Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse will soon have an outpost for standup comedy in downtown D.C.
The owners of the Northern Virginia-based business announced today plans to open an “arts space committed to comedy and our community” called the Drafthouse Comedy Theater at 1100 13th Street NW in January.
According to a press release, the forthcoming theater will be a stand-up comedy venue with occasional sketch and improv shows.
“This will significantly increase the opportunity to feature a diverse offering of top national comics to the D.C. area,” the press release says. “As we expand our offerings in the first year, we will add off-Broadway style comedy arts to the line up.”
According to the venue’s website, comedians Todd Barry, Baron Vaughn and Janine Brito will be among the first comedians to perform at Drafthouse Comedy.
When it opens, the theater will serve beer, wine, liquor and “light fare.”
Read the full press release:
The owners of the Arlington Drafthouse are thrilled to open a comedy arts theater in Downtown DC! We have chosen to be different than the typical comedy club and instead offer an arts space committed to comedy and our community. This means great sight lines, an intimate setting, and no minimum purchase requirements for patrons, tall ceilings, and shared laughter.
We will feature mostly stand-up comedy, while also dedicating time to sketch and improv. Shows will be targeted to 70 to 80 minutes in length. Each weekend will feature, on average, 8 shows (2 on Thursday, 3 on Friday, and 3 on Saturday). This schedule allows for two headliners to perform each weekend, splitting the shows between them. This will significantly increase the opportunity to feature a diverse offering of top national comics to the DC area. As we expand our offerings in the first year, we will add off-Broadway style comedy arts to the line up.
The Drafthouse Comedy Theater is styled after a black box arts theater. The theater is located in the heart of downtown Washington, DC on the corner of 13th and L streets NW – 3 blocks north of the theater district and 3 blocks west of the Convention Center.
As a black box theater, the Drafthouse Comedy Theater will offer concession beer, wine, liquor, and some light fare. There are no minimum purchase requirements for patrons, nor is there tableside service. Doors open typically 20 minutes before showtimes and seating is general admission.
Photo via Google Street View
Fred Armisen played guitar and sang for dozens of people crammed into a tiny record store today.
No, it wasn’t a scene from his “Portlandia” show. It was a free concert at Red Onion Records on U Street.
With a guitar bag slung over his shoulder, Armisen strolled up to the shop at 1628 U St. NW about a half-hour before his noon show, greeting fans who waited in line as early as 9 a.m. to see him.
During his performance, the “Saturday Night Live” alumnus played “Catalina Breeze” and other songs from his fake 1970s soft rock band, The Blue Jean Committee.
“Is anyone working today?” Armisen asked the crowd. “How were you able to do this?”
He also took photos of the people inside Red Onion, as well as the dozens of fans who didn’t make it into the store.
“What a great city,” Armisen said. “I love this place.”
Faux-religious live comedy show “Church Night” will make the transition from stage to streaming video next week.
Church night co-creators Linsay Deming, Landon Letzkus and Jeremy Frank will debut the show’s new web series, “Church Night TV,” by screening all five episodes at Songbyrd Record Cafe (2475 18th St. NW) next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
For the uninitiated, Church Night is a long-running monthly variety show in the guise of a religious service. The show is a blasphemous mass speckled with pop song hymns, comedy sketches, burlesque performances, live music and something called “shots ‘n tots” communion, during which attendees are provided a shot of whiskey and a single tater tot to imbibe.
Though the performance started at the Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights, Church Night can now be seen once a month onstage at the Black Cat.
Deming, who plays sordid youth minister Kathy Piechota in the show, said the new web series is kind of like a hybrid of “Portlandia,” “Between Two Ferns” and “The 700 Club.”
“We took inspiration from more low budget local religious programming,” Deming said. “We have a few invented characters, like a hymn composer. We have a craftsman, a guy who makes doors. It’s very bizarre. Very surreal.”
Though Deming said audiences can expect much of the usual shock-and-gawk routine that made Church Night a favorite among its fans, tater tots will not make an appearance in the new web series.
Instead, the show will have an abunance of sad, floppy hot dogs.
“There’s a big hot dog component to the show,” she said. “They’re kind of the most disgusting food on the planet, and our characters love everything that anyone else would consider bad for your health.”
“We tried to think of all of the things you could do with a hot dog,” added Deming. “I have not consumed a hot dog since filming.”
