Arts Desk

Don’t Be Bored: Better Things Than Fireworks

Sadly, we were down on most of the new movies out this week (Transformers, Trollhunter, Page One), but John Turturro of all people has a gem. Matt Bevilacqua writes: "Eyes may roll at John Turturro’s claim that his new directorial effort is more 'musical adventure' than documentary, but one glimpse at its trailer shows that Passione is indeed more Wim Wenders than D.A. Pennebaker. Taking to the streets of Naples—a city recently remembered for its Mafia-controlled tenements in 2008’s Gomorrah—Turturro delves into the region’s vast musical repertoire, eschewing analysis to capture the sensuality that infuses modern and traditional dance and balladry in the city of Enrico Caruso. Love, sex, poverty, envy, crime, superstition, joy: Everything you’d find in a Verdi opera is on display here." All weekend at West End Cinema.

MUSIC

Once upon a time, two D.C. musicians started a prog band with a former Smashing Pumpkin. Skysaw, which features Jimmy Chamberlin and undoubtedly also features some very lengthy drum solos, makes its local debut. Friday at 9 p.m. at Black Cat.`

Brooklyn trio Pearl and the Beard's newest album is called Killing the Darlings, which sounds self-directed. The stuff is cute: gang vocals, upright bass, horned-rim glasses. Wear seersucker. Friday at 9:30 p.m. at Red Palace.

Mike West says! "Janine Gilbert-Carter has agigantic voice. There's no better word, and it must be written (and said) in italics: Gigantic. Moreover, it's overflowing with soul; let there be no question that Gilbert-Carter has her roots in gospel, having sung in the church since her childhood in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. The intensity of her sound would not be out of place in a blues joint, either—we're talking the archetypal blues joints of period movies, where the singer has to outdo the hubbub of bartenders and rowdy audiences to be heard at all. She does that work, too, and often doesn't distinguish between the two modes. But that, as we know, is what constitutes jazz at its most rootsy and expressive." Read more. Friday at 6 p.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Local jazz up-and-comer Ben Williams, a bassist who's a special thing to see although his debut record is not quite a revelation, has sets Friday and Saturday at Bohemian Caverns.

I don't think I need to tell you why R. Kelly is worth your time. Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Verizon Center.

The Slickee Boys were a mainstay of the old 9:30 Club, and word is that their show tonight at the new one will be their last. The group occupies a weird but very important place in D.C. rock lore, which is why this is a must-attend. John Hansen, the band's roadie, and then soundman, and then guitarist, died last year, so expect some sort of tribute. Sunday at 7 p.m. at the 9:30 Club.

DJ nights! Lots of good ones: Burns v. Burns Friday at U Street Music Hall, We Fought the Big One Friday at Marx Cafe, Party Lights Friday at Black Cat, Kids Saturday at DC9, Happy Sundays, um, Sunday at UHall.

THEATER

Next to Normal, the depressive Tony-winning rock musical incubated at Arena Stage in 2008, is back in town for a short run. At the Kennedy Center to July 10.

Capital Fringe hosts a free preview tonight, which we will totally be live-tweeting. 7 p.m. at Fort Fringe. The fest starts next week, and you should bookmark our Fringe & Purge blog, like, right now.

ART

There's a bunch of First Friday openings, with art and music, at some of the Little Ethiopia restaurants that hosted shows during the confounding but mostly worthwhile Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie festival. Friday at 7 p.m. along 9th St. NW.

Also opening: Betsy Packard at Hillyer Art Space.

AMERICA

Fireworks! I'd suggest staying away from the National Mall on Monday, but if that's your thing go for it. On WETA, it'll be accompanied—again—by minstrel songs.

For a decadent July 4, spend it with BYT at the pool? Sure.

Finally, the Folklife Festival is in full swing. Go see Swamp Dogg.

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