Arts Desk

To Do Today: Erotica Slam, Literature, and Willie Nelson


Looking for a cheap and unconventional midweek activity to attend with a new connection from Tinder? An NSFW poetry slam surely fits the bill: if listening to strangers share X-rated poems and stories in the middle of a crowded bookstore doesn’t break the ice, nothing will. The rules for the shop’s third annual Erotica Slam are simple: Pieces must be about sex and cannot run longer than three minutes. Dirty haiku, tawdry sonnets, and erotic epistles are welcome. Neither fixed form nor seriousness are requirements, and at the show’s conclusion the audience gets to vote for the dirtiest ditty of the bunch. Read more >>> The event begins at 8 p.m. at Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe, 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 387-3825. (Amrita Khalid)


Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken continues its kick-off in Falls Church today by giving away 50 sets of five chicken fingers (a whole chicken hand!) to the first customers at 5 p.m. The new locale has a larger menu and space than the original shop with new additions like egg-and-bacon sandwiches plus tater tots. Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, 7511 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. (703) 356-0800. Sidman)


Philadelphia-based rock band Literature headlines the Black Cat Backstage tonight. Baltimore jangle-pop band Expert Alterations and D.C.-based shoegaze quartet the Rememberables open the show. 7:30 p.m. at 1811 14th St. NW. $10. Read more To Do Today: Erotica Slam, Literature, and Willie Nelson

Arts Roundup: Soundcheck Edition

Soundcheck, D.C.'s newest venue for EDM, is exactly what today's dance-culture resurgence ordered. [Arts Desk]

Two reportedly drunk women at Signature Theatre's The Fix stumbled onstage, then backstage, during the show to find a bathroom. [Post]

Photos of SynchroSwim, Washington Project for the Arts' annual synchronized swimming and performance-art show at the Capitol Skyline pool [DCist]

Profiles of three notable D.C. buskers: Brass Connection, DuPont Brass, and Vasili Frankos [DC Music Download]

Photos of Jonny Grave and the Tombstones at the 9:30 Club [BYT]

Listen to Chain & the Gang live at New York City's Bowery Ballroom [nyctaper]

Soundcheck, a New Venue for EDM, is Exactly What Today’s Dance Culture Ordered


Soundcheck, the Panorama Productions-owned nightclub located in the K Street NW space formerly occupied by Lotus Lounge, opened last Wednesday evening. Arts Desk visited the next night, and was greeted with a throwback to an age of dance culture familiar to few under the age of 30. That vibe is a good fit for a city growing, once again, more comfortable with dance music.

We're roughly a decade into dance culture's reascension into the American pop consciousness. Just as nightclubs like Nation, Zei, Eighteenth Street Lounge, Red, and Club Five defined D.C.'s response to dance's national explosion 20 years ago, Soundcheck joins Echostage (which shares its owners), U Street Music Hall, Flash, the still successful Eighteenth Street Lounge, and Tropicalia in serving a growing community of partiers with diverse and mainstreaming interests in EDM and its many variants.

Soundcheck's 4,400-square-foot basement space can hold 300 patrons, who'll dance to a $200,000 soundsystem that pumps out up to 80,000 watts of sound buffered by walls embedded with four inches of soundproofing foam. The sonic treatment of the club eliminates any feedback from the system that would make it difficult to speak at a normal volume to a close neighbor. Soundcheck's claim to be the "quietest club in D.C." may prove to be true.

For those asking the obvious question: Yes, Soundcheck is similar to U Street Music Hall in that both spaces are underground. But there's a definite nod to a more fanciful turn-of-the-21st-century Europop dance vibe in this new space. U Hall is a black box similar to German techno haven Berghain, which is known for its austere sense of cool and stark presentation. The music is the main event at U Hall, above everything else. At Soundcheck, the vibe is about music and dancing, but maybe also about meeting a new mate while sipping a cocktail, spending some time in the roped-off VIP section in the back of the club, and enjoying an intimate version of Echostage's big room nightlife experience.

Read more Soundcheck, a New Venue for EDM, is Exactly What Today’s Dance Culture Ordered

To Do Today: Blackalicious, Howard Jones, and Möbius Strip


More than a decade after its carefully honed album The Craft stunned critics with its technical precision and lyrical gymnastics, Sacramento, Calif., hip-hop duo Blackalicious finally returns with new beats. Members Gift of Gab and Chief XCel plan to self-release their fourth full-length album, Imani, Vol. 1, on Sept. 18; the two subsequent parts of what’s expected to be a trilogy will come out over the next two years. For the unfortunate souls who can’t get Daniel Radcliffe’s politely accented rendition of Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics” out of their heads, the new tracks will provide merciful relief. Read more >>> Blackalicious performs with Future Band and New Breed Brass Band at 8 p.m. at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. $25–$45. (202) 803-2899.