Those looking to experience the next live installment of “Church Night” can head to the Black Cat for blessings this Friday at 9 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Linsay Deming
Mexo-Americana band David Wax Museum is pretty psyched to play U Street Music Hall on Nov. 21, but they’re definitely not above performing at a good house show. Though vocalists and instrumentalists David Wax and Susan “Suz” Slezak have roots in Boston, some of the duo’s fondest memories were forged during nights spent playing shows in D.C. living rooms.
We spoke with Wax earlier this week to preview the band’s upcoming show:
Borderstan: What are your expectations for U Street Music Hall?
David Wax: I think the sense I’ve got is that it’s like a little bit more of like a sweaty rock group than the 9:30 Club, which has a little bit of that kind of like majestic rock room feel. I think that to [perform in] a packed U Street Music Hall is going to feel really good.
Susan’s from Virginia, that’s where we live nowadays so we started coming to D.C. really early on and building up. One of the most unique ways of building up the band for us in terms of doing these 15 house concerts in D.C.
I feel like we’ve made a real personal connection with a lot of our fans there and [I] kind of really just won people over one person at a time and one living room at a time. There’s just a real special vibe when we play D.C. People who have got to see us from our earliest early stages have kind of grown along with the band.
Take me back to some of those house shows starting out. How did you get hooked up with them and what was your very first house show in D.C. like?
There was a guy I grew up with in Missouri who was living in D.C. and he organized the first one and he sat in with us. He was someone who played with us a lot when we were in D.C. And so he was kind of a real, you know, person that was super involved in community life there and was able to get 40 people together in a living room to see a band that nobody’s ever heard of.
It was kind of like a raucous party with 40 people in a room and a little house in D.C. and I think from that, three or four people that saw us there were like, oh, could you do this at my place? There was just like an instant like oh, I wanna have this at my house and have my friends come and see this.
And so it really like was this kind of viral thing that just something kind of resonated with people. And there was a high concentration of young people in their 20s that, you know, were connected and could get a bunch of people together. It really fit with what peoples’ interests were and there was just some kind of line that really clicked.
Has the comfort level changed now that you’re playing in actual music venues?
In some ways you’re almost more exposed than the house show setting. Both Susan and I have been really comfortable performing since we were little kids and that’s what really draws us to being in the band. One of the most sustaining parts of the stress is getting to perform every night. There’s lessons to be learned about what connected with people in the house concert setting and the feeling of community and intimacy that you have to work harder to create in the larger venue.
We’ve been in D.C. a couple times at the 9:30 Club where we just came out in the middle of the room and everyone sat down on the floor and I feel like we’ve been able to have that kind of intimacy in those experiences that feel like some kind of sense that there’s like a transcendence.
That’s why I play music and that’s why we go and hear music. That’s why live music is still relevant to people and matters in peoples’ lives.
This interview was edited for length and clarity. Photo by Todd Roeth.
Good morning. Here’s a photo of Bei Bei sulking in a box.
“Bei Bei weighed 9.5 lbs on Fri!” tweeted the Smithsonian National Zoo yesterday afternoon. “He’s still working on building up his rear leg strength.”
Zoo officials added that the panda cub’s mother, Mei Xiang, has been leaving him on the rock work in her indoor enclosure for safe-keeping.
They did not say whether they might soon photograph the tiny panda sulking in a bag or posed atop a decorative tray.
For future Bei Bei developments from the National Zoo, follow the hashtag #PandaStory on Twitter and Instagram.
Photo via twitter.com/NationalZoo
Racers in high heels and colorful costumes will once again sprint through Dupont Circle during this year’s 29th annual 17th Street High Heel Race tomorrow evening.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to go:
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Banaka and Birdie LaCage will marshall this year’s race. The festivities start with a parade at 7 p.m., followed by the race itself at 9 p.m. Crowds line up along 17th Street between R and P Street NW hours before the race, so attendees who want to snap quality photos or see the race up close should plan ahead and be prepared to wait in possibly cold, rainy weather.
Chairs, dogs “or anything drag queens can trip over” will not be allowed along the race route, said event organizers. Additionally, attendees are not allowed to climb on newspaper boxes, homes, trees or light posts for a better view.
The race will begin at 17th and R streets NW at 9 p.m. Racers will sprint south toward the finish line at 17th and P streets NW.
Those interested in running in the race can register at Cobalt (1639 R Street NW) any time before the race tomorrow. To work as a volunteer during the race, visit JR’s Bar and Grill (1519 17th Street NW) at 6:30 p.m. to pick up T-shirts and instructions. Volunteers must be 21 or older.
The first High Heel Race was organized in 1986 by JR’s Bar and Grill. Since then, it has become one of Dupont Circle’s most popular yearly events and draws thousands of people annually.
