Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Tuesday, July 30
We talk about Washington being a beer town, but it's also true that the cocktail scene has never been better. Looking for a solid grounding in recent trends? Vinoteca mixologist Horus Alvarez tackles them in a special class called "What D.C. Is Drinking." He'll discuss the raft of new locally produced spirits, such as Wasmund's Whiskey and Green Hat Gin, and explain current bar buzzwords, such as barrel-aged cocktails. And because the class is interactive, participants will actually get to hop behind the bar and a mix a few drinks, such as the Rickey. Admission includes four cocktails and light appetizers. Reservations required at 202-332-9463 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"One Night With Janis Joplin" is all about listening to Mary Bridget Davies inhabit Janis Joplin, so it makes sense that Arena Stage is taking the next step and inviting the audience to do a little karaoke of its own. After Tuesday night's performance, the theater is hosting the Live Karaoke After-Party, where keyboardist Jill Parsons will perform rock, pop and show tunes while the crowd sings along. You don't even need a ticket for the show to attend: Just show up at 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, August 1
Hip-Hop Karaoke is back at Liv, and this month's theme is Jay-Z vs. Kanye West. So whether you're Team Yeezus or Team Hov, throw up your Roc diamond and do your best to inhabit each superstar's persona in front of a crowd of rabid hip-hop fans. Choose from dozens of songs while DJ Reets and DJ Roz provide the beats, and you even get your own hype man.
Melodic local indie rockers Paperhaus have kept busy with a string of shows since releasing its "Lo Hi Lo" EP in May. While headlining the Rock and Roll Hotel is pretty awesome, that setting can't compare with the secret garden behind the Heurich House in Dupont Circle, where the Pink Line Project is sponsoring another of its Glow Sessions. Bring a picnic and enjoy the music, but you may want to get tickets in advance.
The new Bardo beer garden in Trinidad has started a nightly movie series, showing movies on a large projection screen inside its front gate. While many of the selections have been predictable so far – think "Caddyshack" and "Animal House" – every Thursday will be dedicated to films shot in Washington. This week's pick is "D.C. Cab," the 1983 "classic" starring Mr. T, Gary Busey and Paul Rodriguez as hapless but goodhearted taxi drivers. (It's really worth seeing for the early-80s views of U Street.) The film starts at 9, and there's no cover charge, which means more cash to spend on the 20 draft beers.
Friday, August 2
Brett's anthemic, balearic electro-pop is a natural summer soundtrack. Ra Ra Rasputin plays funky post-punk in the manner of Liquid Liquid and Gang of Four, as evidenced on the bubbling new single, "Living Room." The two bands are at the top of an all-local bill at the Rock and Roll Hotel sponsored by D.C. Music Download.
After 45 years of doom-laden heavy metal, Black Sabbath finally scored its first number-one record in America with the new “13.” That’s the perfect excuse to spend a night celebrating with Ozzy Osbourne at Jiffy Lube Live.
Hip-hop dancer and thespian Paige Hernandez has quietly been assembling a great body of work that places her life as a b-girl center stage in the theater world. Well, maybe not so quietly anymore, as her shows have consistently sold out and been well received on the festival circuit. Along with band leader Kris Funn, actor/rapper Baye Harrell and singer Akua Allrich, Hernandez is bringing her "Liner Notes" show back to the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE for a weekend engagement. "Liner Notes" brings to life the formative experience - dying out in the digital age - of falling in love with music through the engrossing text on the backs of records, in tape sleeves and in CD booklets.
Saturday, August 3
The Summer Spirit Festival has evolved into one of the season's must-attend events, as the biggest names in modern soul music share the stage with D.C.'s own treasures. It gives some folks - and probably some of the visiting artists themselves - their first taste of go-go music. Jill Scott, Chuck Brown, Estelle and the Foreign Exchange are among the artists who have played the all-day event. This year, Erykah Badu tops the billing, as well as D'Angelo, who has been rewarding long-suffering fans on his comeback tour. Busta Rhymes, Hiatus Kaiyote, Black Alley Band and Rare Essence, known to hometown fans as the Wickedest Band Alive, round out the lineup at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
America Hearts plays jangling, tuneful indie rock in the mold of a younger, female-fronted Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Teen Girl Scientist Monthly is a six-person Brooklyn band whose "Summer Skin" is a sharp blast of seasonal power pop. This pairing on the Black Cat's main stage should inspire plenty of dancing.
Sunday, August 4
In many ways, the Wonderland Ballroom was the perfect bar for Columbia Heights in 2004. Before 11th Street was crowded with tacos, barbecue and wine bars, Wonderland was the only hangout for the 20-something residents of the neighborhood's burgeoning group houses, offering cheap beer, no-cover DJ dance parties, jam sessions from hip local bands and a home to a thriving singles scene. As the neighborhood has gentrified, Wonderland has found a new audience, but the jukebox is still killer, Delirium Tremens is still the house beer and summer is still welcomed at a day party where women - and men - wear sundresses while raising money for neighborhood charities. The bar is throwing open its doors for its ninth anniversary, which means an all-night happy hour, food specials and music by Ian and Friends.