. Roadhouse? Yeah.
You can fulfill their request — words from the “Downtown” track of their “Women & Work” album — a couple of different ways this weekend. On Saturday, Lucero plays at Saturday’s Summer Sessions at Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Md. General admission is $25. If you can’t make that, head over to Dewey Beach, Del., where they’ll be playing at the Bottle & Cork on Sunday.
Notice a theme in the venues? That’s right, my friend — fermented spirits!
Alas, Kinky Friedman won’t be the next agriculture commissioner from the great state of Texas, having lost the Democratic primary runoff last month. But that just frees up the troubadour/mystery novelist/humorist/friend to unwanted dogs for Wednesday night’s Washington Jewish Music Festival gig at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, where the Kinkster will, between ditties, likely talk about marijuana.
Friedman said he made the agriculture commissioner race a “non-binding referendum on lifting the prohibition on pot and hemp,” a stance that dovetails with his Seeds of Change tour. Even though he lost his runoff to Democrat Jim Hogan, 54 percent to 46 percent, he doesn’t think the issue of marijuana and hemp legalization is going away.
“I think the children of the world look to Texas. Y’know, they don’t care if Nebraska legalizes or Massachusetts legalizes. But if Texas does, that would, I think, effectively end the war on drugs and we might stop making criminals out of people who aren’t really criminals. So it’s up to Texans to decide: Do they want to be seceders or do they want to be leaders?” Full story
Any music festival that kicks things off with brunch is A-OK with Roll Call After Dark.
While hip-hop/reggae/rock star Matisyahu officially kicks things off on Sunday evening for the 15th annual Washington Jewish Music Festival, it’s always good to go into these things with a full belly, so festival organizers have made sure the Alexandria Kleztet gets things underway right and proper earlier in the day at the D.C. Jewish Community Center at 1529 16th Street NW.
The Klezmer Brunch starts at 10:30 a.m. and costs $10 for the concert and $30 for the concert and kosher brunch. Matisyahu goes on at Lisner Auditorium at 730 21st Street NW at 7 p.m. for his acoustic concert. Thirty bucks for general admission, $25 for DCJCC members, students or seniors and $24 for George Washington University students. If you want the VIP treatment, it’ll cost you $50.
Full festival passes, from Klezmer Brunch to headliner Kinky Friedman’s June 11 concert (more on that to come) run $100. More information, including a full lineup for the June 1 to June 14 festival, as well as ticket information, is available at wjmf.org.
Happy “Sixth and I Day,” Washington! To celebrate 10 years since the synagogue at 600 I St. NW was re-dedicated as the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, not just as a center of worship but a venue for music and other cultural and community events, the District has proclaimed Tuesday as “Sixth & I Day.”
Ten-year anniversary events are scheduled for later in the year, but in the meantime, the spot’s normal array of quality programming includes the Brad Mehldau Trio on Thursday night and its “Spring Brews” seasonal beer tasting on April 29. For more information on upcoming events, go to sixthandi.org.
One of the country’s most acclaimed poets, Edward Hirsch, comes to D.C.’s Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) on Wednesday night for the “Life of a Poet” series, to discuss, well, life, with Ron Charles, the fiction editor of the Washington Post. The free event, sponsored by the Post, the Library of Congress and the National Capital Bank, will be sort of a reunion. Hirsch spent years writing for the Post’s “Poet’s Choice” column.
He’s the author of eight books of poetry, with another one on the way this year, and serves as the president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York. The event starts at 7 p.m. in the Hill Center’s Abraham Lincoln Hall. Register at hillcenter.org.
Pull Into Dock
Casey Trees is putting on its inaugural Canopy Awards on Thursday at Union Market’s Dock5 space with food, booze, bocce and music. The event aims to fete “volunteers, friends and advocates who support our work promoting, enhancing and protecting D.C.’s tree canopy,” according to a release.
It will feature food pop-ups, the aforementioned bocce, a mini-golf course, photo booths, an open bar and musical performances from The Bumper Jacksons and Andrew Lipke and the Azrael String Quartet.
Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door, and can be purchased at caseytrees.org. It gets started at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Dock5 at 1309 Fifth St. NE.