Ah, Halloween: the time of year when grown people dress like Disney characters and memes. Want to celebrate? Here’s where to find the Halloween scene starting tomorrow night:
Friday, Oct. 23
ShawnMikael(s) in Columbia Heights
Studio 1469 (Rear, 1469 Harvard Street NW)
“Sexy” improvisers put on a silly-spooky show in a BYOB-only venue.
Saturday, Oct. 24
Shaw Dog Park (1673 11th St. NW)
Humans and canines alike will compete to win in three costume contests: best big dog, best little dog, and best owner/dog costumes. Attendees can also enter a raffle to win prizes from Logan Hardware, Avenue Jack and Nelly’s.
“Shawlloween” Bar Crawl
Ten Shaw bars — including Ivy and Coney, Dino’s Grotto and Shaw’s Tavern — will host drink specials and special events all day long.
Little Goblins Parade
Starts at Logan Circle
Costumed children will march along the 1400 block of P Street NW in search of candy and treats. The parade ends in Stead Park with dancing and music.
Wednesday, Oct. 28
Night of the Living Ales
Churchkey (1337 14th St. NW)
Bartenders will pour locally-brewed sour ales from brewers such as Bluejacket, Burley Oak, Hardywood Park, Lost Rhino and Ocelot.
Friday, Oct. 30
Heurich House Halloween Party
Heurich House (1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW)
Local actors tell spooky gothic tales while guests sip on drinks, tour the house after dark and learn about the Heurich family’s spiritualism — and the porcelain dolls on the second floor.
Saturday, Oct. 31
Halloween Brunch Costume Contest
Masa 14 (1825 14th St. NW)
This event promises a “spooktacular” bottomless brunch with a costume contest for a $75 gift card.
Dupont Circle Pet Costume Contest
Dog park at at 17th and S streets NW
Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets will host its annual Dupont Circle pet costume contest in the dog park at at 17th and S St. NW on Halloween at 10 a.m. All pets are welcome to compete, and the event will occur rain or shine, said the event’s organizers.
Six Feet Under the Sea and Kiddo Craft and Cider Happy Hour
Meridian Pint (3400 11th St. NW)
Noon; 4-7 p.m.
Meridian Pint will host two Halloween events on the same day. Six Feet Under the Sea is a prom-themed Halloween party in the basement of the bar preceded by a horror movie marathon. On the patio, kids in costumes can gather at 4 p.m. for hot cider, trick or treating and crafts.
Halloween at El Rey
El Rey (919 U St. NW)
Halloween happy hour brunch precedes live music and a costume contest where attendees can compete to win $250.
Sauf Haus (1216 18th St. NW)
Guests can gather at noon for apple bobbing followed by an evening movie marathon, a tarot card reader, evil clowns, human statues, drink specials and live music.
Old School Hip Hop Halloween Bar Crawl
14th, U and 11th streets NW
Drink specials abound at six bars. Though the idea is to visit each bar, attendees can join the bar crawl at any stop along the way.
Third District MPD Halloween Party
Third District Station (1620 V Street NW)
Guests can join local police officers for food, games and a haunted house.
Halloween House Carnival
Mellow Mushroom (2436 18th St. NW)
A DJ spins house tunes while costumed attendees compete in a “scariest” and “sexiest” costume contest. No cover.
Church Night hosts a Halloween show with three bands, two burlesque performers and “a night of raucous, raunchy, loud, and wild fun.”
Town Danceboutique (2009 8th St. NW)
Guests can compete to win $1000 in a massive costume contest, and a drag show kicks off at 10:30 p.m. $15 cover.
Dogs in costumes will frolic through Shaw Dog Park during the pet park’s annual “Howl-O-Ween” event this Saturday at 11 a.m.
During the event, humans and canines alike will compete to win in three costume contests: best big dog, best little dog, and best owner/dog costumes. Attendees can also enter a raffle to win prizes from Logan Hardware, Avenue Jack and Nelly’s.
Shaw Dog Park Volunteers will also sell T-shirts and poop bags branded with the park’s name and logo.
Steve Oatmeyer, a member of the Shaw Dog Park board, said the part of the event’s goal is to raise $3000 to replace the park’s failing gate and fence.
“We need repairs of the gates and the fence. They need to be replaced,” Oatmeyer said. “Hopefully, by the end of the year we will have it done.”
“We also have to resurface the gravel on a weekly basis, water and take care of the trees,” Oatmeyer said. “We’ve been around for nine or ten years, so now things are happening we really need to start replacing.”
