DC really is a happy hour city. Coming from Los Angeles, I was totally unprepared for the relentless assault of horas de feliz from all angles. Every interest group, lobbying shop, art gallery, PR firm, restauranteur, bar, furniture store, non-profit, for-profit, half-profit, can’t-make-a-profit-if-we-tried organization will draw you out to their event with the sweet siren call of alcohol, food, and of course other people. Hey, have a $2 beer. Have a $1 taco. Have a free condom. Whatever. The real reason I think happy hours work? While a good chunk of DC deals with people, there’s a huge community of workers who sit behind desks all day and aren’t really mobile, thus creating a void where they desperately try and fill in their social needs by endlessly chatting on Gchat, Facebook chat, Skype, text message, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, telegraph, and sometimes their voice. Which can admittedly be scary. I hate vocalizing as much as the rest of you, which is why I don’t read this monologue out loud every week on YouTube. But I digress. Being around other people, especially other people that we don’t already know, seems to be the big draw of happy hour. You may ostensibly go to donate a percentage of the bar tab to your favorite charity (news flash, that percentage is almost always around 1%), but really it’s just to meet and greet. Which leads us back to DC – DC is a meet and greet city. If you’re not prepared to talk to total strangers about why the weather went from sunny to cloudy to rainy to cloud to sunny within the past 8 hours (which it did today), you’re never going to create those connections that gets you that cushy job on the board of directors for that bank nobody’s ever heard of. So go out, eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may… have to do it all over again. Cheers!
This week on In The Distract: French shoegazing metal, kites, ancient animated films, public art installations, burlesque, and more!
Wednesday, March 28
The first thing everybody always says to me when they get to DC is “Jon, I know where the museums are. I can see the Washington Monument. Big whoop. Get to me to a burlesque show”. Well everybody, here’s your big chance. The Red Palace is famous for their varieties of burlesque shows, and tonight the Staxx Burly-Q Revue performs for your pleasure. Per the description, Staxx “brings you the best in creative, original, and local burlesque entertainment – starring Kay Sera, Stella Sweet, Helena Coy, Valeria Voxx and Dolly Longlegs”. This will be nothing else if not amazingly entertaining, I predict. $10, Doors 8:30pm, Show 9:30pm.
Thursday, March 29
There are many music festivals that happen around the DC area. All sorts of farmer’s markets. A good amount of neighborhood festivals. Plenty of new building construction. Wait, what? Anyway, what about dance. Dance. DANCE?! Dance in the Circle, coming up in April, is a multiple day festival full of dancing all around Dupont Circle. In anticipation of that event, the organizers are hosting a fund-raising happy hour to raise money and awareness of this sure to be awesome festival. Drink $1 beers, meet and greet some of the other dance enthusiasts in the DC area, and relax, because the week is almost over! $10 (Suggested donation), 6-9pm.
If you’re in the mood for some crazy French music (and who isn’t?) head down to DC9 tonight to see headliners Alcest, a French shoegazing/rock/black metal band that has an awesome sound. Deafheaven opens for them and is from San Francisco, but maintains a similar sound. I’m putting a video of theirs too because they are straight rockin’. Maintain, maintain. Then there are a few other bands too, just cause DC9 knows how to book a show! $12, 7pm doors, 7:30pm show.
Friday, March 30
I think we can all agree that Pearl Jam is the best rock group to ever come out of Seattle in 1990 and release 7 albums. I have many found memories of practicing my best Eddie Vedder impression at home for hours at a time (it’s actually pretty good. NBD). Sadly, it’s not so easy to see Pearl Jam these days. Or is it?! I’m so glad you asked. Tonight at Kelly’s Irish Times, the premiere live-music venue in the DC metro area, Brains of J, a Pearl Jam cover band, performs. Kelly’s also has $4 blue moons and $5 bombs of your choice (Jager bomb, anyone?) all night on Fridays, in case you needed any other reason to go. Free, 10:30pm.
