“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!
Independence Day in Washington is like Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa., a patriotic palooza. As if the stakes couldn’t be higher on the grandest stage at the capital of the free world, we could, possibly, be treated to yacht rock legend Michael McDonald singing “Sweet Freedom” with the Muppets as a follow-up act.
Of all the major holidays, D.C. really shines (or smokes, or swelters) on Independence Day, with the capital city coming alive with fireworks, concerts, Major League Baseball and even a fairground with midway rides.
Sure, the National Mall is the big gathering spot in D.C. for watching the fireworks come Friday evening, with the temporary concert venue on the West Front of the Capitol all set to blast tunes from everyone from McDonald to the Muppets to Frankie Valli for the Capitol Fourth celebration. What a fool believes! But the Mall and the Capitol grounds are not the only places to watch the pyrotechnics, not by a long shot.
Any higher ground vantage point, whether it’s Meridian Hill Park or the Iwo Jima Marine Corps Monument in Rosslyn, Va., or the roof of a pal’s apartment building will offer all the views with fewer sweaty souls jostling for precious few spots.
The fireworks and Capitol Fourth are a small component of the festivities, though.
The Washington Nationals, fresh from a Midwestern road swing in Milwaukee and Chicago, are back for a homestead against the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles. On Friday, the Nats will play the Cubs in an 11:05 a.m. game that will feature lots and lots of flags and many beer cans emblazoned with Old Glory. Fireworks are usually to be had. Such an early game lets everyone get out in plenty of time to find their ways to the Mall, Capitol or that pal’s apartment building.
And let’s not forget about the D.C. Capital Fair at beloved RFK Stadium, which started June 27 and extends through Sunday. We might not be a state or have a vote in Congress, but we’ve got a fair, complete with a ferris wheel, a petting zoo and wolf show (no word on whether Nats outfielder Jayson Werth will be attending) and illusionists, hypnotists and plenty of greasy food. This week through Thursday, the fair runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Starting Friday and going through Sunday, it runs from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Yacht rock, baseball, things blowing up in the night sky, fried food and carnies. What’s more American than that?
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.
There are worse ways to spend a Saturday than riding your bike and drinking beer. Thanks to the New Belgium Brewing Company, one may do both come this weekend, at the 2014 Tour de Fat at Yards Park on the Anacostia riverfront.
Starting with a 10 a.m. registration time on Saturday, cyclists/imbibers can hang out, listen to music, partake in a costume contest, engage in a slow ride race and drink any of the Colorado-based brewers’ many varieties of beer, such as the classic Fat Tire or seasonals and specials like 1554 Black Lager or Carnie Blood Orange Saison.
There’ll be plenty of tunes from the likes of The Reals and Reggie Watts, as well as entertainment from folks like The Handsome Little Devils.
Drinking/music venue Rock & Roll Hotel is offering a slate of Sunday night movies on their rooftop deck, and, perhaps inspired by The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese,” they’re going with a Japan-animation-themed slate.
Last week, they went with “Akira,” and this week are going with “Ninja Scroll.” For the May 18 show, it’ll be Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke,” and on the 25th it’ll be “Ghost in the Shell.”
Food and drink specials available throughout shows that start at 7 p.m. and repeat at 9 p.m. on an eight-foot projection screen. You’re also welcome to bring your own comfy seating to 1353 H St. NE.
Need to catch the retelling of one of Shakespeare’s seminal histories? How about the cinema of peace and war in the Middle East? Or how about a trip down South, by Southwest?
Richard III, Extended
If you’re looking to build on your “House of Cards” knowledge, you’re in luck, because the Folger Shakespeare Library has extended its current run of “Richard III” through March 16.
The evil that Kevin Spacey’s Vice President Francis Underwood does is right out of the playbook of the Bard’s tale of the wicked, deformed Richard III and his blood-bathed rise to power. Tickets range from $30 to $72. 201 East Capitol St. For more info, go to folger.edu. Full story
Never mind those predictions of that Mid-Atlantic weather phenomenon, wintry mix. Brave the outside for a couple of cool holiday traditions on both sides of the Potomac: Old Town Alexandria’s Scottish Christmas Walk Parade and the Southwest Waterfront’s Parade of Lights in the District.
