Arts Desk

ToDo ToDay: Howard Theatre Opens, Van Dyke Parks Plays Twice!

You have two opportunities to see musician, arranger, and composer Van Dyke Parks tonight. Parks, best known for his collaborations with The Beach Boys/Brian Wilson and his elaborate orchestral arrangements of American pop, performs at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage at 6 p.m. (for free), then at 9:30 p.m. at the Hamilton (for $22.50-$38). 2700 F St. NW and 600 14th St. NW, respectively.

The refurbished Howard Theatre officially opens this afternoon with a community event featuring performers, a ribbon cutting, and speakers. If you've got the day off, stop by and get in line for a public tour of the new space. (And check out our feature on the renovated theater in last week's paperWith photos!) If you don't have the day off, consider purchasing a ticket for tonight's Wale/Loud Pac/Tabi Bonney show—the first public concert at the new theater. Community Day begins at 11:30 a.m. at 620 T St. NW. Free. The concert begins at 9 p.m. $35.

Meanwhile, down the street at Lincoln Theatre, it looks like we can expect something from Wilmer Wilson IV. Writing about this year's 5x5 Project, arts contributor Kriston Capps recently said, "follow Wilmer Wilson IV, a bright new D.C. light who, covered in postage stamps, will attempt to mail himself from three different post offices in an homage to Henry 'Box' Brown, a slave who actually did mail himself to freedom." 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. Free.

Professional wrestling contains multitudes. Despite the fact that most cosmopolitan adults will only admit to watching it for the nostalgia trip, the on-screen product itself has never been more “real”—sometimes painfully so. Over the past year, World Wrestling Entertainment’s greatest drama has stemmed from the rise of CM Punk, a brash, straight-edge, self-aware, and technically gifted Chicagoan. His constant needling of authority has produced in-ring contractual negotiations, board meetings, and other such “real” dialogue. (Admittedly, the anti-authority card has been played before—about a decade ago, Stone Cold Steve Austin went on tape clocking WWE’s bedridden chairman Vince McMahon with his own bedpan.) But no matter how “real” the story arcs may curve, there’s no better way to experience professional wrestling than catching a live show. There, without the running commentary from bloviating announcers or commercial breaks hawking adolescent wares, you can witness for yourself the most “real” thing about wrestling: that these people throw their bodies around like ragdolls and manage (usually) to walk out of the ring alive, only to do it again the next night in some other town. The show, featuring John Cena and CM Punk vs. Kane and Jericho, begins at 8:15 p.m. at the Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. $20–$75.  (800) 745-3000. (Aaron Morrissey)

EAT THIS

Folks with celiac disease don’t normally get to enjoy the various beer-pairing dinners at Birch & Barley. At least not without some rather unpleasant autoimmune response. Tonight, though, the beer-centric restaurant is changing things up with a big spread that is entirely free of barley, wheat and other gluten-laden substances, all paired with gluten-free ciders from around the world. Chef Kyle Bailey’s planned menu includes corn pasta with braised tripe, fava bean shoots and chickpeas, as well as a grilled flank steak with poached quail egg and roasted red peppers. Some of the featured ciders, meanwhile, are entirely new to the District. The meal is $73 per person. Birch & Barley, 1337 14th Street NW, (202) 567-2576. (Chris Shott)

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