Martha Redbone, a musician with a slew of musical roots steeped in funk, blue, folk and Native American sounds, plays at the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H St. NE on Friday night. Her new latest album, “The Garden of Love — The Songs of William Blake,” brings it all together for a tune jambalaya.
Tickets are $28.50 in advance and $33.50 at the door; students get in for $20 with ID. They can be purchased at atlasarts.org. The show starts at 8 p.m.
Two candidates for Capitol Hill’s seat on the D.C. Council face off Tuesday night in a venue best known for booking top-notch bands and peddling $3 Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboys.
Ward 6 Democrats Charles Allen and Darrel Thompson are headlining the 8 p.m. debate at Rock N Roll Hotel.
Billed as part of “D.C.’s most fun political debate series” and hosted by Washington City Paper, the event is sure to get rowdy. Plus, it’s probably the last chance to see Tommy Wells’ ex-chief of staff and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s former deputy throw down before the April 1 Democratic primary.
Washington City Paper’s Will Sommer, the Washington Informer’s James Wright, and DCist’s Sarah Anne Hughes will moderate. They will be taking questions from Twitter, Facebook and members of the audience, and the two candidates will get to ask one another questions for a potion of the evening.
Doors open at 1353 H St. NE at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m., leaving attendees with a full hour to take advantage of the bar’s happy hour. Entry is free, drinking is encouraged and the hosts remind you to tip your bartender.
Washington has sold out. Want evidence? Try going to a concert.
Last weekend’s St. Vincent shows at the 9:30 Club sold out so quickly many people didn’t even feel like they had a chance to score a ticket. And while the folks at the 9:30 Club say they don’t keep track of their previous sell-outs, their upcoming schedule shows that if want to hear music there, even from acts not at the top of the charts, you’d best be organized. This Sunday’s Broken Bells show is sold out. The March 14 Dr. Dog show sold out, prompting a second show on March 15. The Drive-By Truckers have sold out their March 22 show. Grouplove has sold out three nights in a row, March 30, March 31 and April 1. The Kraftwerk 3-D Concert has sold out two shows on April 4.
And it’s not just 9:30. At the Black Cat, Wednesday night’s Ex Hex show is sold out and low ticket alerts have been prompted by sales for Thursday’s Speedy Ortiz show and Friday’s We Were Promised Jetpacks show.
Lesson? The first time you even think you want to see someone at one of the medium-sized venues, just buy the tickets, post haste.
If you missed the Beatlemania Now concert Tuesday night, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first U.S. concert, right here in Washington, fret not. CQ Roll Call photographer Tom Williams had the goods and killed it with great images of the event, inside and outside the old Washington Coliseum venue at Third and M streets Northeast, complete with pictures of people who were at that Feb. 11, 1964, show and returned 50 years later to the scene of the screams. For a full slideshow of Williams’ photos from the event, click here.
Beatlemania Now, a Fab Four tribute band, played 50 years on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
As the District prepares for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Beatles’ first concert in the United States, which happened to be right up the street from CQ Roll Call HQ at Uline Arena, chairs from the venue are being raffled off to benefit the DC Preservation League.
On Feb. 11, the league and Douglas Development, which owns the arena, will present a tribute concert to the Fab Four’s Feb. 11, 1964, show at the arena. The tribute band Beatlemania will play the Beatles’ set list from that night, as well as other favorites.
Five pairs of the arena’s wooden bleacher-style chairs will be raffled off at the concert. Raffle tickets are $20 each and can be purchased online. To buy tickets to the event, go here.
The arena, located at Third and M streets Northeast, was built in 1941 and is a designated DC landmark that has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. On a normal day, it’s used primarily as a parking lot.
And how does one withstand the latest polar vortex assault? Hunker down, hang out, listen to music, watch movies, eat beet fries and hoist a few drinks.
Real Life Monuments Men
The National Archives on Thursday, is showing a documentary about some of the real-life Monuments Men who helped safeguard Europe’s great art from the Nazis during World War II.
The Archives will screen “The Rape of Europa” at noon at the William G. McGowan Theater, a 2006 documentary about the Allies’ attempts to protect the continent’s cultural heritage.