On Saturday, rain or shine, a whole mess of Scottish clans in tartans, with bagpipes, will turn Old Town into one big holiday hootenanny. Starting at 11 a.m. at Wilkes and St. Asaph streets and proceeding through the King Street district, it’s a unique celebration of the season. The bars and taverns in the area are more than willing to provide season and culturally appropriate libations.
Later on Saturday night and across the river, the Washington Waterfront Association and the Old Dominion Boat Club will put on the Parade of Lights along the Southwest Waterfront at Water and Seventh streets SW. Things kick off at 6 p.m. with music, a bonfire, some Santa Claus sightings and other holiday this and that. Around 7 p.m., decorated boats from the Alexandria Vote group will start to arrive at the waterfront, and folks can vote for their favorites. Promoters say it’ll all happen rain or snow. Free.
Anyone looking for a cheaper ride back and forth to Baltimore on the weekends cheered earlier this year, when Maryland announced it was extending MARC service on Saturdays and Sundays come December. And to sweeten the pot even further, Kimpton Hotels is offering up a deal that scores weekend MARC riders a discount at one of the their hotels at either end of the terminus, as well as some free vino.
The “MARC a Night of It” deal involves 15 percent off the room rate at the Hotel George in D.C. and the Hotel Monaco in Baltimore. It also comes with a free bottle of wine. All you have to do is wait for Dec. 7, book for Thursdays through Sundays and show your Penn Line MARC ticket when you check in. You can book online (rate code “MARC”) or call 1-800-Kimpton.
For some reason, it brings to mind the Destination DC “Get a Room” ad campaign from earlier this year.
That chill in the air this month is even more reason to stock up on stuff to do around Capitol Hill. Dwindling light doesn’t mean dwindling cool things to do.
Hill Center’s Pre-Code Cinema Series
Hill Center debuts its series looking at the racier side of early Hollywood on Friday night with the 1933 Barbara Stanwyck flick “Baby Face.” Critic Nell Minnow and writer Margaret Talbot will lead discussions of the movies, which represent a tone and time in cinema when the Hays Code guidelines for themes and behavior the movies could portray was for the most part disregarded. Free, but register online at hillcenterdc.org. 7 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
The Hillys Are Here
The 2013 Hillys Award Gala, which honors the Capitol Hill area’s favorite businesses, including restaurants, health and beauty services, home and garden services, retailers, nonprofits and art venues, among many categories, are Saturday night at Nationals Park’s Stars and Stripes Club, from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. A production of CHAMPS, Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce, tickets start at $125 for members. For information about attending or to buy tickets, go to champ.memberclicks.net.
Days of D.C. Dining Past
Sure things are hopping in Washington’s restaurant scene right now, a remarkable turn of events for a city that felt somewhat culinarily stagnant in the recent past. But the current boom taking hold in places like 14th Street and Barracks Row is not the first one to take hold in D.C. John DeFerrari is talking about his latest book, “Historic Restaurants of Washington D.C.” at 2 p.m. Sunday at Hill Center. In addition to a fascinating sociological look at Washington’s development, dating back to the 19th century, DeFerrari’s book is a nicely put together document that should be of interest to any dining buff or local historian. Free.
It’s a long weekend, but there’s plenty to do around Capitol Hill, starting tonight with the Roll Call Book Club and continuing through the weekend, when visitors to the Library of Congress can see a copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Winston Groom’s ‘Aviators’
“Forrest Gump” author Winston Groom’s latest book, “The Aviators,” came out Nov. 5, and the author himself is dropping by the Roll Call Book Club on Friday to discuss it and sign his books at CQ Roll Call, 77 K St. NE at 6 p.m. For this nonfiction book, he tells the story of the early years of aviation, focusing on how Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles Lindbergh helped shape things. The event is sold out, but keep checking Eventbrite’s listing, as some folks have had to beg off, leaving a couple spots here and there for the taking.
