Knowing when to speak and when not to speak is an art unto itself. At countless meeting you can watch someone interrupt someone else and think to yourself, “What is that guy doing”, and then 15 minutes later have a brilliant point you have to make at that very moment so you become the interrupter. The art of active listening, of being sure to pay very close attention to what other people are saying instead of just thinking about what you’re going to say next is difficult to master. However, I think it’s one of the most important things you can do – if you can’t really listen to people, then you’re not having a conversation with them. Instead, you’re just passively talking, waiting for your turn, talking, waiting for your turn, ad infinitum. This is why debates or TV news shows with pundits can be so infuriating – there really isn’t a debate, the people with their platform come on to repeat their message ad nauseum until they hope it manages to sink in just by the very nature of it being repeated so much. Reminds me a little bit of advertising. I’m guilty of this to, so feel free to point the finger at me the next time I interrupt someone. I’m going to try my best to become a better listening, and I think you should too (assuming you’re not already). Try and slow things down, take a deep breath, and relax a bit when you think you have to say something that very moment. Saying less instead of more may have the unintended effect of making people listen to your every word. My grandfather used to speak only once in a great while, and when he did, you better believe the entire room was tuned in to what he was going to say. Brilliant.
This week on In The Distract: Spanish rock, French electronica, Rants and raves, puppets, story contests, art outdoors and more!
Wednesday, March 21
One of the benefits of living in DC is being able to meet people from all over the world. You never know who you’re going to run into, and that helps expand your horizons a little bit. Along those lines, you never know who musically is coming to town. I’ve seen plenty of acts here I never would have even thought of back in La La Land, and that’s a good thing. Tonight at U St Music Hall, one of the most famous Spanish rock groups, Vetusta Morla, is playing a concert that was organized by the cultural office of the Embassy of Spain. They are huge in Spain and it’s a big deal that they’re playing here… plus it’s just good music! Go expand your horizons. Expand them! $15, 7pm.
Remember when you were a kid, and your parents read you stories at bedtime? Which actually was the dumbest thing to do because stories are amazing, and you would never want to go to sleep as long as there was a great story going on. And even after the story ended up wanted to know about the further adventures of your fateful hero?! Since most of you no longer have parents reading to you (well, who am I to say, you lucky 25 year olds still living at home), why not go hear some crazy stories live?! Tonight at Busboys and Poets, check out Story League’s 5th Story Contest – with the theme of Divas: Stories about the temperamental superstar side of things. Your hostess, Xavier Onassis Bloomingdale (what a name!), will guide you through all the different stories and let both the crowd and judges decide on who wins the cash prize! $10, 9-10:30pm.
Thursday, March 22
There are plenty of brilliant scientists and amazing artists in the DC area. No, really. And for those of you who love the monthly Nerd Nite event and just want more more more (greedy bastards), DASER, or the DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous is just the ticket. It features 4 different presenters who get 15 minutes to talk about their latest work, and this month features talks from an artist, a biologist, a philosopher, and a doctor, so it’s going to be all over the map. FREE, 7-9:30pm.
If instead of the arts and sciences sports is more your thing, then you definitely need to get out to the Verizon Center for some sweet basketball AND dodgeball action. That’s right, courtesy of DC Social Sports Club, $25 gets you a ticket to the Wizards game plus lets you play a game of dodgeball on the floor of the Verizon Center after the game! The Wizards happen to be playing the Pacers, one of the most feared.. (well scary.. well, I guess they’re people too, right?) teams in all of basketball. Go have fun! $25, 7pm basketball, 9:30pm dodgeball. Yup.
Friday, March 23
I know that most of us, when hearing the word puppets, think muppets. But, believe it or not, there are other puppets out there, and they do live in other imaginary worlds that you too can be a part of. I know, I was shocked myself. It’s like when you discovered that beer wasn’t just bud light and miller lite. This week, the Shakespeare Theatre Company has a special presentation of Petrushka, a re-imagining of the Ballet Russes performance of Petrushka by brilliant puppeteer Basil Twist. Also, he has a great name for a puppeteer. The play tells the “tragic love story of three puppets at a Russian carnival. Petrushka, the clown, falls in love with the winsome Ballerina at first sight. The conniving and rich Moor loves the Ballerina as well, and seduces her with beautiful things. She rejects the earnest advances of Petrushka, who, upset and lonely, confronts the Moor.” You will be hard-pressed to find a more interesting way to spend $15 and an hour on a Friday night. $15, 7pm.