Locals who can’t show up on Saturday can also donate to the cause via Paypal here.
Photo courtesy of Shaw Dog Park
Sauf Haus (1216 18th St. NW) will host a “haunted haus” event next weekend in honor of the s-s-spookiest holiday of them all, Halloween. Guests can partake in creepy events and buy discounted beer and cocktails during each day’s festivities.
The bar will kick off its three-day Halloween weekend with a viewing of Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight on Friday. As per the norm, guests will be encouraged to break out the gold speedos and fishnets.
“We’re encouraging costumes,” said Sauf Haus marketing and event coordinator Brittney Roberson. Bartenders will also don costumes to pour $6 Radeberger and $6 Schofferhoffer Radler beers throughout the night.
But it’s the next day, Saturday, when things get a little creepier. From noon to 7 p.m., guests will be able to carve pumpkins and compete for prizes in an apple bobbing contest. Then, at 7 p.m., the evil clowns and human statues come out to roam the haus.
“They’re going to be strolling through the bar,” Roberson said. “There will be these slightly spooky happenings going on.”
Black Masala, a gypsy punk and funk band, will set the mood for the evening with live music. The bar will also screen classic Halloween films such as “Hocus Pocus” and hire a tarot reader to tell patrons’ fortunes throughout the night.
Although there might be some frights, scaredy-cats should still be able to handle this party. “We don’t want to scare people too much,” Roberson said. “It’s not going to be a full on haunted house in a traditional sense.”
Don’t tell Biff, but there’s a DeLorean parked in Dupont Circle right now.
The iconic car is parked in front of Fantom Comics (2010 P St. NW) to celebrate the day that Marty McFly landed in the future in “Back to the Future Part II,” which just so happens to be today, Oct. 21, 2015.
Locals can head to the comic shop any time today to take photos of the car, snatch a “save the clock tower” flyer and even buy the DeLorean itself for the low price of $24,500.
Aaron DeNu, the man behind Dupont Festival and the MidCity Business District, was the one who helped the comic shop procure a DeLorean for the day’s festivities.
“It’s so exciting,” said Esther Kim, manager at Fantom Comics. “The DeLorean is the most iconic thing to come out of the movie, except for maybe Marty McFly’s vest.”
Fantom Comics will give away comics and play music outside the shop today in preparation for its Back to the Future costume party tonight at 6 p.m.
You might soon know the name Naïmah Muhammad.
Coming up, Muhammad,who performs under the moniker Naïmah, cut her teeth near the intersection of 10th and U streets, where go-go and jazz once flourished. Now, Muhammad can be seen performing at venues across town.
She describes her sound as alternative pop with indie folk elements. But don’t expect the soft guitar melodies of beard-y hipster bands. Instead, Muhammad’s voice is often backed by big drum beats and dreamy synth tracks composed by the artist herself.
“I never foresaw myself being the actual singer of my songs,” Muhammad said. “I just thought I was going to write, make a very specific image for someone else and have them fulfill it.”
Muhammad is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she studied communication and songwriting.
“As soon as I got back home, I fell back in love with D.C. and the East Coast,” she said,
Muhammad said she’s caught in a “balancing act” between the D.C. and New York City. She spends Monday through Thursday in the District, doing public programming for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History before heading to New York on the weekends to record an album.
The weekly commute, she said, can take its toll.
“I’m doing this on my own, and it’s tough but it’s worth it,” she said. “I’ve seen contracts that wouldn’t be good for me as a songwriter and as an artist, so I’m just being patient, keeping up my work ethic and hoping for the best.”
The album isn’t the only thing Muhammad has in the works. She’s released a handful singles with another, called “Set It Off,” on the way.
“I’ve been developing my live performance, I have songs I can work on for a new project and it just feels like the right time,” she said. “This has been a great way to share my music with people, make connections and create a little buzz about what I’m working on.”
Ideally, Muhammad said, her goal is scoring soundtracks for film and television with her original work. Think Lana Del Ray’s album for “The Great Gatsby.”
“When I write, I write very visually,” she explained. “Every little song is kind of a story already, and I can see something happening as I’m writing it.”
Muhammad said she plans to continue recording, performing and working her way through life in D.C. and New York until her career goals start becoming reality. And right now, she’s more than happy to do it.
“I’m still an everyday person making music that I hope connects with someone else,” she said. “Everything is really about the people you meet along the way because you can’t do it alone.”
