ToDo ToDay: An Indie-Rock Festival Weekend
Say you like contemporary classical music, but the National Symphony’s recent offerings favor Mozart and Beethoven. Don’t fret—the New York City Ballet has you covered. This weekend, the company performs to works by American icon John Adams, contemporary Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov, and 20th-century classics by Bernstein and Gerswhin. But there’s a catch: You have to stare at gorgeous ballerinas while you listen. Through Sunday, the New York City Ballet, which started performances on Tuesday, presents two programs notable for their live music as much as their movement. Tonight’s show includes “Fearful Symmetries,” Adams’ mesmerizing, synthesized mini-symphony, with choreography by company director Peter Martins. It’s sandwiched between two homages to Broadway: “Who Cares?”, a suite of Gershwin’s songs choreographed by George Balanchine, and an abridged version of Bernstein’s West Side Story, with choreography that Jerome Robbins adapted from the film. (Don’t expect Tony-worthy vocals, but yes, the dancers sing!) Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, the company performs three 21st-century ballets, leading with another Martins/Adams collaboration, the piano duet “Hallelujah Junction.” Martins’ choreography can be a bit bland, but recent works by Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky add considerable intrigue. The company performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Kennedy Center Opera House, 2700 F St. NW. $25–$85. kennedy-center.org.(202) 467-4600. (Rebecca J. Ritzel)
The influential indie-rock zine chickfactor celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend, with a lineup for which any pop-underground geek ought to swoon: Friday's show includes Belle & Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson, Frankie Rose, Honeybunch, and Dot Dash; Saturday's lineup features a reunited Black Tambourine, plus Lilys, Lorelei, and Fan Modine. Why does chickfactor matter? We wrote about that here. How did Black Tambourine become one of the heavyweights of sweet, noisy indie pop? David Malitz decodes that here. Why should you go? For the love of pop, of course. The shows take place 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $27 per day; $45 two-day pass.
Also Friday and Saturday is garage-punk label Windian Records' annual two-day bash. Night 1 features two obscure '70s punk bands that Windian has helped remove from history's dustbin—The Penetrators from Syracuse, N.Y., and The Bizarros from Akron, Ohio—plus Charlotte, N.C.'s Paint Fumes and D.C.'s Suns of Guns and Foul Swoops. Then, Saturday: D.C.'s Thee Lolitas, Doozies, and The Shirks, and Milwaukee's Static Eyes. 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Montserrat House, 2016 9th St. NW. $15 per day.
In search of more loud, sweet pop anthems? Local power-poppers Title Tracks should bring plenty at the top of a bill with Teen Mom and Teenage Aviation. 10 p.m. at Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. $10.
For last week's Best of D.C. issue, I named Buck Hill, the octogenarian tenor saxophonist known as the District's "Wailin' Mailman," the city's "Best Elder Statesman." I wrote, "Hill no longer conquers jam sessions; he’s only an occasional stage presence these days...though he’s lost none of the mighty swing and cocksure, paint-peeling tone from his heyday." And just because Hill doesn't often fight the wars doesn't mean he doesn't have a seat in the winner's circle. In fact, he's reached an age and living-legend status that guarantees him a spotlight gig just about anytime he wants one in this town. He also has the respect of jazz artists that will happily line up to play with him on those gigs. In this case, that includes some of the city's established longtime favorites: trumpeter Thad Wilson, pianist John Ozment, bassist Cheyney Thomas, and drummer Keith Killgo. That's an all-star quintet, with a big bright one shining in the front. The Buck Hill Quintet performs at 9 and 11 p.m. at Twins Jazz, 1344 U St. NW. $18. (Michael J. West)
Hundreds of people coming together to practice yoga on the National Mall is a beautiful dream, but it might have its downsides: Too many many people in Spandex! The Washington Monument might fall on everyone! And what if the U.S. Park Police think yoga looks too much like dancing? But maybe such anxiety is proof that we need yoga after all. Plus, because this year marks the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, the group yoga event is aiming high—even higher than hundreds of butts in the air during downward dog. Local experiential ambient-music duo Bluebrain, which is soundtracking the event, attached a heart-rate monitor to event leader Alison Adams as she went through the poses she planned for the day. Bluebrain came away with a tempo map that will form the backbone of their music, rising and falling depending on the session’s intensity. All levels are welcome to join. Bring your own mat—and running shoes, just in case the Washington Monument decides to enter plank pose. Cherry Blossom Yoga begins at 10 a.m. at the Sylvan Theater, Independence Avenue and 15th Street SW. Free. facebook.com/CherryBlossomYogaDC. (Brooke Hatfield)
Need a briefer in slow bounce? This year's Bounce Beat Teen Awards lines up all the best young guns in go-go music, including Bounce Beat Kingz (aka TCB), TOB, XIB, ABM, and way more. 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at The Scene, 2221 Adams Place NE. $20 at DTLR stores.
The New Brunswick, N.J., power-punk trio Screaming Females has played D.C. at least half a dozen times in the past few years, and it’s still almost impossible to imagine the band putting on a bad show. The group’s live performances have a gale-force intensity—rare on the indie circuit today— that radiates from frontwoman Marissa Paternoster’s fabled guitar riffage. Remember that all-star, all-dude shred-off that closed the Grammys this year with Paul McCartney noodling alongside Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, and Joe Walsh? The only reason they didn’t invite Paternoster is that she would have made them all look bad. (And old.) The Screamales are touring in support of their new, Steve Albini-produced album Ugly, which is finally attracting the media attention that the band has deserved for years. Catch them tonight while you can still say you saw them knock the wind out of a small room. Those days are surely numbered. Screaming Females performs with The Gift and Laura Stevenson and The Cans at 8 p.m. at Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. blackcatdc.com. (202) 667-7960. (Lindsay Zoladz)
Two big endorsements from our critics: Trey Graham says the tortured, experimental Strange Interlude is worth your time investment, not least because it manages to cram in some laughter. That's at Shakespeare Theatre Company. And Rebecca J. Ritzel has high praise for Synetic Theater's stylish, silent, and gloriously revisionist take on The Taming of the Shrew.
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