Sound familiar? That’s the premise of the highly anticipated film by George Clooney, “The Monuments Men,” which is set to be released Feb. 7.
Both flicks look like they’re worth a gander. Free. The Archives is at Constitution Avenue, between Seventh and Ninth streets Northwest.
Toki Gets Taken Over
Austin-based food-trailer-turned-mini-dynasty East Side King roars into town Friday to take over Toki Underground at 1234 H St. NE. Visiting ESK chefs Paul Qui, Moto Utsunomiya, and Jorge Luis Hernandez will sling away for lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. until closing time. No reservations, and space is, as any visitor to Toki knows, small. It’s a first-come, first-served shot at noshing at some of ESK’s Thai Chicken Karaage, Beef Tongue Kare Kare Buns, Beet Home Fries, Fried Brussels Sprout Salad, Liberty Rie and Tori Meshi.
Get a ‘Rope’
Hill Center and Friends of the Southeast Library are showcasing some of Alfred Hitchcock’s pre-”Psycho” work over the next month, starting on Friday with 1948′s “Rope,” a Jimmy Stewart flick about the consequences of philosophical musings.
Future screenings will bring “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Strangers on a Train” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” to 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Discussions will be lead by Tom Zaniello, facilitator of Capitol Hill Village’s Cinephiles film discussion group and author of a forthcoming book on Hitch. They’re all free, but register ahead of time for a spot at hillcenterdc.org.
District-based U.S. Royalty celebrates the release of its newest album, “Blue Sunshine,” this Saturday with a show at the Rock and Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE, followed by an after party at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar just down the street at 1104 H St. NE.
The show is $15 at Rock and Roll Hotel, with doors at 7 p.m. and show starting at 8 p.m. Spires opens. No cover at Little Miss Whiskey’s, where the party is slated to start at 10 p.m.
As official Washington begins to trickle back to work in this new year, the city’s cultural institutions are getting back into the swing of things, too.
American Letters From Abroad
Politics and Prose bookstore is hosting a couple of American literature’s heaviest hitters on back-to-back days: Chang-rae Lee and Gary Shteyngart. Lee, a Korean-American, and Shteyngart, a Russian-American, present vivid and weird representations of the American experience. Both were born abroad (in Seoul and Leningrad, respectively) and are tied closely to their respective immigrant communities. They are also thoroughly American, having come to the United States at young ages and having succeeded in a profession among the most difficult to break into: writing novels. And, as they are both 40-something and firmly in Generation X, there’s a bit of desperation, humor and sadness in their writing. Perfect for the times.
Lee, the author of such books as “Aloft,” will read from his latest novel, “On Such a Full Sea,” on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. Shteyngart, the author of “The Russian Debutante’s Handbook” and the more recent “Super Sad True Love Story,” will read from his forthcoming memoir, “Little Failure,” on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. Both events are free at the Politics and Prose flagship at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Hill Center’s Packed Schedule
Hill Center here on Capitol Hill has a dense set of upcoming events. On Jan. 7, the cultural center at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE will partner with ITVS Community Cinema to present a free screening of “Las Marthas,” a documentary about the monthlong (!) annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas. The Society of Martha Washington’s coming-out ceremonies are quite a sight to see, and provide a look at American culture that will be news indeed for many. The film starts at 7 p.m.
The National Symphony Orchestra fills up the calendar later in the week, with its NSO in Your Neighborhood program. On Jan. 9, the NSO will present a chamber performance featuring flautist Aaron Goldman, clarinetist Eugene Mondie and bassoonist Sue Heineman, starting at 7:30 p.m. and going until 9:30 p.m. On Jan. 10, the NSO brings in its “Jazz Night Club,” featuring several musicians including violinists Glenn Donnellan, Terri Lee and Jan Chong, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Both events are free, but those interested are encouraged to register at Hill Center’s website.
Cracker, Camper Check In
If you don’t get your fill of Gen X signifiers from Lee and Shteyngart, you’re in luck: Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven are playing the 9:30 Club on Jan. 11. Cracker, which initially grew out of the disbanding of Camper, headlines. Perhaps to show how all of us Gen Xers roll these days, it’s an early, 6 p.m. show at 815 V St. NW. Twenty-five bucks to get in.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick