Nightlife Agenda

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By Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
washingtonpost.com Staff Writers
Thursday, August 11, 2005; 12:01 AM

Thursday, Aug. 11
None of us has seen the "Dukes of Hazzard" remake yet -- or plans to, to be honest -- we'll occupy ourselves with those cool new DVDs of the original series. Thankfully, the Dukes of Hazzard Party tonight at Mister Days isn't discriminating in favor of either version. Fans of Catherine Bach and Jessica Simpson can don their shortest short-shorts and be eligible to win $500 in a "Daisy Dukes" contest, and the costume contest welcomes J.D. Hoggs who are tall and mustachioed (a la Burt Reynolds) or squat and dressed in white (the classic Sorrell Booke). The best-looking Duke wins tickets to the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at the Richmond International Speedway on Sept. 10. (We really hope some smart alecks show up dressed as cousins Coy and Vance. We reckon that would be funnier than the basset hound that got into Uncle Jessie's sippin' shine.) Doors open at 5 for happy hour with a free buffet; the contests and additional giveaways begin at 9.

Local trio Medications, appearing tonight at the Warehouse Next Door, plays uncompromising, jagged and often seriously intense rock-and-roll, the type that Dischord Records has long specialized in. A Dischord supergroup of sorts, featuring former members of Faraquet and Smart Went Crazy, the band finds the ideal middle ground between the former's all-out sonic frenzy and the latter's more refined approach. Still, these aren't easily digested pop songs. The sound conjured on Medications' full-length debut, "Your Favorite People All in One Place," is that of a band brimming with too many ideas to simply settle on the standard verse/chorus/verse formula. Songs veer off in unexpected directions, and the technical gifts of all three players allow them to tackle nontraditional song structures with relative ease.

Phish Tea Cafe has been looking interesting for a minute -- not just because it's in the vanguard of the H Street entertainment revitalization, but also because the Caribbean restaurant's visual art and poetry events could make it a cultural hub, too. Tonight Phish Tea showcases vocalist Lysette Titi, also known as Sis from the Backyard Band. Titi's sweet voice adds sass to that rugged go-go band's front line, but also flirted with neo-soul scene success in the late '90s thanks to her single "Young, Sad & Blue," before the familiar story of an insolvent record label curtailed that path.

Friday, Aug. 12
Local jazz legend Keter Betts was scheduled to play at the Westminster Presbyterian Church's weekly concert tonight. Sadly, Betts, who spent years playing bass with Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, passed away Saturday. He was 77. To honor Betts's memory, tonight's gig is being turned into a tribute, featuring saxophonist Buck Hill, bassist Michael Bowie, pianist Robert Redd and drummer Harold Mann. (The latter two were regular members of Betts's trio.) Jazz lasts from 6 to 9, and there's a $5 cover. Skip your dinner plans and get something to eat at the church -- dinner served in the basement from 6 to 8:30 includes fried fish, chicken, veggies and dessert. If you can't stay for the full three hours, you're welcome to just drop in for a while; but you probably won't want to leave.

Afterward, jazz fans who need another glimpse of one of the city's greatest jazz players can head over to Twins Jazz on U Street, where saxophonist Buck Hill is beginning a two-night stand at the club. Hill, who turned 78 earlier this year, played behind Shirley Horn and Charlie Byrd before gaining acclaim as a solo artist over the past few decades. He notably turned down the chance to join the great Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra, choosing to stay in Washington, keep his job as a mailman and raise a family. Hill's tone has mellowed over the years -- he's now more likely to play expressive ballads than full-on driving bop tunes -- but every time we've seen him, we've come away shaking our heads in amazement. Sets begin at 9 and 11, and there's a $10 food and drink minimum per person in addition to the $15 cover charge.

Gordon Chambers made a quick stop in Washington earlier this year and probably noticed what many other progressive soul artists have come to enjoy here: smart, appreciative audiences who love honest music. Chambers's songwriting resume includes penning tunes for a long list of notables, including Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker and Beyonce, but he's now taking his turn in front of the microphone. He's joined at Mirrors tonight by an intriguing complement of two other artists. K'Alyn is the local superstar who's starting to get tastemakers buzzing on the other side of the country, thanks to positive reviews of his attention-grabbing shows in California. Jahi Kearse is a recent transplant from Atlanta who folds extensive experience as a poet and actor into his music.

Back when Fritz was just getting into Lindy Hop, he went to see the J Street Jumpers -- a lot. The band's dynamic '40-style jump blues and '50s Chicago R&B is perfect for dancing; the repertoire includes classics by Buddy Johnson, Louis Jordan and Jimmy Liggins, along with well-known Louis Prima and Count Basie numbers. Many of the horn players came from the well-regarded jump band Uptown Rhythm Kings, so you know the brass will be solid. The J Street Jumpers appear tonight at the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe at the Museum of Natural History. Music goes from 6 to 10; a $10 cover includes one cocktail, beer or nonalcoholic beverage.

Saturday, Aug. 13
The idea of a Brazilian-themed party at Dream sounds great, but promoters had us with two little words: "Free caipirinhas." Caipirinhas are a Brazilian cocktail made with cachaca, a potent sugar-cane liqueur, and they're sweet, light and perfect for summer. While you're sipping, DJ Fabiosoul spins Brazilian music all night on the third floor. Get free admission (and access to an open bar from 9 to 10) from www.dcdream.com.

"Black Rock" feels like an annoying oxymoronic way to categorize certain bands, but can be useful when youth may only know the face of rock as power-pop punk kids, screaming rap-metal groups or the indie darlings of the moment. Rahmana, Sakrid and Sitali share a bill tonight at DC9 to show that aggressive playing, loud guitars and funk still coexist on the local scene.

In the mid-to-late '90s, Washington's young professionals and college students flocked to a weekly club night called Decades, which lived at the long-gone Ritz nightclub before moving to the also-demolished DC Live. Decades was an early pioneer on the "everything to everyone" club scene, offering a floor of swing music, another with '80s retro, one featuring disco and yet another with current hits. When you got bored with doing the hustle, you could go do the cabbage patch. The organizers of this successful party went on to found the Things to Do DC group, and tonight they host a "Decades Reunion" at Polly Esther's. It's a similar set up -- floors dedicated to the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s -- and should bring out crowds of nostalgic clubhoppers as well as the next generation. Doors open at 9. Admission is $10, or $8 in advance from thingstododc.com.

Sunday, Aug. 14
For those who recently saw "Broken Flowers" and couldn't get enough of the song used at the beginning and end of the movie, that's Holly Golightly, and that's just a taste of what to expect when she plays at IOTA tonight. Simply put, it doesn't get much better. British garage rocker Golightly (and she claims that's her real name) learned from the master, Billy Childish. She got her start playing Childish's songs with the all-female garage-punk quartet the Headcoatees, which was basically the coolest version of Josie & the Pussycats imaginable. She has more then emerged from his shadow over the past decade, though, establishing herself as one of the most consistent and prolific performers around, excelling at slow-burning torch songs, bluesy garage rock and even retro honky-tonk.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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