Thursday, November 29, 2007; 12:00 AM
Thursday, November 29
Amy Sedaris will be at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue tonight. Who knows what she'll be doing? She might be talking about her life, her family, her friends. She might do a baking demonstration. (Perhaps potato pancakes, given the season and the setting?) She might show you how to make some interesting doilies. Who knows? The important thing is that Amy Sedaris will be there. Without getting into too much hyperbole, Amy Sedaris is probably the greatest person in the world. Even if we only knew her from her flirty, energetic and hilarious appearances on "Letterman," that might be enough for her to claim the prize. (She's certainly the best talk show guest around right now; check the transcripts of all of her appearances on "Letterman" and "Conan.") She's a bestselling author, thanks to her recent book "I Like You," but don't forget her disturbingly funny "Wigfield," co-written with Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello. And speaking of disturbingly funny, how can we not mention the great "Strangers With Candy," one of cable's greatest delights of the past few years?
World AIDS Day is Saturday, but the Kimpton Hotels are getting in the spirit early with a cocktail party to benefit the Whitman-Walker Clinic at Urbana. Admission to Red Hot Night is $10, which includes two special red cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a silent auction. Local author (and Sunday Source contributor) Kelly DiNardo will be on hand to sign copies of her new book "Gilded Lili," a biography of burlesque star Lili St. Cyr. All proceeds from the cover charge, silent auction and additional cocktails go to Whitman-Walker, as does $1 from every book sold. Doors open at 6.
When illness forced Morrissey to cancel his appearance at Rams Head Live on July 3, the Baltimore club decided to give disappointed fans the next best thing: Baltimore's Girlfriend in a Coma. This Smiths/Morrissey tribute group, which grew out of local '80s cover band the Reagan Years, is surprisingly authentic, as you can see from the videos and demos on its MySpace page. As with "real" Morrissey shows, there are mass audience singalongs, stage invasions and swinging microphones. Very impressive. Check out all the hits, from "Ask" to "Suedehead," tonight at the State Theatre.
Friday, November 30
It's hard to say whether DJ Victor Calderone is best known for his live sets at clubs around the world, or for his chart-topping remixes, which have included reworking more than 10 Madonna songs (from "Ray of Light" to "Beautiful Stranger"), the Sting anthem "Desert Rose," Destiny Child's "Survivor," and singles for Beyonce, Depeche Mode and Goldfrapp. What we do know is that his performances, which blend everything from electro to tech-house, are rarely just "some dude in the DJ booth" events, but more like infectious parties, which makes him perfect for Buzz. Also performing tonight are some of D.C.'s best DJs: Two Tribes (listen), the drum-heavy, hypnotic tribal house pairing of Ray Kang and Barrett, and Baltimore club king and all-around party-rocker Tittsworth (listen).
Locals Food For Animals (listen) make hip-hop that you'd never hear at Love or Five. Instead of easy, head-nodding beats, the group favors harsh, head-hurting beats. But we mean that in a good way, and that's not too surprising from a hip-hop act that is holding its CD release show at experimental/noise central, Velvet Lounge. Sometimes it almost sounds like the beats are getting buried in the clutter, but it's a more modern take on the genre -- two laptops and a microphone (or two).
D.C.'s blues scene is rich and varied, ranging from local legends like Bobby Parker, who's been playing guitar for over four decades, to the young hotshots battling it out at jam sessions hosted by the D.C. Blues Society. If you're new to the D.C. blues scene, you can get an introductory lesson tonight at Falls Church's Bangkok Blues, where the Stacy Brooks Band -- the runner-up in the Blues Society's 2007 Battle of the Bands -- takes the stage with Clarence "The Blues Man" Turner, whose fiery guitar playing and soulful voice helped him win the 2006 Battle of the Bands and then finish in the top 10 at the prestigious International Blues Competition in Memphis earlier this year. Doors open at 7, and admission is a dirt-cheap $5 for a concert that's offering live music until 1 a.m.
Our experiences with Pasha, the nightclub above Dupont Circle's Marrakesh Palace, have usually involved loud house music and jam-packed crowds, but tonight the International Club of D.C. is trying to transform the space into "A Friday Evening in Buenos Aires" with tango lessons, dance performances and DJs spinning Latin music all night long. A 90-minute lesson is included in the $15 cover charge. (The evening begins at 7:30, and cover is $10 if you arrive after 9, when the instructors finish.) After a performance by some tango pros, the DJs spin tango and Latin pop music -- the perfect chance to practice your new steps -- while mixing in some salsa and merengue. More information and reservations are available here.
We're not record company executives or radio programmers, but we suspect that fans of Sean Kingston (listen) or Soulja Boy fit pretty solidly in the 13-18 demographic. Or, at least, they should -- we know a lot of grownups are into what Rhome elegantly calls "young, stupid music" in an effort to stay hip. We suppose we'll find out tonight at Ibiza when 17-year-old singer Kingston performs "Beautiful Girls" and other pop-reggae hits for a 21-and-over crowd. The evening's other attractions include a decidedly adult "Santa Baby Lingerie Show," just in time for the holidays, and hip-hop and mashups from resident DJ Xclusive of XM Radio. Grab a guestlist spot at DCNites.com.