Mothers, Lock Up Your Sons
The Union Market Drive-In wraps up its fall Encore Series season Friday night with a screening of “Bridesmaids,” which was chosen by patrons via social media. And what does that say that the popular choice is rated R? That we love comedies about Gen X slackers who are afraid of commitment and drink too much! As Union Market says on its website, the film is “not recommended for children.” Hey, they might as well know what life has in store, no? Free. Gates open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Four Score and …
The Nicolay copy of the Gettysburg Address, which many historians presume to be the first draft, will be displayed at the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building’s Great Hall, starting Friday through Nov. 19, the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s delivery of the address in Gettysburg, Pa. On Nov. 20, the Nicolay copy will head to the LOC’s Civil War in America exhibit on the second floor of the Jefferson Building. First Street and Independence Avenue SE. Free.
Jury Notice for an Art Show
The first annual EMULSION: East City Art regional juried show opens on Nov. 9 at Gallery O on H, at 1354 H St. NE. The opening reception is at the gallery from 7 to 10 p.m. the same day. The exhibition runs through Jan. 18. With so many neighborhoods opening up for artists in the eastern part of the District, this could be a landmark event.
Happy Day of the Dead! There’s no way around it now: We’re firmly in the grip of fall, hurtling toward winter. Before we get to the really cold stuff, there’s time to do some autumn-appropriate stuff right here on Capitol Hill.
An Almighty Drive-In Experience
Union Market continues its fall season drive-in series on Friday with an All Saints Day showing of “Evan Almighty” at the Union Market Drive-In encore series. God, played by Morgan Freeman (no one else is allowed to play the big guy), asks Rep. Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) to build an ark in anticipation of a flood. The congressman obliges. In 2007, when the movie came out, this seemed far-fetched. In 2013, after observing the last few collections of freshman who have been elected, it seems feasible.
Gates open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30. Free, at 1309 Fifth St. NE.
Pottery on the Hill
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital is hosting Pottery on the Hill this weekend, starting with a reception on Friday and extending into the weekend. The exhibit will showcase 16 artists, and folks will have the opportunity to both view and buy. Among the potters is former Washington Redskin fan favorite and renaissance man Chris Cooley, who seems to be holding up just fine in his post-NFL life.
Tickets to Friday’s reception are $25 and available here. That shindig starts at 6:30 p.m. at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Cooley will also be giving talks at noon and 2 p.m. on Saturday about his life as a sportsman and artist.
Street Level View
If you’d like your art in a different medium, check out the new exhibit Above the Radar III at The Fridge on Barracks Row. The exhibit shows off 25 artists from Los Angeles, New York and abroad, starting on Saturday. Curator Luna George brings many facets of the urban art experience, from street art to surrealism and more, for a month-long show. Among the artists showing are Cat Cult, Peeta, Robots Will Kill and XIST. Saturday’s opening reception is from 7 to 11 p.m. and is free; Sunday’s neighborhood reception is from noon to 4 p.m. and is also free, all at 516 1/2 Eighth St. SE.
New Columbia Distillers, the team behind the District’s Green Hat Gin, releases its new gin for the season, “Ginavit,” at the Ivy City distillery at 1832 Fenwick St. NE on Saturday. The portmanteau of two excellent spirits, gin and aquavit, suggests an interesting flavor. “This is a hardy and savory cool weather gin,” John Uselton, the co-owner and distiller said in a release, promising a mix of “Scandinavian aquavit botanicals” and gin botanicals. They’re only making 100 cases, so drink it while you can. Suggested retail is $40, and your first chance to get it is on Saturday. Whatever’s left over heads to restaurants and retailers the next week.
Halloween isn’t technically until Oct. 31, but it’s always a good idea to get a head start. Lucky for us, Capitol Hill obliges a-plenty. Here are a few choice options to get ready for All Hallow’s Eve.
The Fridge, the multipurpose gallery/performance space on Barracks Row at 516 1/2 Eighth St. SE is hosting a little Halloween carnival: Alley Cats Halloween/Dia de Muertos Artists Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Fridge bills it as a place to pick up “some inexpensive, but artsy, party favors for your Halloween shindig” and a place to meet folks from “D.C.’s unique art community.”