Photo courtesy of Naïmah Muhammad
Homeowners in Dupont Circle will open their doors and welcome all who stop by on Sunday as part of the 48th annual Dupont Circle House Tour.
The event is an annual fundraiser for the Dupont Circle Citizens Association during which Dupont residents show off their homes and neighborhood. The main focus of the tour is preservation and how homeowners have managed to build modern homes without destroying the historic houses.
“The tour is 48 years old and it really grew out of a desire to show that preservation is worthwhile,” Dupont Circle Citizens Association President Robin Diener said. “The tour is intended to show that these are beautiful buildings and to promote the neighborhood.”
Homeowners volunteer to show their houses as part of the tour. According to Diener, many owners choose to join the tour after a large renovation or to show off new designs in their house.
This year, in addition to several houses, historic mansions and condos, the tour will also include a sneak peak at the Dupont Underground, the art space being built in the former trolley tunnels that run under the neighborhood.
Included in the ticket price is the self-guided tour of all the houses and entrance to an afternoon tea party at the Heurich House Museum. The citizen’s association is also coordinating to have pedi-cabs available for those who may get tired on the tour. Tickets for the tour are available online for $40.
Photo via Dupont Circle Citizens Association
Six screens will light at Landmark Theatre’s Atlantic Plumbing Cinema near the U Street for the first time ever tonight. The theater chain celebrated the opening with a glitzy — and dimly lit — party last night.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) and Vincent Orange (At-Large) were among the high-profile guests at the party at the 10,000 square-foot theater located on the ground floor of the new Atlantic Plumbing apartment building at 807 V St. NW.
Guests at the invitation-only event ate popcorn and sipped kettle corn-flavored old fashioneds while exploring the cinema. The theater is decked out with a full bar and patio seating, and moviegoers will be able to bring drinks from the bar into their theater.
Landmark CEO Ted Mundorff gave Bowser a tour of the theater and commented that the theater’s opening shows how much the U Street area has changed over the past decade and will draw even more people to the area.
Want to catch a flick? All six of the cinema’s screens will show “Steve Jobs” tonight starting at 8 p.m.
— Charles Allen (@CharlesAllenW6) October 14, 2015
(Updated at 4:10 p.m. Thursday) Minions ran amok with Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen at the Kennedy Recreation Center (1401 7th St. NW) in Shaw last night.
The center screened the film “Despicable Me” outdoors starting at 6:30 p.m. in partnership with the Friends of Kennedy Recreation Center and Allen’s office. Residents brought chairs and blankets to sit on while they watch the film.
Popcorn was provided for free and the Dolci Gelati truck was on site to sell gelato. A portion of those sales went toward funding new programs for children and seniors at the recreation center.
Photo via Google Street View
Goblins hungry for candy are plotting take over Logan Circle next weekend, all in the spirit of Halloween.
The 5th Annual Little Goblins Parade will fill the streets with children with their parents on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. The crowd will begin its slow march at Logan Circle, then walk along the 1400 block of P Street NW. (Click here to view the full parade route.)
Employees from businesses along the block will hit the sidewalks and pass out candy to participants aged anywhere from 12 months to 10 years old.
Parade organizers Joelle Myers and Evelyn Boyd Simmons have planned the event together since its inception and have watched it grow every year. This year, they’re expecting a crowd of about 400, including kids, parents, grandparents and dogs.
Executing an event of this size takes the collaboration of community organizations, area businesses and key sponsors like TD Bank and Whole Foods. Volunteers and the members of the Metropolitan Police Department also help the parade run smoothly.
“This is an event that has been growing and evolving right along with the community,” Simmons said. “Our goal is to have it become institutionalized and a tradition in Logan Circle.”
One of the most significant changes made this year is that the parade route will be reversed. Marchers will gather in Logan Circle around 12:45 p.m. and end in Stead Park, where activities and live entertainment will keep the festivities going at Stead Park.
“With dance groups and music, this year we really wanted to have entertainment for kids, by kids,” Myers said. “It’s amazing to see how the community comes together, so we changed the entertainment to maintain the interest of everyone who attends.”
No matter how big the parade gets or how much it changes as the years go on, Myers and Simmons hope to keep their original purpose in mind.
“It’s a great way for kids and their families to really enjoy Halloween,” Myers added. “That’s just something we really want to continue bringing to the community and making it better and better.”
Myers said that she’s searching for five more volunteers to “wrangle” goblins, hand out candy at Whole Foods and Lululemon on P Street and generally monitor the crowd. Click here for more information on how to volunteer.
Photos courtesy of Little Goblins Parade