Saturday, March 24
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the epic ShamrockFest occuring today, with something like 8,321 bands playing all over RFK Stadium, tons of beer, crazy people running around, and in general plenty of chaos. Dropkick Murpheys are headlining, and as long as you can stand all-day music festivals, you should go! $25, 1-9pm.
If you’d rather skip running around sweating under the sun to some crazy band you’ve never heard of after getting drunk on bud light because hey, it’s mostly water anyway, then take some time to check out the Freer Sackler Gallery’s Japan Spring Celebration. Coinciding with the cherry blossom festival (which you should go to if you haven’t), the celebration includes music, origami, bento boxes with delicious food, and tea! Free, 11am-5pm.
Ever wandered around the city and seen something that looks like art, and been like, whoa that’s cool? Or been to some strange foreign city (wait, there’s life outside of Dupont?) and seen awesome street art all around the world? Well, that’s some public art. And the city probably spent some lettuce to make it happen. Tonight head to the Capitol Skyline Hotel (that of the famous pool parties) to celebrate 5×5 with the MAYOR and the DC Commission on the Arts and the Humanities. 5×5 is a “public art initiative that will result in twenty-ﬁve groundbreaking temporary public art installations that will be installed concurrently throughout D.C”. Hooray! There will be a cash bar, and a lot of people dressed crazy because they are artists. My friend Wilmer is one of the artists (so say Hi! if you see him), and go learn more about the entire 5×5 project. FREE, 7-midnight.
Uncurbed DC is doing a bunch of food tastings on Friday, but they’re already sold out (sorry). However, there are plenty of tickets left for the big afterparty, featuring a DJ, art, music (from said DJ, presumably), and a lightshow. Plus apparently DC Slices will be serving pie. Because pie makes everything better. Also, this may or may not just be a rave, like in highschool. Remember highschool? I sure don’t. $10, 10pm-3am.
Sunday, March 25
In DC, brunch is a lot of things, brunch is difficult, brunch is life. (Big ups if you know that quote). We all love brunch. Just admit it. I see you sneaking over to Birch and Barley for that crazy donut sandwich deal (that’s not even on the menu and what is the point of killing yourself that quickly over a donut but whatever). What about combining your obvious nerdiness with brunch and booze?! And getting together random crazy people. This sounds like a plan. On Sunday head out to thirst: ROMP, with your ticket getting you 2 drink tickets, food from a waffles food truck (of course there’s one of those), and all kinds of cool learning opportunities! Data visualization! Molecular Biology! And some lions and tigers probably. I am so there! $30, 1-4pm.
Oh, so you can’t get enough of the international music? Love Daft Punk and associated crazy French dance music? 930 Club has you covered, with a performance by the Housse de Racket. I love this writeup so much I am just posting it here for you to be blown away by:
Amongst all the complex harmonies, from the futuristic chaos (Human Nature and Chorus) to the timeless pop anthems (Château and Roman), Housse de Racket has given new life to a certain psychedelic heritage. And yet it relates far more to today’s era of electro pyro-technicians than to the prog-rockers of yesteryears.
Monday, March 26
Continuing the music from elsewhere theme, tonight head down to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage to check out a free concert by Luminescent Orchestrii, which, if you’ll believe the bio, sounds like “Romanian gypsy melodies, punk frenzy, salty tangos, hard-rocking klezmer, haunting Balkan harmony, hip-hop beats, and Appalachian fiddle, all eaten and spit out by two violins, resophonic guitar, bullhorn harmonica, and bass”. I’ll be honest, I have no idea what klezmer is. But is sounds crazy. Or should I say krazy?! Free, 6pm.
Tuesday, March 27
Between Bill Maher and Peter Griffin, the rant has been elevated to an art form. I tend to go on them myself, from time to time. You should really give it a try sometime. In fact, tonight’s event gives you the chance to go on a rant in front of plenty of people, who will most likely totally agree with everything you say because you’re always right. Obviously. Leon from the awesomely hilarious blog Listen To Leon and Champion Sounds are combining forces to give you some music along with an open mic to rant away in an event known as “You Know What Really Grinds my Gears“. Since you skipped that massage I told you you should get, go do this instead. It’s about as stress relieving. FREE, sign up 9pm, rants at 10pm.
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