What better place to hang out this time of year than Congressional Cemetery? Last week, the cemetery hosted its annual Dead Man’s Run 5K. This Saturday, they’ve got their Ghosts and Goblets Soiree. A general admission ticket for $60 gets you four drinks, live entertainment, a heated tent and “visits from some of the 65,000 local ‘residents.’” At 1801 E St. SE. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.
Belga Café’s Halloween plans coincide with their ninth anniversary celebration. Saturday brings their Pajama Brunch, which will provide those who dress in their jammies some free bubbly, while Sunday brings their Early Halloween Brunch. Come in a costume and the restaurant says they’ll have a surprise. Trick or treat, or moules frites? At 514 Eighth St. SE.
Quite simply, this was a terrible week. If ever people needed a little break and some fun, it’s now, with Capitol Hill’s first shutdown/shootout/car chase week finally winding down.
Mind if I Play Through?
The DC Drive-In at Union Market returns Friday night with the greatest golf movie ever, “Caddyshack.” If Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield can’t make you forget your pain, you might be beyond hope. Movie starts at dusk at 1309 5th St. NE, but get there early to eat and drink of Union Market’s delights.
It Might Get Loud
If you’re in the mood to scream at the top of your lungs, bounce up and down for a couple of hours and paint your face red and black, you’re in luck. D.C. United plays the Chicago Fire Friday at 8 p.m. at RFK Stadium. With the city and United now united on building a soccer specific stadium near Nationals Park, go see Major League Soccer at its most primal in D.C.’s own loud-house.
Music for the People
Rock N Roll Hotel at 1353 H St. NE heads into the weekend with some wide and divergent acts. On Friday, local super group Black Masala, a punk/bluegrass/gypsy local superband plays a triple bill with M.H. and His Orchestra and Orchester Prazevica. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $10 in advance and at the door. Saturday night brings a little reggae, with another set of locals — Lucky Dub, who will play with Dub City Renegades and Aliflic. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $10, in advance or at the door.
It’s going to be one of those weeks. Capitol Hill and everyone associated with it will be all wrapped up in the latest congressional train wreck. That makes it even more important to get out whenever one can, and what better way to cope with it all than to rock out?
Check Into the Hotel
The Rock and Roll Hotel (1353 H St. NE) has live acts throughout the week, starting with cello bluesman Ben Sollee (you read that right) on Oct. 1. River Whyless opens. Doors at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. $15 in advance, $17 at the door. Indie rock gods Typhoon (they’re from Portland, of course) play the next night with Radiation City, but the show’s already sold out. Still, if you know a guy … On Oct. 3, surf-rockers Surfer Blood play a triple bill with Team Spirit and Andy Boay. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $16 in advance, $18 at the door. On Oct. 4, local super group Black Masala, a you-have-to-hear-them-to-believe-them band complete with sax, guitar and accordion, heads up another triple bill with M.H. and His Orchestra and Orchester Prazevica. Our very own Gogol Bordello. Doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., $10 in advance and at the door. And why not end the week in a groove, with local reggae dudes Lucky Dub, who will play with Dub City Renegades and Aliflic on Oct. 5. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $10, in advance or at the door. Honestly, if you need to blow off steam, this is the place for you.
It’s in the Hole!
Union Market brings back its DC Drive-In on Oct. 4, and, as a colleague said, “They had me at ‘Caddy Shack.’” The all-time greatest movie about golf, snobs, slobs and capital punishment for your own good will show on the wall at 1309 Fifth St. NE. Starts at dusk, but get there early for a good spot and order beers, oysters, sandwiches, cheese, empanadas, shakes, cupcakes or raw meat from the vendors at Union Market.
Cooking for How Many?
Washington Post and DC Magazine food writer David Hagedorn leads a class at Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) on Oct. 5 that will show folks how to plan a dinner party of one’s own, soup to nuts to napkins and logistics. Hagedorn will emphasize preparing such an event in a way that not only won’t drive you crazy but will actually be an enjoyable experience for host and guests.
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