Nightlife Agenda: A world of beer, Digital Mystikz and Christylez Bacon

February 18

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.


Funky, eclectic local hip-hop artist  Christylez Bacon celebrates the release of his new album at the Atlas Performing Arts Center this weekend. (Photo by Yacouba Tanou)

Tuesday, February 18
"The British are coming [back]!" This Tuesday, ChurchKey hosts its second “The British Are Coming” event, featuring 49 beers from some of England’s hottest young breweries, including Magic Rock, Buxton and Siren (don’t miss a rare chance to try the latter’s Limoncello Imperial IPA, a collaboration with cult brewers Mikkeller and Hill Farmstead). Old favorites from Adnams and Coniston also will be for sale as samples or pints.

Straddling the line between chugging Chicago blues and blown-speaker garage rock, Black Joe Lewis and his band have an engrossing, primal sound that recalls any number of '60s electric blues bands as well as such modern revivalists as the White Stripes and the Black Keys. But where Black Joe Lewis stands out is its intensity: The horns, swampy guitars and break-beat drums seem on the verge of exploding at any moment, as Lewis shouts over one vibrant, funky tune after another. He's at the 9:30 Club.

Wednesday, February 19
Flying Dog launches its latest Brewhouse Rarity beer, a Mango Habanero IPA, with a limited tap takeover at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown. The beers include a version of Gonzo Imperial Porter aged in bourbon barrels, and there’s also a special mango/habanero/prosciutto pizza in the works for the night. Brewer Chris Lowe will be on hand to talk about his creation from 5 to 10 p.m.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art’s monthly Corcoran Uncorked happy hour takes a Hitchcockian turn this month, with “The Birds” and “Rear Window” screening in the museum’s auditorium, themed tours of “Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd,” movie trivia games and chance to screen print your own vintage movie poster. As always, there are wine tastings, snacks and music in the Corcoran’s spacious atrium. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the party goes until 9.

Keeping with the theme of culture and happy hour, the Washington Ballet is offering a sneak peek of its upcoming “British Invasion” performances at the Kennedy Center, which feature the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The Jete Society’s beerballet&bubbly includes admission to an open rehearsal at the company's Wisconsin Avenue studios followed by a reception with beer, sparking wine and snacks. All-inclusive tickets are $25.

Thursday, February 20
In the dubstep world, Mala and Coki are heavyweights. The two South London producers DJ together as Digital Mystikz, which is also the name of their 10-year-old record label and a wildly successful club night. In the studio and on tour, the duo’s dark, sometimes eerie sound is underpinned by deep, unrelenting waves of bass. The idea of Digital Mystikz putting U Street Music Hall’s sound system to the test while playing “Anti-War Dub,” “Return II Space” and “Ancient Memories” is thrilling and potentially gut-shaking. American dubstep pioneer Joe Nice handles opening duties.

There’s a local doubleheader of beer events on Thursday: Shaw brewpub Right Proper Brewing is featured at the first History and Hops event of the year at the Heurich House. Try unlimited beers from brewer Nathan Zeender and eat snacks while touring the Victorian Dupont Circle mansion of Washington brewing magnate Christian Heurich.

Meanwhile, ChurchKey is finally hosting a meet-and-greet with Hugh Sisson, the pioneering owner of Baltimore’s Heavy Seas Brewing, formerly known as Clipper City. A cask takeover planned for last Thursday was postponed because of bad weather, but Sisson is bringing five of his casks, including a dry-hopped Loose Cannon IPA and the more traditional British-style Powder Monkey pale ale. Sisson will be working the crowd, so if you’re curious about his new Heavy Seas Alehouse, which will open in Rosslyn in the next few weeks, bring questions.

Due to last week's snow and ice, the Woodrow Wilson House’s annual Speakeasy Bash has been postponed until Feb. 20. Though it's now a week after Valentine's Day, this party at Wilson’s post-White House home still has everything you need for the perfect date night: It’s a chance to dress up, sip Prohibition-era cocktails, dance to jazz by the Laissez Foure quartet, learn about the Lindy Hop and tour the Kalorama museum. Hint, hint: Admission for a couple is cheaper than two solo tickets.

Saturday, February 22
Even if you haven’t been to one of Christylez Bacon’s many shows for kids and adults, it’s likely you’ve seen him out and about. He’s hard to miss: Tall, lanky and always smiling, Bacon looks like a cross between a lost Harlem Renaissance poet and a “What’s Happening” cast member. He’s one of the most unusual members of the D.C. arts community, and his disciplines include hand percussion, guitar, beat-boxing, rapping and storytelling, all with a hint of go-go swing. For the release of his second studio album, Bacon will be performing with the 22-piece Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, the Sweater Set and surprise guests at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Tickets for the 80-minute show are $25 in advance.

You might not be sure what to make of White Denim: The quartet mixes '70s soft-rock melodies, glam-rock grooves, Southern-rock boogie and twisting, psychedelic noodling, sometimes in the same song. The vibe on last year's "Corsicana Lemonade" is retro, but also catchy and irrepressible -- perfect for a Saturday night at the Black Cat.

Who would have guessed that an H Street pizzeria would become the neighborhood’s most essential DJ venue? On the heels of appearances by Talib Kweli and Tony Touch, RedRocks welcomes famed party-rocker Rich Medina. Having founded the legendary Jump N Funk Afrobeat parties in the early 2000s and the New York mainstays Happy Feet (with Bobbito Garcia) and Open at Santos’ Party House (with Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest fame), Medina has more musical cred than most. He’s making his first visit to RedRocks, and there’s no cover charge. Even better: Jahsonic (of Marvin’s Main Ingredient Mondays) and Sharkey are on the bill. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Sunday, February 23
RJD2 has had one of the most successful and broadly sweeping trajectories out of the '90s hip-hop underground. He started out as a producer for Ohio group MHz on Bobbito Garcia's boutique Fondle 'Em label before becoming one of the biggest names in avant-garde hip-hop instrumental music, on par with DJ Shadow, and laying the groundwork for current stars such as Flying Lotus. (For the layperson, RJD2 also is known as the composer behind the "Mad Men" theme music.) He'll bring his decks and drum machines to the 9:30 Club, supported by Washington's own Christine Moritz.

Hill Country’s old-school Barbecue Bingo returns to the Penn Quarter restaurant’s basement boot bar this weekend. There are no drag queens or fancy gimmicks -- just eight games of bingo with food and drink specials and such prizes as concert tickets and dinner for two for the winner of the final coverall game. Bingo runs from 1 to 3 p.m.; there’s a $10 minimum tab per player, which gets you 10 bingo cards.

Monday, February 24
Fifteen years ago, documentary director Marc Levin brought a film called “Slam” to Sundance. “Slam,” which tells the story of a budding poet from a gritty part of D.C. who discovers his calling while in Lorton, walked away with the festival’s Grand Jury Prize. Outside of theaters, “Slam” helped spark renewed interest in slam poetry. This week, three of D.C.’s top poets -- KoM, Ra Brown and E-Baby -- will honor the film’s legacy by appearing at a special anniversary event at Marvin. The trio will perform before a free screening of “Slam,” and members of the cast and crew will discuss the film during a Q&A session. Doors open at 7, and admission is free.

Fritz Hahn has written about bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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Fritz Hahn | February 18