Virgin Festival? Who Needs It?

By -- Lavanya Ramanathan
Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Virgin Mobile Festival kicks off today in Baltimore, but what are we doing? Not going to Virgin Festival.

Not everyone understands the appeal of the Foo Fighters. And to some, Moby is the guy who recorded "Play." In 1999.

We suspect others are in the same position, staying home because the headliners didn't appeal, or because the ticket price seemed out of touch with, uh, current cash-flow situations.

There probably isn't a better reason to stay in Washington than the Rock & Roll Hotel's anniversary party tonight.

The venue-cum-bar-cum-Jenga-hot-spot is marking its second year in business in the burgeoning Atlas District (feels like longer, right?) with a bash with a local bent: Performing are the very loud and promising New Rock Church of Fire and close cousins (but slightly more classic-guitar rock) Black & White Jacksons. It will likely be one raucous evening. Upstairs, Brightest Young Things throws its own free dance party with DJ Cale. No, no birthday cake, but there will be $1 PBRs from 9 p.m. to midnight. And isn't that better than $4 bottles of water? $10. Doors at 8:30 p.m., show at 9:30. Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. 202-388-7625.

And we're way more excited about Thao Nguyen 's show at the Black Cat next week than we are about Underworld. Part of the Kill Rock Stars stable, Nguyen, a local, and her band, the Get Down Stay Down, benefit from Nguyen's mean guitar playing and voice, a crystalline cry that's eerily like Chan Marshall's. The band adds an upbeat folkie sensibility that trumps Paramore's MTV-ready pop-punk any day. Nguyen and the band play Thursday. $12. 8 p.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-7960.

Save the Date

CONCERT: The Jonas Brothers Hanson, oops, we mean the Jonas Brothers, are a trio of young, conspicuously stylish mop-tops who fly above the crowd at the Teen Choice Awards, who star in "Camp Rock," who reduce girls to shrieking messes, who, like Miley Cyrus, have blanketed every medium so thoroughly that we have come to believe this is not just a Jonas summer but a Jonas universe, in which they are the holders of all power and we are mere pawns. Thank goodness it will all be over soon (see "Hanson"). They're at Nissan Pavilion on Aug. 18, and lawn tickets are still available. $31. 7 p.m. Nissan Pavilion, 7800 Cellar Door Dr., Bristow. 202-397-7328.

LITERATURE : Writers' Night Aspiring novelist or poet-on-the-side? Later this month, Barnes & Noble in Bethesda kicks off evenings of public readings and discussions with local writers working out pieces or testing the waters. Writers are welcome to share bits of poetry, short stories, fiction and nonfiction (this being brainy Washington, we know there are plenty of you out there). Or just come to hear what local authors are doing. Free. 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19. 4801 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda. To sign up, call 301-986-1851.

The District


ON STAGE: D.C. Comedy Fest: The Weird Show It's called "weird" because it is. Audience members will look at one another wondering what's going on. There's not really any other word to describe the act of headliner Reggie Watts, a presence with a formidable 'fro who dishes an amalgam of languages, music, beat-boxing, accents and strange stories, but not necessarily laughs. Then there's Dave Hill, Brady Novak, Baron Vaughn and other assorted oddballs. They perform tonight at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $15. 8:30 p.m. (If you get tickets at the door, it's cash only, folks.) For tickets, a full schedule and details, visit


ON STAGE: "The Lion Rocks Tonight" Cast members from "The Lion King" at the Kennedy Center cooked up this one-night cabaret show to raise money for Food & Friends and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Lead actors and the ensemble cast perform everything from pop to R&B tunes, with dance and comedy thrown in, too. Just a handful of tickets remain. $25; admission and post-show reception, $50. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Greenberg Theatre at American University, 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW. For tickets, visit or call 202-885-2587.

CLOSING: Tribute to Bette Davis: "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" The National Theatre's summer-long series of the dreamy-eyed star's films ends Monday with one that came later in her career and offered a chance for the beauty to play a real beast. Davis plays Jane, onetime child star who has turned borderline psycho in her efforts to reclaim childhood fame. Free. Tickets are distributed at 6 p.m.; screening at 6:30. National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-783-3372.

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