A Force of Comedic Energy

By Rachel Beckman
Thursday, April 10, 2008

Like many comedians, Brian Malow jokes about his own life in his act. But self-proclaimed as "Earth's premier science comedian," he does so with a twist.

On relationships: "I found myself drawn to her . . . with a force that was inversely proportional to the square of the distance between us."

On dieting: "Whenever my mom would lose weight, my dad would gain weight. And when my dad lost weight, my mom gained weight. It was like the conservation of mass right within our family. I had this theory that you never actually lose weight, you just give it to somebody else."

On work: "I used to be an astronomer, but I got stuck on the day shift."

That's not exactly true: Malow, who lives in San Francisco, has been a science enthusiast (but not a scientist) his entire life. He incorporates science -- physics and astronomy are his favorites, but he dips into biology and chemistry, too -- into his stand-up act, which he has been doing for more than 10 years.

He performs in nightclubs and has appeared on the "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson," but he also books plenty of nontraditional gigs, such as conferences for the American Chemical Society and the National Association of Science Writers. The specialized groups are a treat because, Malow says, "I can really geek out and give them obscure references."

Tonight at 6, he performs at the Koshland Science Museum for the third year in a row. $8; students $5. Sixth and E streets NW. 202-334-1201.

The museum is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily except Tuesdays, with the last admission at 5 p.m. $3-$5. Current exhibitions include "Global Warming Facts & Our Future," "Wonders of Science" and "Infectious Disease."

Which brings a Malow joke to mind: "Two bacteria walk into a bar. The bartender says, 'We don't serve bacteria here.' The bacteria say, 'But we work here! We're staph.' "

Save the Date

[ ON STAGE ] Flight of the Conchords How to pass the time until the second season of the HBO breakout comedy (besides counting the hours and watching and re-watching episodes?) Well, the real Flight of the Conchords, the jokey New Zealand band made up of Bret and Jemaine (who in real life are actually named Bret and Jemaine), are on tour, and they're coming to town for two shows next month (the band's first full-length album is also in the works). Tickets for the shows, at Lisner Auditorium, go on sale tomorrow at noon through Ticketmaster and at the Lisner box office. $35. May 9 at 7 and 10 p.m. 730 21st St. NW. 202-397-7328.

[ THE SCENE ] Kinetic Sculpture Race This wacky race, held each year by the American Visionary Art Museum, runs incredibly inventive, human-powered vehicles over land and water. It's held over 15 miles of Baltimore's Inner Harbor area, and the "sculptures" must be amphibious and float on the Chesapeake. Entries in recent years have included a stunning mini-riverboat, a platypus and "Hunk a Hunk of Burnin' Junk" driven by two Elvis impersonators. And since the six-hour-plus race also encourages creativity from spectators -- who dress and act like eccentrics and run alongside the racers -- give yourself plenty of time to work up a good costume. The race is scheduled for May 3. Free. Race, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Hwy., Baltimore. For spectator rules, visit http://www.kineticbaltimore.com. 410-244-1900.

The District

Today

[ FILM ] Film, 100 Years Ago Tonight, the National Archives presents "A Century Ago: The Films of 1907," packed with footage from gag films and mini-movies documenting actual events -- the first movie version of "Ben Hur," early stop-action animation, "The Dancing Pig" -- all from movies made in 1907. To amp things up a bit, the films will be shown with live musical accompaniment from composer Michael Mortilla. Free. 7 p.m. McGowan Theater, National Archives, Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street NW. 202-357-5000.

[ THE SCENE ] Grapes With the Apes Wine and cheese, yes -- but wine and primates? Not the usual pairing. Enjoy wine, cheese, hors d'oeuvres and live music at this 21-and-older event, which benefits the National Zoo's conservation efforts and is hosted by Friends of the National Zoo Young Professionals. Raise a glass to FONZ, which celebrates its 50th birthday this week. $40 for Young Professionals members, $55 for nonmembers. 6-9 p.m. at the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-633-4800.

