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by Tim Regan — February 10, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Capitol CannashowCanna-fans will gather downtown next Saturday to swap ideas and celebrate the one year anniversary of the legalization of marijuana in D.C.

During the convention, dubbed the “Capitol CannaShow,” attendees will be able to hear from such speakers as Capitol Hemp owner and weed activist Adam Eidinger and Charlo Greene, the activist and businesswoman who famously quit her news reporter job on live television.

Before and after the speakers’ presentations, guests can learn about the D.C. medical marijuana program or dive into the world of wine, food and cannabis pairings. (more…)

by Tim Regan — February 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Magic Bullet spread

Need something to read? The latest issue of D.C.’s free comic book newspaper, Magic Bullet, is out.

Inside the book, readers will find one-page comics and illustrations from dozens of locally sourced contributors, all organized and edited by small press comic book collective DC Conspiracy. This is the semi-annual newspaper’s 12th issue since it launched in 2010.

Here’s where to find new issues, sorted by the neighborhoods where they’re distributed: (more…)

by Tim Regan — February 2, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Commedia Dell MediaA group of journalists who live and work in D.C. will try to hack it as comedians during this year’s Commedia dell Media show at DC Improv (1140 Connecticut Ave. NW).

The event, which returns from a two-year hiatus on Feb. 25, will pit 10 media members against one another in a standup comedy showdown.

Here’s the full lineup from the Commedia dell Media webpage:

Hosted by full-time Washington Post reporter and part-time professional comedian Elahe Izadi, the charitable competition will showcase the comedic stylings of Bethonie Butler (Washington Post), Sadie Dingfelder (Washington Post), Harry Jaffe (Washingtonian), Dylan Matthews (Vox), Zachary Pincus-Roth (Washington Post), Will Rahn (Daily Beast), Alex Rogers (National Journal), Jessica Sidman (Washington City Paper), Tim Starks (Politico), and Jenn Tisdale (Brightest Young Things).

Will the Post rely on strength in numbers? Can Washington City Paper‘s Jessica Sidman use her newly minted celebrity status to gain the crowd’s favor? Does Washingtonian’s Harry Jaffe just totally have this in the bag? It’s clearly a toss-up.

The show will also feature performances by Commedia dell Media’s 2013 winner Natalie McGill and former competitor Alexandra Petri, who will appear for the first time in public as her viral Internet alter ego, Emo Kylo Ren.

All proceeds from the event “will help support the Journopalooza Fund’s goal to protect and assist journalists operating in Syria and other conflict areas.” Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased here.

Photo courtesy of Commedia del Media

by Andrew Ramonas — January 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm 0

Golden Cinema (Photo via Golden Triangle Business Improvement District)

The organizers of “Farragut Fridays” already are thinking about what movies they should screen outdoors later this year, before the snow even melts from the square.

The Golden Triangle Business Improvement District on Saturday opened voting for its “Golden Cinema” flicks during its Farragut Fridays festivities from May 20 to July 22. The films, which will have a “Hail to the Chief” theme, will play at sunset.

Locals can visit the Golden Triangle BID’s website to select the top five movies they want to see. Voting ends Feb. 10.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — January 19, 2016 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

Metro play, photo courtesy of Pinky Swear Productions

What’s the most memorable thing that ever happened to you on the Metro? A local theater company wants to know.

Brittany Willis, a playwright with women’s theater group Pinky Swear Productions, launched a survey to collect “unforgettable public transportation stories” last week. The idea, Willis said, is to incorporate some of those submissions into a new play she hopes write later this year.

“I am using the WMATA Metro as a framing device for small stories and experiences on the Metro,” Willis said. “We want the horror stories. People getting caught on the train for two hours. Those kind of stories.” (more…)

by Tim Regan — January 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm 6 Comments

Peppermint Pony

(Updated on Friday, Jan. 15: The Peppermint Pony will no longer bring its miniature equines. Instead, Big D’s Pony Rides will supply two ponies.)

Two real live ponies will visit 14th Street NW this weekend.

Constellation Theatre Company will host a “pony pop-up” in front of Source (1835 14th Street NW) this Sunday between noon and 3 p.m. The pop-up will star two precious ponies that passers-by will be able to feed and pet. (more…)

by Andrew Ramonas — January 11, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

Singer David Bowie has died. But love for the Thin White Duke endures around town.

Several locals and area businesses have taken to social media to pay homage to his music and his time in the District.

Do you have a tribute to Bowie you want to share? Tweet it at us or write it in the comments. We might include it in this post later today.

Here’s what some people are saying:

(more…)

by Tim Regan — December 31, 2015 at 10:00 am 0

Graffiti spoiler, photo via kken

(SPOILER ALERT: Click here to view the unblurred version of the above photo.)

Some street artists are neighborhood beautifiers. Others are provocateurs. And some — like the people behind the Gare, Voyer, and Crot graffiti tags — apparently like to spoil movies from time to time.

A Borderstan reader spotted this “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” spoiler spray painted on a discarded box spring in Shaw yesterday morning.

“It was along the Q Street bike lane just east of 7th Street,” the reader told us in an e-mail. “I rode past it and had to go back to make sure I saw what I thought I saw.”

Though little is known about the artists behind these tags, their names can be seen spray painted on walls and stuck to street signs and light poles across the area. According to local curiosity catalogue Stuck in D.C., “Gare and Voyer are two different taggers in the same crew,” and Crot is a ubiquitous artist who also goes by the handle C-ROT and Crotch Rot.

Photo courtesy of kken

by Andrew Ramonas — December 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

Fighting Elvis (Photo via Astro Pop Events)

Burlesque performers and unusual boxing contenders are set to pay homage to Elvis Presley through a “fight club” meeting in Columbia Heights next month.

Billed as “the most bizarre way to celebrate the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s birthday,” the annual theatrical performance is slated to bring “sexy, subversive and surreal content” to the GALA Hispanic Theatre (3333 14th St. NW) Jan. 8 and 9, according to a news release.

In past performances at GALA, “Bridezilla” and “Godzilla” have duked it out, and “Diane Rehm” and “Stephen Hawking” have engaged in fisticuffs, all in honor of Presley. But the combatants in the latest version of Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club won’t be revealed until the shows start.

Between the bouts, burlesque performers also will take the stage and something called the “Quaalude Toss” will happen.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — November 18, 2015 at 11:00 am 1 Comment

corner of 13th and lArlington 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

by Andrew Ramonas — November 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm 0

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.”

by Tim Regan — November 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm 0

Church Night TV Promo

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

by Jordan-Marie Smith — November 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

Photo by ToddRoeth

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.

by Tim Regan — November 4, 2015 at 9:40 am 0

Bei Bei, photo via National Zoo

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

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