Arts Desk

ToDo ToDay: The Return of Balbed

It was probably inevitable that Elijah Jamal Balbed, Washington City Paper's Best New Jazz Musician in 2010, would eventually move on to greener pastures. Yes, Balbed, like so many gifted musicians before him, has made the pilgrimage to New York. Frankly we're lucky to have had him around here for as long as we did. But on the other hand, Balbed has established such a sterling reputation and demand around these parts that he says he's probably playing more gigs in D.C. right now than in his new home; certainly he can be seen at least once a week on the bandstand with the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. Add to that leadership of his own hefty, straightahead quintet, packed full of D.C. greats: Donvonte McCoy on trumpet, Andrew Adair on piano, Eliot Seppa on bass, and CV Dashiell III on drums. If this is the kind of combo Balbed brings together when he comes back to town, there's no reason to despair his leaving. The EJB Quintet performs at 6 p.m. on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. Free. (Michael J. West)

MUSIC

Wild Flag's show tonight at 9:30 Club is, predictably, sold out. They covered Fugazi over the weekend. I bet they'll do that again tonight. Um: Anyone got a spare ticket? With Hospitality tonight at 7 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. (202) 265-0930.

BOOKS

Joyce Carol Oates reads from her book Mudwoman, which centers on the tortured interior life of the first woman to be named president of an august, unnamed university in New Jersey (ahem). At 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.

EAT

Witness the return of Washington's most famous Italian chef. Roberto Donna is running the kitchen at La Forchetta, which opens tonight in Wesley Heights near American University. Try the Neapolitan pizzas, prepared in a piping, 700-degree-plus wood-burning oven, located smack in the center of the restaurant. Owner Hakan Ilhan boldly predicts that you'll like these pies better than the ones at 2 Amys. A dozen savory styles are available, ranging from the traditional margherita ($12.95) to a salted egg, pecorino and raw fennel-topped pie ($13.95), plus a few dessert varieties. The menu also includes various calzones, risottos, homemade pastas and sausages. The main dishes feature, among other things, a cornish hen ($16.95) and organic veal skirt steak ($19.95). La Forchetta, 3201 New Mexico Ave. NW, (202) 244-2223. (Chris Shott)

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