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This Week in Nightlife

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn and Rhome Anderson
washingtonpost.com Staff Writers
Thursday, April 28, 2005;

Thursday, April 28
R&B singer Joe croons the songs that R. Kelly would pen if he had class and wasn't an alleged sexual deviant. Over the past 12 years, Joe has steadily built a career, not with chart-busting mega-hits but with quiet storm mainstays like "All the Things (Your Man Won't Do)" and the underrated "Faded Pictures," a duet with Case. See him tonight at Zanzibar and be prepared to pay -- $30, to be exact. Also appearing is an artist by the name of Samson. Although we're not familiar with his music, from his photo, he looks like he could be a close relative of Shamar Moore. The ladies will be pleased this evening. Doors open at 5.

Usually, Irish pubs and piano bars occupy completely separate spheres of the nightlife scene. Singing "Piano Man" while hoisting a pint o' Guinness? Not very likely -- until now. O'Faolain's Irish Pub, a comfortable watering hole that's doesn't rely on cardboard shamrocks and Harp mirrors to get its point across, is now offering "Piano Bar Night" every Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30 with pianist Shane McLaughlin. Make requests; sing along to (cheesy) popular favorites; sip $5 martinis and cosmos -- not too many, now, or you may find yourself singing along too often.

_____This Week In Nightlife_____

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Friday, April 29
If you're as addicted to late-night cartoons as we are, you've probably heard the talented MC Chris (a k a Chris Ward) on the Cartoon Network's [Adult Swim]. He provided the voices (and rhymes) of MC Pee Pants and Sir Loin on a few memorable episodes of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and served as Hesh on "Sealab 2021" -- where he was also responsible for the epic "Star Wars" hip-hop tune "Fette's Vette" -- as well as guest appearances on "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" and "The Brak Show." MC Chris is now on a nationwide tour to promote his album "Eating's Not Cheating," and he's stopping off at Cubik tonight. Honestly, we have no idea what to expect, but it's sure to be one of the funniest things in town; and Buzz founder Scott Henry is DJing, so you'll get your fill of dancefloor-filling classics, too. MC Chris is on at 11; arrive between 9 and 10 for an open bar.

Would you cough up $50 to see Chuck Brown, Rare Essence and E.U. back together on the same stage? We've seen tickets for local old-school R&B cabarets going for that much, but they don't have the inimitable atmosphere of a Capital Center go-go show from the '80s. While the sweatsuits, Lotto sneakers and Guess jeans have probably been traded in for slacks and hard-sole shoes by the folks that know what's up, that won't change the level of energy that's sure to bursting out of the D.C. Armory tonight as Chuck and company wind up the faithful.

If you've ever wished you could bask in the splendor of a blinged-out hip-hop music video, you might be able to get a taste at Dream tonight as Pharell Williams of the Neptunes continues the low-impact, high-yield trend of "hosting" a party. Sometimes all you need is to be in the same room with your pop music idol and maybe get a shout-out. As long as the party is crunk, we're not mad. Make sure you hit eVIPlist.com for all the reduced admission business.

When Mantis first came on the scene, it was a cold, empty and puzzling place that folks would walk past not knowing whether or not it was even open. Then the basement opened, the Open Door crew set up shop to pack the place and in short order it was one of the hottest Friday night destinations in Adams Morgan. All good things come to an end though, and with nightlife it's often sooner than later. Join resident DJs Elliott Hui, JL, and Naka as they say goodbye to Mantis and close the most recent chapter of the DJ trio's three-year history.

We haven't urged reggae fans to check out the DC Soundclash in a while, so here's a timely reminder. For classic Jamaican reggae, ska and rocksteady grooves (Prince Buster, Jackie Mittoo, Skatalites, etc.), the Marx Cafe's monthly DJ night is the best place in town. There's no cover, and the music runs from 10 until 2.

In case you missed it, new wave trailblazers New Order released "Waiting for the Siren's Call" on Tuesday, the group's first album in four years. You can hear a number of tracks tonight at Saccharine, the monthly indie-meets-synthpop dance party at Zucchabar, and maybe win a copy of the album for your very own. Get on the promoters' e-mail list for free admission (www.medusapromotions.com) or pay $6 at the door; either way, drinks are free from 9 to 10.