If we hadn't seen Lil' Wayne (listen) hit the stage at Gilbert Arenas's birthday party at Love earlier this year, we might not be recommending Weezy's live performance at H2O tonight. We honestly weren't expecting much, but he tore through hits like "Fireman," "Tha Block is Hot" and "Stuntin' Like My Daddy" with a lot of energy, and the crowd seemed to love every minute of it. With a new single ("Gossip") and two albums set to drop in the next few months, the New Orleans rapper might be back on top of his game. Doors open at 8, and admission is free until 10 with a college ID.
Though he's performed in the Washington area several times recently, Wyclef Jean is on the verge of releasing his first solo English-language album in over four years. (2004's "Welcome to Haiti" was recorded mostly in Haitian Creole and released on an independent label in this country.) "Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant," due out December 4, has been getting pretty good buzz, with guests including Mary J. Blige, T.I., Sizzla, Norah Jones and Paul Simon. You can get a sneak preview tonight at the Exchange at an official listening party, beginning at 11. Drink specials will be offered, and admission is free.
Saturday, December 1
Little Brother (listen) is no longer either an exciting secret ready to blow or the new duo on the block ready to play in the big leagues. DJ Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh are now weathered veterans with thousands of tour miles, three official albums and multiple side projects behind them. And despite the fact that they have gone back to the indie world after a brief fling with a major label, the new album "Getback" is the strongest statement of their career. It's a concise, high-impact collection of soulfully banging beats with mature writing that still has that hunger of the underground. This is their first tour since the record's release, so you can sing along to all your favorite songs at the Black Cat tonight.
A few weeks ago, fellow Guru Jen blogged about the dearth of good nightlife in Bethesda. Young professionals group Things to Do D.C. is out to prove her wrong tonight with a special Bethesda Nightlife Tour, which stops at the Rock Bottom brewpub, Black Finn and Tommy Joe's before winding up on the dance floor at the Barking Dog. Of special interest is the grand opening of Black Finn, a new restaurant and bar in the old Willie and Reed's space, which is promising "retro and Top 40 dance music." The tour costs $15, which includes admission and drink specials at all four bars. Dress is no-sneakers casual. RSVP at ThingsToDoDC.com.
December 1 is World AIDS Day, when we all reflect on the toll AIDS and HIV have taken around the world, and resolve to keep up the fight against the disease. It's also a day for fundraisers for groups who are helping those with AIDS in our community. At Rumors, for example, a comedy show and bachelor and bachelorette auction benefit the Whitman-Walker Clinic. White Hot Nights, hosted by Baltimore comedian T. Brad Hudson, features a chance to bid on 10 eligible men and women, who are packaged with what the organizers call "a romantic dinner for two." All bid money goes to Whitman-Walker and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Doors open at 8 and the event wraps up at 11.
Monday, December 3
These days, it seems that you can't go a week without hearing about some huge benefit concert. But before Bob Geldof, Neil Young and Al Gore had the idea, George Harrison invented it. His 1971 Concert for Bangladesh was the first massive benefit, in this instance for refugees in the area of East Pakistan that was soon-to-become Bangladesh, who were suffering through political turmoil and natural disasters. Harrison was able to attract an all-star lineup of performers to Madison Square Garden and made sure to get everything on film. You can see the results tonight at the Library of Congress's Mary Pickford Theater as part of its continuing Rock-n-Roll in the Fall series. The first musical performance is an extended raga by Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, but rock fans will have plenty to enjoy, including a famous performance of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with Eric Clapton on guitar. There's also a mini-set by Bob Dylan, including classics "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Blowin' in the Wind."
Thursday, December 6
If we could look back over all the questions that we've gotten since Got Plans? began, we'd have to say that "Where can I ride a mechanical bull?" would be near the top of the list. Blame regulations, licensing or just fear of lawsuits, but there's no bar in the metropolitan area that lets its patrons live out their "Urban Cowboy" fantasies. Tonight, though, for one night only, McFadden's is bringing in some robotic livestock and hosting a Mechanical Bull Riding Competition from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the cowboy or cowgirl who stays on the bucking bovine the longest. The evening includes plenty of drink specials -- an optional $10 open bar from 6 to 8, then $3 Miller Lite pitchers, Southern Comfort shots and vodka drinks from 8 to midnight -- but you'll have to sign a liability waver before you get on the bull, so pace yourself.
Madlib (listen) is the Rain Man of hip-hop -- just without the awkward social side effects. Sure, the enigmatic and reclusive California beatsmith is quiet and self-effacing. But he also creates at a nearly inhuman pace. Under his many guises, he's been known to sometimes knock out an album in a day. Madlib started out as the loop doctor of the Lootpack and went on to become a cornerstone artist of the venerable Stones Throw record label. After studying and dissecting the hundreds of jazz records in his collection, he locked himself in his studio, taught himself to play instruments and released a series of jazz fusion albums under the name Yesterday's New Quintet. Madlib has also explored his id under the pseudonym Quasimoto, adopting a high pitched chipmunk voice and exchanging humorous couplets with himself over dusted-out beats. He'll be joined by J.Rocc, Percee P. and Peanut Butter Wolf of the Stones Throw clan at the Black Cat tonight.