Saturday, March 31
At this point, it’s probably been a while since you’ve seen Mary Poppins. Quick reminder: the best part was the look on the kids face while he was kite flying. Followed by Mary pulling lampshades out of her purse. I can’t really help with the second one (women’s purses remain a mystery to me), but today on the National Mall is the Blossom Kite Festival, where the skies surrounding the Washington Monument will be filled by beautiful aerodynamic (hopefully) kites! There’s an all-day program, including the ability to make your own kite (which I will obviously be indulging in – I need me a kite). Go out, run around, and smile! Free, 10am-4pm.
Saturday nights are big nights. No one has to wake up on Sunday, everyone had Friday night to rest from the crazy week, and the world is ready to be taken over by you and your crew of intrepid adventurers. But wait, how about that one kid that is obsessed about music and keeps dragging you to randomly awesome shows? You don’t want to waste your whole night on one of those, right? Well, All Things Go’s New Noise series has you covered. The show runs from 7-10pm so you can head out from there into the night. This time around, Body Language and ANR will be performing. There’s also an open bar from 7-8pm. Plus, it’s at the Gibson Guitar Showroom, which is a cool spot if you’ve never been. $15, 7-10pm.
Sunday, April 1
Public art is pretty much amazing, and if you went to the 5×5 Project’s party last Saturday (like me!) you probably had a great time. Now that the opening party is over, why not take some time Sunday to check out some of the art? A lot of what’s out there isn’t even art as you may conceive of it – one of the installations is a geo-caching game you play by using your phone’s GPS to find hidden caches of items all over town… like a treasure hunt! Free, all over, any time. Head over to the website to look at some of the locations and art available for you over the next few weeks.
I know how many of you feel about the mustache. Movember may have been a man’s first actual attempt to grow a mustache, and some of my friends liked it so much they stuck with it. Well, they deserve a tax break for all their hard work and purchasing of mustache cleaning supplies, right? Ok I doubt it, but somehow enough people believed the previous statement for an organization called the American Mustache Institute to craft a bill known as the Stache Act that would in fact give taxpayers that break. H&R Block even endorsed the Act. In support of this direly needed legislation, the AMI is hosting a Million Mustache March this Sunday, with.. well.. not quite a million people signed up, but over 350. If you’ve got a mustache, this is clearly a bi-partisan measure that you can get behind, which is hard to come by around these parts. Or feel free to go if you’re just bored on a Sunday and don’t want to check out the art mentioned above. Free, 2-4pm.
Monday, April 2
Animation has a special place in my heart. From Disney films to the Simpsons to Southpark to everything in between, animation is so varied and complex that it can really separate us from our reality in a way a live-action film or show cannot. If you enjoy animation, you may be surprised to find out that the oldest surviving animated feature film is German and known as The Adventures of Prince Achmed. It uses a silhouette technique inspired by shadow puppetry and has a narrative based on stories from the Arabian Nights. Tonight Constellation Theatre will be showing the film and have World percussionist and two-time Helen Hayes Award winner for Outstanding Sound Design Tom Teasley performing live music to the film. $20, 7:30pm.
Tuesday, April 3
Fashion for Paws is a program supporting the DC Humane Society. Come to their Spring Fling Happy Hour to help raise money for the organization and get a chance to win some great stuff through a silent auction. Available items include: a week at a beach house in Bethany Beach (this could be dangerous…), a private piano concert by David Tittsworth (bring your own piano?), a signed copy of Secretary James A. Baker III’s book “Work hard, study.. and keep out of Politics!” (how will signed copies work once everything is an e-book? Sign the back of my Kindle?), and PR & media training or media interviews by Amiee Watts (I hope to never need PR training. I’ll just endlessly loop PR disasters and hope to make a splash by being that one guy that gaffes all day). Support a great cause and enjoy a great happy hour! $5 (suggested donation), 6:30-9:30pm.
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