Author Archive for Mike Paarlberg

Musical Wheelchairs: Why Did the Kennedy Center Eject Patrons From Some of its Priciest Seats?

When it comes to opera, Dan and Nancy Gamber of the District are fans in the serious, face-painting and tailgating sense of the word, if such practices existed for opera. Their career in the Foreign Service has taken them around the world and inside the planet's most famous opera houses in Sydney, London, and Paris. [...]

Finnish Him! Pekka Kuusisto and the NSO at the Kennedy Center, Reviewed

You know the Kennedy Center is hosting its annual international festival when strange, overpriced new tchotchkes begin to appear in its gift shops. Right now the center is selling sleekly designed toys made of wood veneer and polyurethane—the kind that are too nice for kids to actually play with—so it would seem that this year's [...]

What Did D.C.’s Punk and Go-Go Scenes Mean to Each Other in the 1980s?

Sunday’s “D.C. Funk-Punk Throwback Jam” at the 9:30 Club rounds out a trifecta of events looking back at D.C.’s cultural underground in the '80s, along with the Corcoran’s Pump Me Up exhibit and the debut of the documentary film The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan. Appropriately, its mixed bill showcases D.C.’s two best known musical [...]

Urban Verbs, PCP, and Pink Pants: “Pump Me Up” In Photos

1980s D.C. is imbued with a mystical aura for certain people, thanks in large part to our city’s narcissistic talent for self-documentation. A couple of years ago, I met a 19-year-old kid from Guatemala who was visiting relatives in Virginia. He had a hardcore band back in Guatemala City, and had read Dance of Days [...]

Imperial Overstretch: The In Series’ Clemenza di Tito, Reviewed

Thirteen years ago, imprisoned Italian radical Antonio Negri and Bethesda native literary theorist Michael Hardt published a nearly impenetrable 500-page tome called Empire, and the U.S. government got a new nickname. Their sweeping, neo-Marxist analysis actually described a broader set of actors, from Exxon-Mobil to the IMF, as comprising the new global hegemon. But we’re [...]

Our 10 Favorite Tweets from the “Ian MacKaye” Twitter Account

For those of you who are waiting for Ian MacKaye to join Twitter, it's never going to happen. But at least you can follow ♥ ~*iAn_mAckaYe*~ ♥, a not quite official account re-imagining our revered punk statesman as a 13-year-old girl. Inside jokes for harDCore fans abound, along the lines of @JadedPunkHulk, only less angry [...]

Dan Zhu with the National Symphony Orchestra, Reviewed

For a violin soloist, Dan Zhu is good at being unobtrusive. Chalk it up to shyness, or youth, but either way, it’s not the ideal rep to cultivate in a field that rewards showmanship.
So in his National Symphony Orchestra debut last night, Zhu didn’t take many risks with Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, a safe [...]

A Christmas Carol Smackdown! Olney Theatre vs. Keegan Theatre

A Christmas Carol is like crack to theater companies: do it every year or not at all, but after your first hit, you’re hooked on that sweet holiday revenue. No other play can rake in the kind of cash to pay for the rest of your season, which is why this year we have a [...]

Yo-Yo Ma and Gustavo Dudamel Visit D.C. Today, And You Probably Won’t Get to See Them

... Unless you 1) bought tickets months ago or 2) are a student at Savoy Elementary School.

This morning, superstar cellist and all-around nice guy Yo-Yo Ma came to Savoy Elementary in Anacostia to teach two in-class workshops and give a performance for students. Much like Rancid, Ma sometimes likes to give free surprise gigs at [...]

Holy Cornballs, Batman! Virginia Opera’s Die Fledermaus, Reviewed

Satire is tough to pull off in opera. Die Fledermaus, we are told, is really a sly spoof of 19th century Vienna’s decadent party-hopping upper crust. But to present-day audiences lacking such a point of reference, it just looks like a bunch of rich white people mincing around in silly costumes. Which is pretty much [...]

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