Club-style DJ nights at Panache lounge have been hit or miss when we've dropped by. One Saturday night finds a line halfway down the block and a packed dance floor; next time, the place is half-empty, the atmosphere is sleepy, and even a glass of the house-infused vodka only improves matters slightly. For tonight's "White Party," promoters are trying to enhance the vibe by asking everyone to wear all-white outfits (worth a free shot and a chance to win a $50 bar tab) and offering all-night drink specials (including $3 Miller Lites and $5 flavored vodka cocktails). Register at minkevents.com for free admission.

Saturday, April 30
DJ battles never had the pop-culture vehicle to popularize them the way b-boy and MC battles have, most likely because turntablism has always been the province of extreme technical detail. It's where the hip-hop lords of crucial minutiae put months and months of solitary practice on the line in six-minute bursts, all for the sake of props. No record deals, no groupie admiration, no big cars -- just bragging rights. And just as swiftly as you can ascend to the top of the battle circuit, a younger, hungrier more inventive DJ with more practice time under his belt can usurp you. This is vinyl combat, and one of the biggest free-for-alls in existence is going down in our own back yard. The D.C. regional DMC Battle is the gauntlet that only one DJ with enough slice and dice skills can survive in order to move on to the national level -- and two years ago, Springfield, Va., resident Eric Jao (DJ Enferno) captured the American crown before placing second at the world championships in London. Stakes are high at Nation tonight.

Another Saturday night, another DJ on the mainstage of the Black Cat -- not that we're complaining this week, though, because instead of the Smiths and Morrissey, you get to hear DJ Rekha, founder of New York's popular Basement Bhangra. The all-female First Ladies DJ Collective has hosted Rekha's sublime mix of hip-hop, electronica and Indian dance music at its monthly Girl Friday night, but it's time the ladies moved up to the big stage.

When Party Slave threw a James Bond-themed party at Cafe Asia a few months ago, Fritz went to check it out -- and came away impressed with the large, well-dressed crowd, including a number of men in tuxedos and women in evening dresses; the DJ; and the bartenders cranking out "shaken, not stirred" vodka martinis. (What else do you expect at a Bond party?) There's another "Goldfinger" party at Vida tonight, and it's looking to be even better: free admission; open bar from 9 to 10; a raffle that benefits the Red Cross, where you can win first-edition James Bond novels, film cells from "The World Is Not Enough" and even the complete James Bond 20-DVD box set. There's more information and RSVP forms at www.goldfingerdc.com.

If you're looking to toast May Day with a chilled glass of Russian or Ukrainian vodka, there's no better place to do so than Russia House, the opulent Dupont lounge that offers about five dozen vodkas from around the world. Problem is, they're closed on Sundays. So stop by late on Saturday night (or Sunday morning) and ask for Jewel of Russia or one of the numerous flavors of Nemiroff (Fritz's favorite); the Premium or Honey Pepper are always popular and go down smoothly -- almost too smoothly. Na zdorovya!

Sunday, May 1
After five months, DJ Steve Hoffman wraps up his Bob Dylan series at Cafe Saint-Ex tonight. May's installment is focused around bootlegs and rare tracks from the infamous "Basement Tapes" era, but Hoffman -- who also hosts a blues show on WPFW -- plays music from across the spectrum of Dylan's career. Everything gets underway at 9:30 and there's no cover.

Tuesday, May 3
Mister Days' new NTN Trivia Contest takes the popular television-based trivia game one step further. Instead of matching your knowledge against know-it-alls around the country, the Arlington sports bar is allowing patrons to compete against each other for prizes and bragging rights. Here's how it works: Show up and ask the bartender for a controller, which looks like a mutant Blackberry crossed with a Speak & Spell. Questions show up on TV monitors around the room. You answer the multiple-choice questions as fast as you can, gaining points for speed as well as accuracy. At the end of each game, Mister Days awards coupons and gift certificates to top scorers. There's no cover. Games begin at 7, 8, 8:30 and 9:45.

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