Try ShopHouse today and get a free Chipotle burrito as well. When you buy a bowl at the fast-casual Southeast Asian restaurant today (Aug. 18), you'll receive a card redeemable for a meal at any Chipotle in the D.C.-area through Aug. 31. (Jessica Sidman)


D.C.-based punk band Möbius Strip plays the Black Cat Backstage with local dance-punk act Booby Trap (which, full disclosure, features City Paper's arts editor on vox and keys) and brand-new synth-punk group Psychic Subcreatures. 7:30 p.m. at 1811 14th St. NW. $10. Read more To Do Today: Blackalicious, Howard Jones, and Möbius Strip

Arts Roundup: Wonder Why Edition

An interview with Sophie McTear, who designs the Comet Ping Pong posters for Sasha Lord [BYT]

Stevie Wonder played a free, surprise show yesterday morning to promote his upcoming tour, which will hit the Verizon Center in October. [DCist]

DCity Smokehouse competed against other barbecue joints on Ice-T's talk show. [Washingtonian]

Howard University alumnus Clifton Ross III is a finalist on BET's gospel-singing competition, Sunday Best. [Post]

Adams Morgan Day wasn't going to happen this year, but a few businesses have resurrected it. [DC Music Download]

Clay Aiken visited Arena Stage to see Dear Evan Hansen, which shares his music director. [Post]


To Do Today: “Summer Hummer: Foreplay,” Shark Week, and Secret Sisters

Summer Hummer (3361)The male revues that have passed through the region in the wake of Magic Mike XXL may have let ticket buyers down, but lovers of fit, hunky men who can dance (and sing! and act!) ​should hold out hope that Signature Theatre’s fourth annual “Summer Hummer” show won’t disappoint. More than 60 D.C.-area performers will appear onstage in various states of undress at the annual cabaret variety show, which Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer will direct. Come out to support the cause, bring cash to tuck into a dance belt, and ​be there for the big reveal​. Read more >>> The show begins at 7:30 p.m. at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington. $35. (703) 820-9771. J. Ritzel)


Restaurant Week has returned yet again. You know the drill: $22 for a three-course lunch and $35 for three-course dinner at more than 250 restaurants across the D.C. area. Newbies this go-round include Centrolina, China Chilcano, Stanton & Greene, and Fig & Olive. More veteran restaurants like BlackSalt, Bombay Club, and Old Ebbitt Grill are also offering deals. Find the full list of participating restaurants at (Jessica Sidman)


Alabama-bred country act Secret Sisters brings its down South anthems and folk-tinged covers of popular songs to the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. 6 p.m. at 2700 F St. NW. Free.

Read more To Do Today: “Summer Hummer: Foreplay,” Shark Week, and Secret Sisters

Arts Roundup: Uke Fest Edition

Before her not-so-secret show at the Howard Theatre on Saturday, Janelle Monáe led a Black Lives Matter rally at the Justice Department. [Post]

D.C. theaters stage more plays by women than New York City, L.A., and Philly. Only Chicago mounts more. [Washingtonian]

The Strathmore's ukelele festival, by the numbers [Post]

In Fact's new video feature of Kali Uchis, the soul-pop vocalist goes record shopping at Som Records and Joint Custody. [Bandwidth]

Photos of Basement, Adventures, LVL UP, and Palehound at the 9:30 Club [DCist]

A chat with Miranda Rose Hall, an area playwright whose play How We Died of Disease-Related Illness is now showing at the Callan Theatre [DC Theatre Scene]

WPA’s 5th Annual SynchroSwim


More photos from WPA's 5th Annual SynchroSwim at Capitol Skyline Hotel, August 15th.
© 2015 Matt Dunn

Rank & Groove: Strike Two for Chiu Edition


To Do This Weekend: Lyle Lovett, Sumac, and The Importance of Being Earnest


Does Lyle Lovett even need to make records anymore? He is years past his most memorable original work and yet most of the good seats are already gone for his Wolf Trap show and the lawn will likely be full, too, of fans in search of an evening of laidback songs and some Texas humor. Lovett and his Large Band rarely fail to deliver, alternating between original favorites like “Here I Am” and “Church,” and an array of eclectic covers of artists like Ida Cox, Townes Van Zandt, and the Grateful Dead. Read more >>> Lyle Lovett and his Large Band perform at 8 p.m. at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna. (703) 255-1900. (Steve Cavendish)


Del Campo will host the last of its summer rooftop event series tonight with a Cuban fiesta. Chef Victor Albisu will prepare Cuban sandwiches, croquetas, ropa vieja, and more. Tickets, $37, include food and are available here. A cash bar will also serve mojitos, Cuba libres, and daiquiris. After the event, which lasts from 7 to 10 p.m., Del Campo will offer cigars and a late night happy hour menu on its patio. Del Campo Rooftop, 900 7th St. NW. (202) 289-7377. (Jessica Sidman)


Friday: Local musician Mark Baughman presents his latest project, a rock opera about love, friendship, and the Occupy movement called 99, at the Black Cat. 9 p.m. at 1811 14th St. NW. $10.

Friday: During your lunch break, head over to MLK Library for a free concert by Mellow Diamond, experimental musician Janel Leppin's new dream-pop project. Noon at 901 G St. NW. Free. Read more To Do This Weekend: Lyle Lovett, Sumac, and The Importance of Being Earnest