[ EXHIBIT ] Smithsonian Craft Show This juried show of basketry, ceramics, furniture, glass, jewelry and other objects and crafts returns next week for its 26th year, with 120 exhibitors, including nearly 40 new ones (chosen from more than 1,000 applicants). The show, at the National Building Museum, runs today through Sunday. $15; seniors, students, military and Smithsonian Resident Associate members, $12. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. today, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. 202-633-5006 or for details, visit http://www.smithsoniancraftshow.org.

Tomorrow

[ LITERATURE ] Spanish Poetry Marathon Teatro de la Luna is presenting the 16th annual Spanish poetry marathon "La Pluma y la Palabra" ("The Pen and the Word") this weekend. Poets from Spain, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador and elsewhere will read new and old works. Get a comfy seat -- the Saturday event clocks in at six hours. Friday, 2-4 p.m. at the Mary Pickford Theater in the Library of Congress, James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Saturday, 2-8 p.m. at Casa de la Luna, 4020 Georgia Ave. NW. Free; donations accepted. 202-882-6227.

Maryland

Today

[ ON STAGE ] "Sawdust Palace" Clarice Smith's Kogod Theatre is taking on the atmosphere of a jovial cabaret -- complete with small tables and plush red curtains. All this is for a run by New York-based dancers from Susan Marshall & Company, who are at the venue this week performing 20 short works inspired by cabaret and the aerial artistry of tent performers. Performances continue through Saturday. $35; students, $7. Today and Saturday at 8 p.m., also Saturday at 3. University of Maryland, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Kogod Theatre, Route 193 and Stadium Drive, College Park. $7-$35. 301-405-2787.

Saturday

[ ON STAGE ] Is It Hot In Here? The latest entry in CityDance Ensemble's "Bold Steps" series is "Bold Steps: Warmer," a set of three dance works and one music piece responding to global warming. Dancers portray trees, butterflies -- an entire ecosystem in peril. A discussion with the artists, choreographers and a World Wildlife Fund expert follows Saturday's event. $15. 7 and 8:30 p.m. (and 7 p.m. Sunday) in the education wing of the Music Center at Strathmore, Room 405, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 301-581-5100.

Northern Virginia

Today

[ OPENING ] "The Stephen Schwartz Project" Opening tonight at MetroStage, this production by local artistic director Michael J. Bobbitt celebrates the oeuvre of Schwartz, a Broadway composer and lyricist whose name you might not recognize, but whose work you certainly will. He wrote the music for "Godspell," "The Baker's Wife" and "Wicked," and even lyrics for the animated flick "Pocahontas." Nine performers and a full band bring the songs from those productions to life in this show. $35-$40. Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 7, also Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m. MetroStage, 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria. 800-494-8497.

[ THE SCENE ] The Trademark Expo Perhaps it sounds a bit nerdy, but think of it this way: Have you ever trekked to the nether alleys of New York's Chinatown, just for an almost-like-the-real-thing Coach bag? Or what about that "Burberry" scarf you bought at Wal-Mart? The three-day National Trademark Expo at Alexandria's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office explores the trademark and its meaning with just this sort of brand threat in mind. Displays and booths by companies including Burberry, Microsoft and NASCAR. Free. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today-Saturday. 600 Dulany St., Alexandria. 571-272-8400, or for a full description of displays, visit http://www.uspto.gov.

Saturday

[ EXHIBIT ] Gardening Days at Mount Vernon Few gardens compare to those at George Washington's Mount Vernon. Beginning Saturday, the estate celebrates spring and its blooming gardens by offering garden and landscape tours daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. There also is a market featuring all kinds of plants and garden items. Go Saturday or Sunday, when you can also catch "Is Mount Vernon Burning?," a day of historical reenactments telling the story of the day the British arrived at the shores and threatened to burn the estate (reenactments begin at 1:30 p.m.). $6-$13; ages 5 and younger, free. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon. 703-780-2000.


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